National Care Service - complaints co-design: findings summary

This report sets out findings we have gathered through research and co-design that relate to complaints and redress.

Complaints bodies

There are four public organisations who may be involved in handling a complaint:

  • the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
  • the Care Inspectorate
  • the Scottish Social Services Council
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is an independent body that acts as the final stage for complaints about various public services including:

  • the Scottish Government
  • local authorities
  • the NHS

This means it is the final stage for complaints about social work, including care assessments and self-directed support. It also carries out monitoring and improvement work in complaints handling across the public sector in Scotland.

The Care Inspectorate is the regulator for all registered public and private care services in Scotland. This includes:

  • childminding
  • adult day care
  • care homes
  • care at home
  • housing support

The Care Inspectorate deals with complaints about the quality of regulated social care services. They carry out inspections of care providers and they support the improvement of care services.

The Scottish Social Services Council is the regulator for social workers and social care workers. It is responsible for registering workers and regulating their education and training. It also carries out ‘fitness to practice’ investigations. This is where someone raises concerns that an individual worker’s values, behaviour or competence calls into question their ability to do their job safely and effectively.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland is the regulator for independent health care providers. This could be clinics, hospitals and hospices outside of the NHS. It deals with complaints about the quality of registered independent health care services. Additionally, it carries out inspections of all health care providers, both NHS and independent providers. There are also various professional regulators for health care workers[2], who can carry out ‘fitness to practice’ investigations about individual workers.

Although these are key bodies in managing complaints, there are other bodies that can be involved in a complaint too. There are also various commissioners who can deal with complaints, depending on the issues raised.



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