27 March 2024

New Child Friendly Complaint procedure - please complete new GOLD course

Banner with graphic of a checklist, arrows and speech bubbles with text Colleague update

The Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman (SPSO) is launching a new Child Friendly Complaint procedure in April, which will be fully implemented by 16 July 2024. All colleagues need to be aware of the new procedure for dealing with complaints from or involving children.

The new procedure sets out how to handle and investigate complaints from children, making sure that all complaints are handled in a manner that respects and promotes children's rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UNCRC). It is not a stand-alone procedure, but rather an addition to our existing complaints procedure.

When to use it

  • A child (under 18) raises a complaint directly.
  • An adult raises a complaint at the request of a child.
  • An adult raises a complaint about matters which affect a child.

You can read the principles of the new procedure on the SPSO website here:


Key points to note:

  • When discussing a complaint, colleagues should never meet with a child/children alone in a private space.
  • The new procedure allows the child to choose which staff member they wish to talk to about their complaint. 
  • Colleagues must clearly explain to them what practical steps to expect at each stage of the complaint and ask whether they want to proceed.
  • Communicate verbally, ideally in person, unless the child would prefer a different way of communicating. Use less formal language that is tailored to the child's ability to understand.
  • Make a record of the discussion.

New GOLD course

Please complete the new Glasgow Life GOLD course Complaint handling - Child Friendly Complaints.

More information