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COVID-19 update

Our office is currently not open to visitors. We are responding to emails; however, our response times will be affected.  We are operating a limited telephone service for complaints related enquiries. Our Scottish Welfare Fund review service is still available by telephone as normal.  Please read our information for customers and organisations

About us

Our vision

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman contributes actively and positively to high performing Scottish public services. Recognised for our innovative world-leading approach, we put people and learning at the heart of all we do.

Our strategic themes

We will live our values through four strategic themes that drive our activity and annual business plans.

  • Accessibility
  • Access to justice
  • Capacity
  • Standards

Our values

We will be driven by our values.

  • Independent
  • People centred
  • Fair
  • Learn and improve

Our role

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has a wide remit, covering a variety of functions and services. The Ombudsman’s powers and duties come (predominantly) from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002, which gives her four distinct statutory functions:

  1. the final stage for complaints about most devolved public services in Scotland including councils, the health service, prisons, water and sewerage providers, Scottish Government, universities and colleges
  2. specific powers and responsibilities to publish complaints handling procedures, and monitor and support best practice in complaints handling. Please visit our web pages 'For organisation' for further information.
  3. independent review service for the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) with the power to overturn and substitute decisions made by councils on Community Care and Crisis Grant applications. Please visit our SWF website for further information.
  4. Independent National Whistleblowing Officer for the NHS in Scotland (INWO) – from 1 April 2021 – final stage for complaints about how the NHS considers whistleblowing disclosures and the treatment of individuals concerned. Please visit our INWO website for further information.

All of the SPSO's services are free and independent.

Updated: November 10, 2020