COVID-19 update

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

COVID-19 update for customers

Please be aware that our office is currently not open to visitors.  Following Government advice, we are not arranging face-to-face appointments for the foreseeable future. We are receiving emails and assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide as near a normal service as we can.

We are now also operating a limited telephone service.  You can call us on 0800 377 7330 at the following times:

Monday: 2pm-4pm
Tuesday: 10am-12pm
Wednesday: 2pm-4pm
Thursday: 10am -12pm
Friday: 11am-1pm

A member of our Assessment & Guidance team will be available to answer general enquiries or for advice on how to make a complaint.  At this time we are unable to transfer calls to specific members of SPSO staff.  If you would like to speak to an individual staff member please contact them using their direct line telephone number, please leave a voicemail message for them to return your call.  Alternatively you can email the member of staff to arrange a telephone conversation.

Our Scottish Welfare Fund independent review service is available by telephone as normal.

Delays to our service

Due to the unprecedented circumstances and the impact on our staff resources at the start of the pandemic, you will experience significant delays of many months when submitting complaints to us; currently we estimate that there may be a delay allocating the complaints we receive to a complaints reviewer for further consideration of around eleven months. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and distress this may cause. We will do our best to support our customers through these uncertain times.

In prioritising our work we will look to identify any complaints that concern COVID-19 or its impact and relate directly to current service provision for vulnerable people, and those where we believe there is a real and present risk to public health and safety. 

We are also aware that some public service organisations may, depending on their available staffing, experience substantial challenges in continuing to provide services and significant delays in handling service complaints. We understand the need to introduce business continuity arrangements for organisations while they do everything possible to minimise the health risk and focus on keeping their most essential services open to the public. While we do not want to see standards slip, given the current situation we are seeking your co-operation and consideration and asking you exercise patience and understanding in case the service received falls below expectations or responses to complaints are delayed. 

In light of the current situation, we would encourage you to refrain from submitting a complaint to our office if it is about the following matters:

  • Delays with complaint responses
  • Matters which are likely to resolve themselves within the next few weeks/months
  • Delays in service delivery which are the result of organisations having to cope with COVID-19 and which are non-essential.

Further information is available on our online complaints form.

Data protection

Our staff are continuing to work at home due to the pandemic.  On occasions, this means that they need to store records relating to complaints at home.  Where this is necessary, we have strict procedures in relation to staff storing confidential information securely whilst working from home.

Our general privacy notice is available here.

Updated: January 14, 2022