UK Central Government Complaint Standards

Promoting a learning culture

Effective complaint handling promotes a culture that is open and accountable when things do not go as they should. Senior leaders create an environment where they and colleagues are supported and empowered to act on learning when things do not go as expected, rather than feeling blamed. Organisations use learning to improve their services and make sure every colleague knows their role in promoting a fair and learning culture. They put in place clear ways to demonstrate how they use learning to improve services.

  • Senior leaders make sure every colleague knows how they can create and deliver a fair and learning culture around the handling of complaints. Colleagues and senior leaders can demonstrate how they contribute to this culture through practical examples.
  • Senior leaders make sure appropriate structures are in place to deliver fair and robust investigations of complaints.
  • Every organisation has appropriate governance structures in place to ensure that senior leaders regularly review information arising from complaints, and are held accountable for making sure that the learning is used to improve services.
  • Organisations make sure colleagues are trained to identify and respond to complaints in a way that meets the expectations set out in the Complaint Standards.
  • Senior leaders make sure colleagues are supported and appropriately trained in all aspects of dealing with complaints. This includes how to manage challenging conversations and behaviour.
  • Organisations have clear processes in place to show how they capture learning from complaints and use it to improve services. They give details of how they have done this in their annual reports.
  • Organisations put appropriate measures in place to capture feedback about their experiences from service users who make complaints and from colleagues directly involved. They use this to demonstrate how the organisation has performed towards meeting the Complaint Standards and what service users expect to see.
  • Parent departments make sure they have meaningful strategic oversight of the performance of their related organisations. They know how these organisations handle complaints and how they meet the expectations set out in the Standards.