Complaint Standards Framework: Summary of core expectations

Positively seeking feedback

An effective complaint system goes out of its way to create a positive environment in which  complaints are welcomed and resolved at the earliest opportunity.  People know how to complain and can do this easily and without fear that it will affect their care.

People have confidence that their complaint will be taken seriously, will be looked at with empathy and will be answered as quickly as possible.

  • All staff have the freedom to actively seek feedback to improve services and resolve issues quickly and effectively. Staff receive training in how to do this and how to ensure people know they are being listened to and treated with empathy, courtesy and respect.
  • Organisations make sure people know how to access advice and support to raise a concern or make a complaint, including giving details of appropriate independent complaints advocacy and advice providers and other support networks. 
  • Organisations ensure staff who are subject to a concern or complaint are made aware and know how to get access to advice and support throughout the process.
  • Organisations actively reassure people who use their services that their care will not be compromised if they raise a concern or make a complaint.
  • Organisations clearly advertise how people can raise concerns and complaints in a way that suits them. Organisations offer a range of ways people can give feedback, including online.
  • Organisations make it easy for anyone to raise a concern or make a complaint when they want to. It is easy for everybody to understand how the process works, including who can raise a concern or make a complaint and what will happen next.
  • Each stage in the concerns and complaints procedure is responsive to the needs of each individual. Every stage meets the needs of minority and vulnerable groups and makes reasonable adjustments where required.
  • Organisations ensure staff identify when issues raised in a concern or complaint might be better addressed via another route (such as through a regulator or by a legal claim). Staff provide advice on how a person can take that route (and where they can get further support) so they can make an informed choice. Staff will continue to look into any issues that are not covered by another route to ensure people get a complete answer to their concern or complaint. 
  • Staff make sure they respond to concerns and complaints at the earliest opportunity. Staff consistently meet expected timescales for acknowledging a concern or complaint and give clear timeframes for how long it will take to look into the issues, taking into account the complexity of the matter.
  • Organisations regularly promote their wish to receive feedback from their users and promote how they use this learning to improve services.