About the Complaint Standards Framework

How we developed the Framework

We have developed the Complaint Standards Framework in partnership with a wide number of organisations and people who share a common aim to support complaint handling for organisations who deliver NHS services.

The Framework covers both ‘feedback’ and ‘complaints’. Feedback refers to when somebody raises a general issue about a service or incident. It can be positive, negative or neutral. Sometimes people just want to make staff aware of something before it becomes a serious issue later. We have included feedback in the Framework because it is important that the valuable learning it brings is routinely recorded or acted on, as it can also lead to improvements in service.

The Framework draws upon the wealth of good practice and guidance for complaint handling that already exists and puts it into a single place to describe the key principles and expectations. It is based on My expectations, which sets out what the public have said they would expect to see from their NHS when they provide feedback or make a complaint. 

Staff have told us that any set of standards needs to be flexible enough to recognise individual circumstances to accommodate the wide range of NHS services across England. The Framework will help them have the confidence to use their discretion when handling feedback and complaints, but only if there is a reasonable need to take a different approach.