National Care Service - making sure my voice is heard: regional forums - 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 report contains feedback on the Making sure your voice is heard theme.

This document is part of a collection

Annex A - Summary of key findings from our research that was sent to participants in advance of the sessions

Complaints and redress

The things we are hearing that are working well include:

  • anyone who receives, asks for, or is affected by a social care service can make a complaint
  • there is a standardised complaints handling procedure that sets out a clear process for how complaints should be handled once a complaint has been received
  • this procedure tries to make sure that complaints are resolved as soon as it is possible
  • it is possible for people to make confidential complaints to the Care Inspectorate

There are some things that people feel are not working well:

  • some people told us that they find the current complaints process difficult, and that it is not always easy to find out where and how to make a complaint
  • some people told us that they experience delays in dealing with their concerns when they are raised informally and that timescales for handling formal complaints can delay complaints being resolved locally
  • some people told us that making a complaint uses a lot of energy and that they would like more support to make a complaint, and more support while their complaint is being looked at
  • some people told us that they are scared of making a complaint and worry that, if they do, their support might be taken away
  • people told us that they wanted to make a complaint to improve their own social care support, the social care support of other people and social care support for people who need social care support in the future. However, this does not always lead to the improvements they hoped for
  • the way information about complaints is made publicly available is different across different parts of Scotland. This means it is not possible to understand the number and types of complaints that are being made

Independent advocacy

For independent advocacy, we think we are hearing about some things that are working well:

  • people who used an independent advocate felt supported to challenge decisions about their care
  • overall, there are a good number of advocacy services across Scotland

There are also things that people feel are not working well:

  • some people do not know about independent advocacy services and what supports they can provide
  • people may not be able to access face-to-face advocate support if they live outside cities and in remote and rural areas
  • some people do not want to use an advocate as they are worried they are funded by local authorities, and are not truly independent
  • there is no consistent definition of independent advocacy in Scotland, with some people feeling this means the types of advocacy services are different depending on where they live

Support planning and eligibility

The things we are hearing that are working well include:

  • some people use community link workers. They can help people access the information they need
  • social care community hubs can offer advice on how to access local support
  • carers centres run by third sector organisations offer information about carer support planning to unpaid carers
  • some local authorities have conversations with people to ask what support they need, instead of doing assessments

This is what we have learned about what is not working:

  • there is a lack of clear information on how to access social care support
  • The way people access social care support is different in different parts of the country
  • when organisations do not work together, it can cause long waiting times for people who are trying to access social care support
  • Sometimes people have to reach a crisis point before they become eligible for support
  • eligibility rules are different in different parts of Scotland. This can mean that the support someone can get is different, depending on where they live
  • assessments sometimes leave people feeling judged
  • people are often not told about the different self-directed support options
  • sometimes people who are carrying out assessments also don’t know about different self-directed support options



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