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COVID-19 update

Our office is currently not open to visitors. We are responding to emails; however, due to the impact on our staffing resources, our response times will be affected.  From Monday 25 May 2020, we will also be operating a limited telephone service.  Our Scottish Welfare Fund review service is still available by telephone as normal.  Please read our information for customers and organisations

What does maladministration mean?

While the SPSO Act does not give a definition of maladministration, we use the following as examples of the kind of failings that come under the heading of maladministration:

  • unreasonable delay
  • rudeness
  • failure to apply the law or rules properly.

There may be other failings that are also ‘maladministration’ – the most quoted definition is that of a Cabinet Minister, Richard Crossman, who in 1967 who listed 'bias, neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, ineptitude, perversity, turpitude and so on'.  However, as a judge - Lord Denning - noted in 1979 'and so on would be a long and interesting list, clearly open-ended, covering the manner in which a decision is reached or discretion is exercised ...'.

For further advice, please contact our Assessment and Guidance team

Updated: December 3, 2018