Dealing with complaints

Dealing with complaints

The Bill proposes the creation of a National Care Service Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, to be co-designed with those with lived or living experience. It is intended that the Charter “will set out what people can expect from the NCS and provide a clear pathway to recourse should the rights in the Charter not be met”. The Bill also proposes to make the NCS “accountable to those accessing social care support through a simplified and robust system for complaints and redress” by: ⚫ “Placing an obligation on Scottish Ministers to ensure that there is a single point of access for complaints in relation to NCS services”; ⚫ Giving Scottish Ministers a power “to provide guidance and directions in relation to care board complaints processes, such as setting best practice / model complaints system”; and ⚫ “…mandating care boards to ensure that their service providers also have suitable complaints systems”. If you agree with these proposals in the National Care Service Bill click the thumbs up button (👍) below. If you disagree with these proposals click the thumbs down button (👎) below. If you are unsure about the proposals and feel you need to know more about them click the question mark button (❓) below. If you have any additional comments about these proposals please provide them in the comment section below.


Greater clarity is required regarding how this would operate in relation to the current complaint systems in place. Would this complaint system replace all others covering complaints about registered services, overall care delivery ( health and social care for a person), the process of assessment and procurement of care etc. and the proposed approach by an individual ( I.e. individual to complain to service provider first before taking complaint to NCS)?

Support and advocacy for those making the complaint

Any complaints system needs to be geographical area specific. The needs of and opportunities for those in Glasgow will be different from a sparsely populated area. There needs to be local understanding of complaints.

Support the need for governing bodies to be held accountable, and agree the process should be co-designed by those with lived experience.

I welcome this, but people need support at ground level to make a complaint. They must be assured that their complaint will be investigated by an independent authority and that they or their representative (if they wish) are present when decisions are taken.

Clarity is needed how this would combine with the role of the Care Inspectorate in Scotland.

Depends on how urgent the complaints are, might need to take the short route, so they are dealt with promptly. If someone raised a complaint, would they still have access to their support whilst complaint is being investigated or would their support be paused? Does the central system protect the service users, so that does not affect their level of care? Complaint should be anonymous. You should give people agency to choose how their complaint is dealt with and whether they want to escalate this. How does the system deal with false accusations? Protection of the service user who is receiving the care. There should be a time limit to when you resolve the complaint.

There are already distinct procedures for both NHS and Social Services. What is neede is a single point of entry into a joint complaints process. And it should be telephone based as well as on-line.

There is already oversight for complaints within social care via the Care Inspectorate, SPSO and local authorities. Would this not be just another hoop or strip of red tape for people who need complaints resolved quickly?

I do hope that all methods of contact will be employed so no one is at a disadvantage and that all will be listened to and get a fair hearing.

In setting up the National Care Service, the opportunity should not be missed to radically improve both the rights of those who are entitled to support and the ability to enforce those rights. The reality at the moment is that it is very difficult to successfully pursue complaints given the legal flexibility allowed to social care authorities and the time, cost and effort involved in legal challenge. The opportunity should be taken to (i) impose an absolute right to advocacy (ii) an individual express right conferred on service users to care delivered in accordance with the care principles and (iii) easier rights to complaint resolution through external channels such as arbitration or even something akin to a tribunal process.

At the moment there is no consistency of support for Kinship families due to 32 local authorities all operating in a different manner – this is problematic for Kinship families – the new service needs to take this into account with clear legislation and guidance making consistency an absolute given across the country. Where service remain localised there needs to be a clear local element and localised context as issues/complaints etc will potentially get lost in the national picture. Again consistency is required across all local authorities and agencies. Will all local authority areas be required to provide the same level of explicit support to Kinship families and what will the process be for local provision and resolve of issues and complaints?

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