National Care Service - making sure your voice is heard: regional forums - easy read findings summary

In summer 2023, we held events across Scotland as part of our work to co-design the National Care Service (NCS). The events covered different themes. This easy-read report contains feedback on the Making sure your voice is heard theme.

This document is part of a collection

What we learned about making your voice heard


People can make a complaint when they are unhappy with the service they are receive.

What is working well?

It is good anyone can make a complaint. You can do it without giving your name.

It is good that services try and sort problems quickly.

It is good there is a process.

Some people had good experiences of making a complaint. They felt listened to.

People said it is important to be able to make a complaint to an independent service.

Social care services are more aware of issues like dementia and trauma.

People with experience of social care services felt positive about services that asked for feedback.

What is not working well?

Some people said they got no response until they made a formal complaint.

Some said it was difficult to find out how to make a complaint.

Some people need more help and support to make a complaint.

Some people were worried that support might be taken away if they complained. They said complaints did not always make care better.

Information is published in different ways. It can be hard to understand. Words like ‘complaints’ and ‘complaining’ can be hard to understand.

Some services do not want complaints and feedback. They see them as negative. However, they should see them as a way to learn and get better.

Services need training and time for staff to have good conversations with people.

How can we make it better?

Make it easier to understand how to complain. Information on how to complain should be accessible.

Make sure people who cannot use or access the internet can make a complaint (e.g. a phone line and post).

Give clear information on the complaints process in simple language. This will include what should happen and when.

It should be possible to speak to someone about the complaint.

Different services need to work together to have the same process.

Sort issues at an early stage.

Services should see that complaints and feedback can help make services better. Have a system for the feedback and train staff to use it.

Make links between the complaints system for the National Care Service and independent advocacy.

Improve information sharing so people do not have to repeat themselves.

Independent advocacy

Independent advocacy is separate from care services. It supports people to speak up for their rights.

What is working well?

Independent advocates help support people to challenge decisions. Advocacy support is important for those who cannot use their voice or have communication needs.

There is good advocacy support for complaining about the NHS. Independent advocacy can help issues get sorted.

What is not working well?

Some people do not know about advocacy services or how they can help them.

Some people said it can be hard to find an advocate if they live outside cities.

People are worried that services are funded by the council. This may make them not independent.

There is not enough accessible information.

People said there are gaps in services. Some were worried about the quality of support provided by services.

How can we make it better?

Raise awareness and understanding of independent advocacy and what it can do.

Make information accessible.

Advocates should be independent of the service provider.

Understand there are local differences and needs.

Make sure there are more face-to-face services.

Have services for carers. They may have a different view or needs compared to the person receiving care.

Services should be well funded and there should be funding for issues.

Advocates should be trained.

Make sure people have access to independent advocacy to support making a complaint.

Build on existing services.



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