Improving Complaints Handling: Putting People at the Centre of Services

Effective and proper handling of complaints is vital for organisations seeking to drive improvements and restore positive relationships with people who have felt let down.

Handling complaints badly will erode public confidence and result in a loss of trust of the service.

The context

It is vital that public sector organisations continually look to improve their approach to complaints handling to ensure that users have their voices heard and people are put at the centre of services.

This will also provide an excellent opportunity to understand the levels and quality of services being delivered by your organisation with an opportunity to rectify and deliver change before issues escalate any further. 

The event 

Join us on 25 October 2017 to learn how to improve complaints handling in your organisation. We'll share learning around the latest developments from tools to deliver excellence in complaints handling. This event is primarily for the public sector, but is open to any organisation interested in learning more about improving their complaints handling approach. 

Key issues to be addressed 

  • An overview of complaints handling in Scotland including the latest trends and analysis of complaints received
  • Creating joined-up easily accessible complaints processes 
  • Sharing learning across sectors about what works and what doesn’t in specific contexts
  • Tools and frameworks available for assessing practice and organisational performance


09.15   Registration and Refreshments

09.45   Welcome and Introduction from the Chair

Kate Connor, Director, Kate Connor Consulting

09.50   Session 1: Overview of Complaints Handling in Scotland

09:50   Overview of Complaints Handling in the Public Sector in Scotland

  • The latest developments for handling complaints in the public sector in Scotland
  • The work of SPSO to deliver long-lasting improvements
  • Performance against key complaints indicators
  • Good practice tools, techniques and resources

John Stevenson, Head of Complaints Standards, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman​

10.50   Questions and Discussion

11.10   Refreshments and Networking

11.30   Session 2: Group Workshop facilitated by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

  • Led by the SPSO, this session will consider in more detail specific areas of practice in dealing with complaints and create opportunities for cross-sectoral learning.
  • Attendees have the opportunity to identify two or three complaints handling themes that they would like to discuss during the facilitated workshop.

SPSO facilitation staff include:

Alison Fenech – Complaints Standards; Fran Richards – Complaints Standards.

12.45   Networking Lunch

13.30   Session 3: Complaint Handling Case Studies

  • Sharing learning around what works and what doesn’t in specific contexts
  • Using available tools to benchmark and assess practice
  • Case studies will originate from across Health, Education, Local Government and Housing sectors giving delegates insight into good practice and practical tips to take back to their own organisation

13:30 Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable Complainants 

  • A multidimensional view of complainant vulnerability
  •  Designing complaint systems to meet the needs of vulnerable complainants
  • Using complaints to transform the experience of vulnerable consumers

Carol Brennan, Director of Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre, Queen Margaret University

13:55 Implementing New Complaints Handling Models in the Health Sector

  • Key changes following revised procedures for complaints handling within the NHS
  • What have we learned so far?
  • Examples of emerging practice and priorities for improvement

Louise Ewing, Chair, NHS Complaints Personnel Association Scotland 

14.20   Questions and Discussion

14.45   Chair's Closing Remarks

14:50   Close of Event

*Agenda subject to change


 COSLA, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh, EH12 5BH


Delegate rates (excluding VAT)

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635​

25 October 2017

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