Participation Standard

Cover of the Participation Standard

documentsKey Documents

Participation StandardPDF document

Equality Impact AssessmentPDF document

2010-11 Assessment Reports

2012-13 Assessment Reports

2014-15 Assessment Reports

informationInformation for the Public

Public information leafletPDF document

Public information leaflet (Arabic) 
(العربية) PDF document

Public information leaflet (Traditional Chinese) (中文)PDF document

LinkLink to this page

NHS Boards need to ensure that people have a say in decisions about their care and in the development of local health services. The Participation Standard is a way of measuring how well NHS Boards do this. It is one of the commitments set out in the Scottish Government's Link opens in new windowBetter Health, Better Care: Action Plan to develop a "mutual NHS" where health services meet the needs and preferences of individuals.

The Participation Standard measures three things:

  1. How well NHS Boards focus on the patient – people should be involved in discussions about their own treatment and care; information about treatments and local health services should be available and easily accessible; people should be treated with dignity and respect; carers should be supported; and people should be encouraged and helped to give feedback or make complaints about services.
  2. How well NHS Boards involve the public – people should be well informed about local healthcare services; supported to get involved in making decisions about changes to services; and told how their views have been taken into account.
  3. How NHS Boards take responsibility for ensuring they involve the public – NHS Boards should make sure their decisions take account of the views of the public; and should encourage their own members of staff to involve the public in their work.


In the first year, each NHS Board submitted a self-assessment report for 2010-2011. These reports formed the basis for questions put by the Scottish Government to each NHS Board at its Annual Review in 2012.

In 2012-2013, NHS Boards were asked to focus on Section 3 (corporate governance), and to provide examples of patient and public engagement which could be used to showcase best practice and highlight areas for improvement. Boards submitted 4-6 short summary examples and public representatives helped to choose two case studies for each Board to expand and submit with their final self-assessment reports for 2012-2013.

The third round of self-assessment reports, in 2014-2015, was based on NHS Boards’ Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints annual reports. It was clear from the information that Boards submitted, and the feedback we received at the end of the process, that Boards welcomed the opportunity to review approaches and highlight any gaps in their processes and systems for handling complaints and feedback, and to demonstrate how these had led to improvement.

In line with established NHS Participation Standard procedure, 2015-2016 year was an improvement year and no formal assessment was carried out. NHS Boards focused on delivering the improvements identified in the 2014-2015 assessment and reported in their individual assessments and in the Scottish Health Council’s National Overview Report. While there was no Participation Standard assessment process that year, Boards were able to use their 2015-1016 Feedback, Comments, Concerns and Complaints annual reports to demonstrate how they had used learning to improve how complaints and feedback were handled.

Where can I find out more?

You can download a full copy of the Participation StandardPDF document or request a printed copy by calling 0141 241 6308 or by contacting your local office. If you have any questions about the Participation Standard, you can contact:

Tony McGowan
Senior manager with responsibility for the Participation Standard
Scottish Health Council
Delta House
50 West Nile Street
Glasgow G1 2NP

Telephone: 0141 241 6306

Louise MacFarlane
Performance Analyst

Annemarie Long
Performance Analyst
Telephone: 0141 227 3288