Complaint resolved by working together

This complaint case study demonstrates where the Care Inspectorate’s new complaints process involving frontline and provider resolution has worked well. The complainant and the care provider have managed to maintain a good relationship, one that has improved as a result of working together rather than through a third party.

This complaint was raised by a daughter about the experience of her elderly mother during a respite stay in a 24-hour care service last year when a fellow resident entered her room.

By the time the incident was raised with the Care Inspectorate, the matter had already been reported to the local social work office and Police Scotland had conducted an investigation. However, the service had not provided feedback to the complainant and her family on the learning outcomes from the incident and subsequent investigation.

The lady had been traumatised by the incident and was left frightened and fearful of agreeing to enter a care home again or take a respite break. The complainant and her family were concerned as they could not provide their mother with reassurance that measures would be taken to prevent an incident like this occurring again.

The complainant did not want the issue investigated again, but wanted the care home to provide feedback to her and her mother to offer reassurance and ensure this situation could not happen again.

Risk assessment

Using its new complaints procedure risk matrix assessment tool, the Care Inspectorate determined that the seriousness of the complaint was high. The service had a poor regulatory history.

Action taken

After discussion with the complainant, the Care Inspectorate decided that the most effective and satisfactory means of handing this complaint would be through frontline resolution – to contact the care provider’s operations manager and ask them to conduct their own internal investigation, after which they would provide detailed feedback to the complainant on the learning outcomes for the organisation.

The Care Inspectorate contacted the operations manager and obtained agreement that they would undertake their own investigation, working directly with the complainant and her family to provide feedback on the incident by an agreed date. As a result, the care provider sent a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the incident: it identified failures, lessons to be learned and actions that would be implemented to prevent such an incident happening again.


The complainant expressed her satisfaction with the process and had spoken with the operations manager about their investigation, the findings and the action to be taken. The complainant’s mother had also been offered the opportunity to meet the operations manager to discuss what had happened and to provide reassurance that steps had been taken to stop such a thing happening to her again. This provided the complainant and her mother with reassurance and that action had been taken to stop a similar incident happening.

The complainant also wrote to the Care Inspectorate to express her thanks for the support given and how this had a positive outcome for her and her mother.

Marie Paterson, Service Manager for Complaints and Inspection, said: “From our discussions with the operations manager, there was a definite appreciation regarding the approach taken to resolving this complaint/concern by allowing someone within the organisation to address the problem without further regulatory action.”