Complaint Standards Framework

We've been working with the NHS and other public service organisations, members of the public and advocacy groups to develop a shared vision for NHS complaint handling. We've called this the Complaint Standards Framework. 

Our public consultation on the Framework has now closed. Thank you to everyone who gave us their feedback.

We had over 400 responses which we are now reviewing as we work with our partners to amend and refine the Framework. 

We hope to publish the final version of the Framework (along with next steps for how it will be embedded) in early 2021.

What is the Complaint Standards Framework?

The Framework sets out a single set of standards for staff to follow and provides standards for leaders to help them capture and act on the learning from complaints. 

This version of the Framework is for:

  • All NHS staff, including all clinical and non-clinical staff and senior leaders, to:
    • provide a clear vision of how to approach feedback and complaints effectively
    • set out how they should approach learning from complaints to improve services.   
  • Everyone who provides feedback or makes a complaint about the NHS, and the people who support, advise or advocate for them. It sets out what they can expect to see and experience when doing so.
  • NHS staff who are being complained about. It will make sure they are supported and that the complaint is seen as a learning opportunity rather than a finger-pointing exercise. 

The Framework is built on the following four principles: 

Read the draft Complaint Standards Framework: Summary of core expectations.

Make Complaints Count webinar

On 10 September we held a webinar with a panel of experts from across the health and care sector. Participants explored how the Framework will make a difference to complaint handling, quality improvement and embedding an open, accountable & learning culture.

Watch a recording of the webinar.


We are grateful to partner organisations from across the health and care sector for their help in developing the Complaint Standards Framework.