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Complaints Standards Authority Update November 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Stakeholder engagement

Over the past month we attended a workshop on the Duty of Candour guidance run by the Scottish Government and the NHS. We also attended and spoke at the launch of the research report ‘Scotland’s Model Complaint Handling Procedures: Exploring recent developments and the usefulness of complaint data for administrative justice research’ published jointly by the University of Glasgow and Queen Margaret University.

We supported a local authority in using our Complaints Improvement Framework  to assess their current complaints handling arrangements and we provided advice to two new Scottish Government agencies on adopting the model complaints handling procedure.

We also welcomed visitors to our office from the university sector to explain how cases are handled through the SPSO business process model.  In another visit we hosted representatives from the housing sector to discuss learning and development, and SPSO complaints performance information in relation to social housing. We also provided input to a visit from the Scottish Social Services Council to share how we work and the impact of the CSA on the way other authorities handle complaints.

At a recent conference which focused on improving complaints handling we presented the work of the CSA and ran a workshop on improving complaints handling. We covered the latest developments for handling complaints in the public sector in Scotland, the work of SPSO to deliver long-lasting improvements, public sector performance against key complaints indicators and we highlighted good practice tools, techniques and resources available to complaints handlers. The conference was attended by a wide range of agencies from the public and private sectors.  Other activities included our work with the SPSO training unit; we provided further training in for health and social care workers in Investigation Skills, with attendees providing positive feedback on the course.  Participants were particularly keen on the case study analysis and the tips and tools which are provided within the course.

CHP compliance checks


We continue to work towards full sign-off of boards’ CHPs across Scotland. We hope to be able to confirm full compliance by the end of the year. 

Health and Social Care

Almost all social work CHPs have now been signed off as fully compliant.  Around half of the CHPs for Integration Joint Boards have been signed off, and many of the outstanding issues relate to information available on websites that signpost to the procedure and provision of contact details. 


Social Work – this group met on Wednesday 15 November in Glasgow

The Ombudsman, Rosemary Agnew attended the social work complaints group meeting, along with the CSA.  We provided an update from the SPSO, including information about our receipt of complaints about Social Work and emerging patterns at this early stage. We also reviewed the process that is involved when a complaint comes to our office, as members of the group would increasingly be experiencing this journey.  This provided an ideal opportunity for the group to hear Rosemary’s take on a range of issues, including how we handle reviews to our decisions, and how we apply our proportionality guidance.

There was also open discussion, with members of the group sharing experiences of the model CHP, and the challenges they have over the first six months of implementation. 

Colleges – this network met on Thursday 9 November in Stirling.

The group discussed the progress of the development of the complaint handling tool, and began discussions around planning for the further education annual event next year. We provided an update to the group from the SPSO and volunteered to be involved in planning for the further education annual event. The group also introduced a new item to the network meetings involving open discussion around challenges members face in handling complaints – this allowed members to gain insight from one another and share ideas around dealing with particular issues.

Housing - the date of the next housing network has not yet been finalised. 

Housing working group
This group was established to develop and produce good practice guidance for the social housing sector in Scotland and met for the first time in November. The group discussed the terms of reference and ideas for the good practice guidance in terms of its format, areas covered and how to collate material for the final product.

Local Authority – this network will meet next on Friday 24 November in Glasgow.

LACHN benchmarking sub-group
This group met recently to discuss feedback provided at the local authority network in September and the approach to collecting complaints data next year, and how the quality of the data can be improved.

Universities – this network will meet next on Monday 11 December in Glasgow.

Valuing Complaints website

Finally, our Valuing Complaints website provides a centre for best practice in complaints handling. It contains information to help support improvement in public sector complaints handling, including model CHPs for public services in Scotland and good practice tools and training resources.  The CSA is available to provide advice, guidance and support in respect of all aspects of good complaints handling. 

You can contact the CSA team here:  

Updated: November 22, 2017