Consultation on Draft Order to revise the procedures for complaints about social work

To seek views on the Draft Order to revise the procedures for complaints about social work to allow the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (“the SPSO”) to consider complaints in relation to social work under their model Complaints Handling Procedures.

Draft Order

52. The draft Order contained in Annex A makes the legislative changes necessary to allow the SPSO to take on the role currently undertaken by local authorities’ Complaints Review Committees. It also repeals the provisions which create the framework for the existing complaints procedures.

53. Until the Order is enacted, it will remain a requirement for local authorities to continue to hold Complaints Review Committees. The savings provisions mean that the existing local authority complaints procedures (including Complaints Review Committees) will continue to apply to any complaints which have been made before the changes come into force.

54. The draft Order contains provisions for:

  • Extending the remit of the SPSO to enable them to consider complaints made about social work which are not solely about maladministration, but enable the SPSO to consider the professional judgment of social work staff.
  • Repealing the existing requirements on local authorities to create a social work complaints procedure. One effect of this repeal is that the SPSO will be able to use its existing functions to create a model complaints handling procedure for social work complaints, and that local authorities will be obliged to adopt a procedure which complies with that model. This brings SPSO functions in relation to social work into line for those for health, where the SPSO sets out its model complaints handling procedures which it expects local authorities to follow.
  • Allowing the sharing of information between SPSO, Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC) where relevant to their regulatory functions.

55. The draft Order, if approved, is expected to come into force on 1st October 2016, to allow time for the preparations for the change to be undertaken.

56. The explanatory note to the draft Order should be read in conjunction with the draft Order in responding to this consultation.


Email: Mike Liddle

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