Duty of Candour Report - April 2023

Duty of Candour Report - April 2023

All health and social care services in Scotland have a duty of candour. This is a legal requirement which means that when things go wrong and mistakes happen, the people affected understand what has happened, receive an apology, and that organisations learn how to improve for the future.

An important part of this duty is that we provide an annual report about the duty of candour in our services. This short report describes how VSA has operated the duty of candour during the time between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023. We hope you find this report useful.

1. Aberdeen Association of Social Services (VSA)

VSA is the UK's largest city social care charity supporting the people of Aberdeen & North-east Scotland since 1870. We provide support to people with a mental health diagnosis, complex learning needs, loneliness and isolation, and additional support needs.

Established in 1870, VSA has helped thousands of the most vulnerable people and their families living in our communities across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Today, VSA provides vital support and services to people of all ages across four core areas, Children and Families, Adult and Community, Education and Learning. At VSA we support a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing through a range of residential and outreach support services.

Across all our service areas we support the most vulnerable in our communities living with:

  • Complex learning difficulties
  • A mental health diagnosis
  • Loneliness & isolation
  • Additional support needs

2. How many incidents happened to which The Duty of Candour applies?

In the last year, there has been no incident to which the duty of candour applied. These are where types of incident have happened which are unintended or unexpected, and do not relate directly to the natural course of someone’s illness or underlying condition.

How many times has VSA implemented the Duty of Candour Procedure in the last financial year?

Type of unintended or unexpected incident, that has resulted in or could have resulted in:

April 1st 2022– March 31st 2023

Death of the Service User


A permanent lessening of bodily, sensory, motor, physiologic or intellectual functions


An increase in the Service User’s treatment


Changes to the structure of the Service User’s body


The shortening of the life expectancy of the Service User


An impairment of the sensory, motor or intellectual functions of the Service User which has lasted, or is likely to last, for a continuous period of at least 28 days


The Service User experiencing pain or psychological harm which has been, or is likely to be, experienced by the Service User for a continuous period of at least 28 days


The Service User requiring treatment by a registered health professional in order to prevent –

  • the death of the Service User, or
  • any injury to the Service User which, if left untreated, would lead to one or more of the outcomes mentioned above.


3. To what extent did VSA follow the duty of candour procedure?

VSA implemented the Duty of Candour policies and procedures to come into effect within our service from the 1st of April 2018. The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring:

  • That the policy and procedure is in place
  • That training which is required by the regulation is undertaken
  • That training/ support and supervision is provided to any persons carrying out any part of the procedure as required by the regulations.
  • Reporting annually on The Duty

4. Information about our policies and procedures?

Once there has been a notification of an incident that would trigger the activation of the Duty of Candour procedure it is the responsibility of the Chief Executive to ensure that the Duty of Candour policy and procedure is followed. Following any incident of this nature there will be a review process to identify any lessons learned and the result of this review will be shared with the relevant person.

5. What has changed as a result?

As a result of implementing this procedure within the organisation, VSA regularly reviews its policies and procedures, to include its risk assessment procedure and training for staff in dealing with incidents and those affected. This will ensure staff have a greater awareness of risk within their day to day duties. The organisation continues to run incident response exercises involving a number of scenarios and ensures lessons are learned from real life incidents and exercises. The charity ensures all involved are debriefed and feel safe to provide feedback and suggest ideas for improvement.

6. Other information

Duty of Candour helps VSA, its board, executive, staff, service users and their families to feel further empowered to fulfil the aim of providing “the best of lives” to all of our Service Users and provide even greater transparency and demonstrate a willingness to learn and change.

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