History of the Model Complaints Handling Procedures

Further Education

The Further Education Model Complaints Handling Procedure (MCHP) was developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including Scotland’s Colleges and complaints experts from the sector and was published on 19 December 2012, with full implementation required by 30 August 2013.

In addition to the requirement to adopt the MCHP under the SPSO Act 2002 (as amended), adoption of the MCHP was a requirement of the SFC’s Financial Memorandum.

The original documents of the first Further Education MCHP are available for reference below (please note, that the MCHP has been revised now and the current version is available here):


Higher Education

The Higher Education Model Complaints Handling Procedure (MCHP) was developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including Universities Scotland and complaints experts from the sector and was published on 19 December 2012, with full implementation required by 30 August 2013. 

In addition to the requirement to adopt the MCHP under the SPSO Act 2002 (as amended), adoption of the MCHP was a requirement of the SFC’s Financial Memorandum.

The original documents of the first Higher Education MCHP are available for reference below (please note, that the MCHP has been revised now and the current version is available here):


Local Authority

The Local Authority Model Complaints Handling Procedure (MCHP) was developed through a working group of local authority complaints experts and in consultation with key partners, including the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the Improvement Service and Audit Scotland.

The original Local Authority MCHP was published on 28 March 2012 and the SPSO assessed compliance of each local authority with the MCHP in September 2012. Those authorities that were not compliant were required to demonstrate that they had a clear and realistic plan for implementation by 31 March 2013 at the latest.

Compliance with the original MCHP was monitored by Audit Scotland in conjunction with the SPSO, taking a risk-based and proportionate approach, and in line with the principles of the Shared Risk Assessment (SRA) arrangements.

The original documents of the first Local Authority MCHP are available for reference below (please note, that the MCHP has been revised now and the current version is available here):

 

Social Work 

Changes to social work complaints handling were brought about through the Public Services Reform (Social Work Complaints Procedure) (Scotland) Order 2016 (link is external). These changes included provision for the Ombudsman to consider the merits of social work decisions as part of the SPSO’s independent investigation of complaints.

The SPSO published the Social Work MCHP on 15 December 2016 for adoption by all organisations under the SPSO's jurisdiction that deliver social work services by 1 April 2017. 

The Social Work MCHP was developed in partnership with representatives from social work, health and social care, the Scottish Government and third sector organisations, together with other key partners from the public sector.

Organisations were required to continue to handle all social work complaints received by them prior to 1 April 2017 through the previous social work complaints procedure – and as a result, organisations needed to provide Complaints Review Committee hearings for some time after 1 April 2017. The SPSO’s extended role with professional judgment applies where the original complaint is made to the local authority on or after 1 April 2017.

The original documents of the first Social Work MCHP are available for reference below (please note that we have revised all sector MCHPs in 2020 and there is no longer a standalone Social Work MCHP. We have combined the MCHPs for the local authority and social work sectors into a single document, the Local Authority MCHP, which is available here):


Registered Social Landlords

The Registered Social Landlord (RSL) MCHP was developed through surveys, focus groups and meetings of an advisory panel of housing associations and a high level group of key stakeholders, and in consultation with key partners, including the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and tenants groups.

The original RSL MCHP was published on 18 April 2012 and the SPSO assessed compliance of each RSL with the MCHP in October 2012. Those RSLs that were not compliant were required to demonstrate that they had a clear and realistic plan for implementation by 31 March 2013 at the latest.

Compliance with the MCHP was monitored by the SHR, in conjunction with the SPSO, through the Scottish Social Housing Charter and the Annual Return on the Charter. Monitoring of compliance was fed into the SHR’s risk based approach to regulation.  

The original documents of the first Registered Social Landlords MCHP are available for reference below (please note, that the MCHP has been revised now and the current version is available here):


Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities

The MCHP for the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and Associated Public Authorities in Scotland was published on 28 March 2013 for adoption by all Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and associated public authorities under the SPSO's jurisdiction.

Organisations were required to advise SPSO by September 2013 that they had implemented the CHP or indicate a commitment to do so by 31 March 2014.

The original documents of the first MCHP or the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and Associated Public Authorities in Scotland are available for reference below (please note, that the MCHP has been revised now and the current version is available here):


NHS

The NHS MCHP was developed through a partnership approach, led by a steering group involving the SPSO and representatives from across NHS Scotland including territorial boards, the Scottish Health Council, NHS Education for Scotland, NHS National Services Scotland, the National Prisoner Healthcare Network, primary care and the NHS Complaints Personnel Association Scotland. The independent Patient Advice and Support Service and Healthcare Improvement Scotland public partners were also actively involved.

Chief Executives were required to ensure that their organisations and primary care service providers were ready to implement the revised procedure from 1 April 2017. In particular, they were asked to ensure that:

  • NHS Boards provided their own organisations’ complaints handling procedure to the Scottish Government by 7 April 2017;
  • NHS Boards assure themselves that their primary care service providers were ready to implement the procedure by April 2017;
  • staff were aware of the revised procedure, and in particular of the stronger focus on early resolution, and were empowered to implement it;
  • appropriate reporting and monitoring mechanisms were in place.

The NHS MCHP has not yet been revised since its launch in 2017. All current NHS MCHP documentation is available here


 

Updated: February 14, 2020