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COVID-19 update

Please be aware that our office is currently not open to visitors and we are unable to take phone enquiries.  Following the latest Government advice, we are not arranging face-to-face appointments for the foreseeable future. We are responding to emails; however, due to the impact on our staffing resources, our response times will be affected.  Please read our information for customers and organisations

About us

Our Vision

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman contributes actively and positively to Scotland’s development and delivery of first class public services: putting people and learning at the heart of what we do by being innovative and world-leading in our approach to complaints, reviews and standards.

Our Values

  • We work independently and fairly.
  • We are people-focused and value integrity and respect.
  • We value learning and improvement.

Our Role

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has a wide remit, covering a variety of functions and services. Her powers and duties come from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 which gives her three distinct areas of statutory functions:

  • 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. 
    We are not an appeal body for the decisions of organisations. We can check that a decision has been properly made, but we cannot change or overturn it. If we find that something's gone wrong, we can make recommendations to put things right.
  • Specific powers and responsibilities to publish complaints handling procedures, and to monitor and support best practice in complaints handling.  Please see the 'For Organisations' section on our website for more information.  
  • Independent Review Service for the Scottish Welfare Fund with the power to overturn and substitute decisions made by councils on Community Care and Crisis Grant applications. You can read about this on our Scottish Welfare Fund website.

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

Updated: February 19, 2020