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


In 2020-21 we received 3,130 complaints - a 28% decrease on the 4,332 received in the previous year. The first few months of the year saw a marked reduction in the volume of cases received into the office; nearly half the number of cases we received at the same point in 2019-20. This can likely be attributed to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption to public services as a result of national lockdowns. As Scottish public bodies adjusted to the situation, the number of complaints received rose steadily. At quarter 4 complaint numbers were nearly at the same level as the previous year.

Other key figures 

  • 676 - the number of enquiries received on which we gave advice, support and signposting information. This is a 57% decrease on the 1,569 received in the previous year - likely due to the reduced availability of our telephone advice service during the pandemic.
  • 3,176 – the total number of complaints determined, which is a decrease of 23% on 4,099 in the previous year.
    • 2,756 complaints were decided following detailed initial consideration. These were not progressed beyond initial enquiries for a number of reasons. For example, they were out of our jurisdiction, out of time or we could not achieve more for the complainant.
    • 420 - the number of complaints we investigated. 71% of which were about the health sector. This proportion is up from 66% last year.
  • 61% - the overall rate of upheld complaints. Up from 58% last year.
  • 740 recommendations made for redress and improvement to public service:
    • 37% for personal redress - down from 38% in the previous year
    • 52% for learning and improvement - up from 49% in the previous year
    • 11% about complaint handling - down from 13% in the previous year.
  • 267 pieces of feedback given to authorities on how a complaint was handled or where we identify an issue not complained about.
  • 20% - the proportion of complaints made to us before completing the organisation's complaints procedure. Up from 19% the previous year. For further information about the descriptions we use in our statistics, please see our explanation of terms.

Further information will be available in our annual report.

Updated: June 9, 2021