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Child Friendly Complaints

Ensuring children’s rights and 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. On 25 April 2022 we launched our two-year project to develop and implement new guidance for the public bodies we work with.

Children and young people are users of a wide range of Scottish public services, including schools, children and families social work, and health visitor services. Many of these focus on wellbeing, health and development. Children have the right to complain if they are unhappy with those services.

We are developing guidance that will cover complaints about public services:

  • made by children and young people themselves
  • made on behalf of children and young people with their permission (e.g. by their parents, carers or third-party advocates), and
  • concerning children and young people (e.g. made by their parents, carers or third-party advocates without permission or input from children and young people).

Project aim

Co-design and implement a public sector complaints service that meets children’s rights and needs, working in co-operation with children and young people, public bodies and wider stakeholders

It is important that complaints handling processes both enable children and young people to exercise their rights, and ensure those handling complaints hear and respect children and young peoples’ views and voices. Taking a co-design approach that hears those voices from the outset will help ensure young people have a real impact in shaping the new guidance.


We will be running design workshops with a wide range of people over the next few months.  If you would like to take part in our workshops, or if you have any questions about the project, please contact us by emailing  

Updated: July 14, 2022