Health and Social Care
Social Work Complaints Procedure Consultation
As we continue to make progress towards integrated health and social care, one area that’s overdue for change is the social work complaints system, with the existing procedures dating from 1996. The need for the reform of handling complaints whether in relation to health or social work services, is to handle them in an effective, timely and person centred way.
We’ve therefore just published a consultation to seek views on our proposals to bring the complaints system up to date and provide complaints procedures that are aligned across health and social care.
The consultation document is published on the Scottish Government website and we’re using the new Citizen Space website to allow responses to be sent online to the consultation. We’d welcome any responses to the consultation through this new platform, no later than 14 December 2015.
Just to provide you with a quick background of the current situation of dealing with complaints on social work services – it’s currently a 4 stage process, with local resolution, followed by investigation stage, Complaints Review Committee, and then complaints about maladministration can be investigated by the (Scottish Public Services Ombudsman) SPSO. We’re consulting on changes to remove the Complaints Review Committee stage entirely, and extend the powers of the SPSO to allow them to investigate complaints about social work including around the professional judgment of social work professionals.
The SPSO’s Complaints Standard Authority has worked with service providers in the local authorities and other sectors to develop and implement a standardised model complaints handling procedure, and the SPSO will work with stakeholders to ensure that the guidance that will follow for social work complaints will ensure a complaints system for the service user that will appear to be seamless.
The draft Order (The Public Services Reform (Social Work Complaints Procedure) (Scotland) Order 2016), if passed by the Parliament, will enable SPSO to exercise parallel functions for social work complaints procedure as they do about complaints about health services. The draft order also allows the sharing of information between the SPSO and the Care Inspectorate, and between the SPSO and SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council). This is to allow SPSO to share information about a care service or member of staff with the appropriate regulatory body, if this comes to light as part of an investigation.
We’re looking forward to receiving suggestions through the consultation and would welcome your input – by 14 December at the latest.
For more information, contact Mike Liddle