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Complaints Standards Authority Update September 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Complaints Standards Authority Update September 2016 (PDF 6

Social work

As we reported in our last update, work is progressing on plans for changes to how complaints about social work services are handled, which will come into effect in April 2017.  Last week we had the second meeting of our steering group, which brought together social workers, local authority representatives, user group representatives and other key stakeholders. They heard about our progress in this area and provided constructive feedback, with a key focus on the development of a new complaints handling procedure (CHP) for social work services and progress on plans to bring the review of social work complaints to the SPSO.

The new CHP is being developed with significant input from members of a working group and details how complaints about social work services should be handled, with additional information focused on more complex complaints. This work is progressing alongside consultation work on a new customer-facing CHP for social work services. This will give members of the public the information they would need if they ever have reason to complain about social work services.

We are also preparing ourselves for the extension of our jurisdiction in relation to social work complaints.  The new powers will allow us to look at actions taken by social workers and consider the merits of social work decisions, not just issues related to how the complaints have been handled. We will be recruiting advisers to assist us with this work, in much the same way we already do for health and other complaints.  We will also be reviewing our internal guidance on complaints handling, to ensure it is suitable for social work complaints, once we have made further progress on our fact-finding visits to councils and complaints review committees.

SPSO Training Events

Learning Event

In early March 2017 we will hold a conference in Edinburgh on the theme of Learning and Improvement with a particular emphasis on complaints handling practice and ensuring impactful outcomes.  We will publicise details and content soon.

Upcoming course (based in central Edinburgh)

Complaint investigation skills (stage 2 of the model CHP): 1-day open course, Tuesday 29 November

These are open to staff from all sectors. Full course details are available on the SPSO Training Unit website

For general information, see our flyer: SPSO Training 2016 (PDF, 40KB)

For more information, and to book spaces, please contact

Updated: March 8, 2017