Complaints, inquiries and maladministration
Section 64: Complaints procedure
173.This section requires the Commission and the Council each to put in place a complaints procedure to deal with complaints about their own operation. Subsection (2) provides that both bodies shall get consent from Scottish Ministers before establishing procedures. Subsection (3) provides that they should keep these procedures under review. Subsection (4) provides that the bodies also make appropriate arrangements to publicise the procedures they establish.
Section 65: Inquiries
174.Subsection (1) enables Scottish Ministers to act on any concerns over the Commission or Council’s exercise of its functions or concerns over the provision of a care service, by setting up an inquiry. Subsection (2) allows the Commission to set up an inquiry on the exercise of its functions, or over the provision of a care service. Subsection (3) allows the Council to set up an inquiry on the exercise of its functions. The Commission and the Council need to have legal authority to investigate issues of serious concern that may arise in respect of their functions or any particular care service.
175.Subsection (4) enables an inquiry to be held in private. This might be necessary to protect, for example, a victim of child abuse.
176.Subsections (5) and (6) provide for section 210(2)-(8) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 to apply in relation to an inquiry. This will enable the person holding the inquiry to issue a summons requiring an individual to give evidence or produce any documents in their custody or under their control at a stated time and place. If that person fails to attend (for reasons other than not having the necessary expenses of their visit paid or tendered), they are liable to a fine or imprisonment.
177.Subsections (7) and (8) allow the Commission and the Council to determine who should pay their expenses in relation to an inquiry. Subsection (9) allows both bodies also to award expenses to parties involved in an inquiry and to direct who should pay those expenses.
Section 66: Maladministration
178.This section gives the Scottish Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration power to investigate the Commission and the Council in cases of maladministration.