Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Call us on 0800 377 7330

You should first tell the organisation with which you are unhappy that you want to complain. This will give them the chance to put things right.

You can make your complaint in writing, in person, by phone, email or by asking someone else to do it for you.

How to complain in writing

If you complain in writing, it is helpful to follow the steps below:

  1. Ask for the organisation’s complaints leaflet or procedure.
  2. Clearly mark your letter ‘complaint.’
    We have prepared an example complaint letter that you may wish to refer to (PDF 42KB).
  3. Make sure you write to the correct member of staff at the right address. Phone the organisation for advice if you’re not sure who to write to.
  4. Keep copies of your letters and the replies you get back. If someone from the public service responds to you by telephone, ask them to also put their response in writing.
  5. Most organisations will try to resolve your complaint quickly and at the first point of contact.
  6. If you are unhappy with the reply you get from the organisation, ask them to take it to the next stage of the complaints procedure. If you are not sure how to do this, call them to find out.
  7. Follow all steps in the complaints leaflet or procedure.

Getting help

There are people who can help you make a complaint. You could ask a friend, a relative, a councillor, your MSP or an advocate. You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Tel: 0131 556 6443 Fax: 0131 220 9819  Website:

Citizens Advice Scotland
Website: or check your phone book for your local bureau.

Updated: August 1, 2014