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Complaints Standards Authority Update – October 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Model CHP for the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities in Scotland

Each organisation was required to provide the SPSO with a compliance statement and a self-assessment of compliance by 30 September 2013, notifying of their progress towards the introduction of the model complaints handling procedure (CHP). All organisations are required to have implemented the model CHP by 31 March 2014.

We are pleased to report that the required return has been received from all but a small number of organisations. Good progress towards full compliance and implementation by March 2014 has been reported. We will now be working closely over the next few weeks with those organisations yet to provide the required information and with all organisations over the remaining months to help ensure implementation.We remain confident that, with our support, all organisations will be in a position to report compliance by March 2014.

To help provide further support with implementation of the CHP we have received a number of requests to establish a network of complaints handlers in the sector or similar forum. If you would be interested in joining such a network, please contact the CSA team at

Higher and further education

In our last update we reported that we are pursuing the development and introduction of complaints handling network groups with sector representatives, building on existing networks wherever possible.

The aims of the networks will include:

  • enabling complaints practitioners to share information and best practice in complaints handling
  • increasing knowledge and awareness of complaints handling to improve skills and competence across the network
  • developing key performance indicators and performance management arrangements
  • creating a standardised approach and consistency across institutions for complaints handling
  • shaping future complaints handling arrangements on behalf of the sectors.

If you are interested in joining a network group for your sector, please contact the CSA team at

Local authority complaints handlers network

The application of the model CHP in schools is one that has been discussed several times, and it featured on the agenda of the most recent complaints handlers network meeting. In light of this recurring theme, we have agreed to work with the network group to develop additional information specific to the issues surrounding education complaints, including the relevant roles for schools and education departments and the various other routes for raising dissatisfaction, including statutory appeal routes and complaints about the assessment of qualifications.We hope that this will add clarity to the application of the CHP in handling education complaints. In progressing this work we plan to engage directly with the Association of Directors of Education.

NHS: Handling and learning from feedback and complaints corporate responsibility master class

The Ombudsman will speak at an NHS Education for Scotland ‘Masterclass’ for executive and non-executive NHS board members later this month. The focus is on the role of feedback and complaints in good corporate governance. Three sessions are planned and have been designed for those who sit at NHS board level.

The sessions will focus on the importance of complaints in the governance of organisations and their value as indicators of performance, service quality and risk, particularly for health boards in the light of the recent findings of the Francis report. In addition to the Ombudsman, Malcolm Wright (CEO, NHS Education for Scotland) and representatives of the Scottish Health Council and the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate will be providing insight. A representative from Glasgow Housing Association will be outlining their approach to using complaints as part of their governance model.

The learning sessions will be run at three events, in October, November and December.

Updated: March 8, 2017