The terms of appointment of the Ombudsman are laid down by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 (Schedule 1). When the Act came into force the Scottish Executive explained that it was intended to maintain and reinforce the Ombudsman’s independence from the bodies which he investigates, while making the appointment process more modern and democratic. The Ombudsman is appointed by Her Majesty, on the nomination of the Parliament, for a period, not exceeding five years, determined by the Parliamentary corporation (as long as it does not exceed 5 years). The Ombudsman is eligible for a second term but re-appointment for a third term is allowed only if desirable in the public interest due to special circumstances. The Ombudsman may be relieved of office by Her Majesty upon request or following a resolution of Parliament which, if passed on a division, must be voted for by at least two thirds of members.
In order to safeguard the independence of the SPSO, under the provisions of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002, in the exercise of the SPSO’s statutory functions, the SPSO is not subject to the direction or control of any member of the Scottish Government or the Parliamentary corporation.