Child Friendly Complaints

The text "Child friendly complaints, Ensuring children’s rights and needs are met by public service complaints procedures in Scotland" surrounded by a honeycomb pattern

On July 16 2024, the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) (Incorporation)(Scotland) Act 2024 will make Scotland the first country in the UK, and the first devolved nation in the world, to directly incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law.

This Act ensures that children’s rights are central to policy and decision-making, and that their needs are met by public service complaints procedures in Scotland.

The SPSO is being funded by the Scottish Government to develop a child-friendly way for public bodies to handle complaints. We have created Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles and Child Friendly Complaints Handling Process Guidance to help organisations implement the Model Complaints Handling Procedure in a way that upholds children’s rights under the UNCRC.

Aim

The aim of the project is to co-design and implement a public sector complaints service that is compliant with the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which meets children’s rights and needs, working in co-operation with children and young people, public bodies and wider stakeholders.

Research

We began by consulting a range of children’s rights experts, to better understand the existing theory and good practice surrounding children’s complaints. We spoke to

  • leading academics in fields relevant to children’s rights and participation 
  • third sector organisations with an interest in children’s rights 
  • public bodies with key roles in the oversight and promotion of children’s rights, including the Children’s and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland

Co-design

We held 21 co-design workshops to generate and then begin testing ideas for a child friendly approach to complaints handling. In attendance at these workshops were 

  • 50+ children and young people of all ages, from a range of backgrounds and circumstances 
  • 200+ adults who care for or work with children 

"This is how consultation with young people should be done" 

Feedback from a young person following a co-design workshop 

This resulted in pilot versions of a set of Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles, and a Child Friendly Complaints Handling Procedure. Read more about this in our timeline below.

Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles

 

These principles underpin how to handle and investigate complaints from or involving children, in a way that respects their rights under the UNCRC.

These principles are not intended to stand alone. Instead, they add to the main principles, adapting the complaints process to meet children’s rights and needs.

These principles were recently approved by the Scottish Parliament and now form part of our wider Statement of Principles, which all public bodies under our jurisdiction must ensure their complaints procedures comply with.

View the Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles (PDF, 113KB)

 

Child Friendly Complaints Handling Process Guidance

 

This guidance is intended to sit alongside the Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles (PDF, 113KB), to provide detailed best practice guidance on how to deliver the Model Complaints Handling Procedure in a way that meets children’s rights under the UNCRC. 

By taking an approach of focusing on core principles supported by best practice guidance, we hope to provide public bodies with the flexibility to continue with existing local good practice, whilst also providing detailed step-by-step guidance for those who would find it useful.

View the Child Friendly Complaints Handling Process Guidance (PDF, 319KB)

SPSO's Child Friendly Complaints Launch Event

Our launch event took place on Tuesday 16 July 2024 at 11am, which was hosted by Rosemary Agnew, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. We presented our Child Friendly Complaints Handling Principles and Child Friendly Complaints Handling Process Guidance and provided an opportunity to ask any questions around the Child Friendly Complaints process. With over 450 attendees, we had many questions and couldn't get to them all. We are currently drafting a document to answer the frequently asked questions and will share these soon. In the meantime, click the button below to access the slides from the launch event and watch the event recording below! 

Access Slide-deck

 


 

 


 

Keep checking back here, sign up to the SPSO newsletter or follow us on X or LinkedIn for more updates over the weeks and months to come. If you have any questions about complaints handling or you require support or guidance, get in touch with us at [email protected].

 

Updated: July 19, 2024