Complain about Social Security Scotland

Last updated: 24 January 2020

You can make a complaint if you feel:

  • Social Security Scotland failed to provide a service
  • the standard of service is not what you need
  • you're not happy with a Social Security Scotland policy
  • you're not happy with the treatment you've had from a member of staff
  • you do not agree with something you've been told by Social Security Scotland and you've not been able to use something else, like an appeal, to solve this
  • Social Security Scotland have not followed the right process

You cannot use the Social Security Scotland complaints process if you're:

  • asking for a service for the first time
  • requesting compensation
  • raising something which is already in court or which a court or tribunal has already heard
  • disagreeing with a decision where a statutory right of appeal exists
  • attempting to reopen a concluded complaint
  • wanting a complaint reconsidered that's had a final decision

Getting someone else to make a complaint for you

You can get someone to complain for you. This can be a relative, friend or someone else you trust.

The complaints process

You can make a complaint about Social Security Scotland by phone or post.

By phone

Freephone: 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).

If you're a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

By post

PO Box 10304 Dundee DD1 9FZ

How long you have to make a complaint

Normally, you must make your complaint within 6 months of:

  • the event you want to complain about
  • finding out that you have a reason to complain

In exceptional circumstances, Social Security Scotland may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell them why.

Once you've made your complaint

Once you've made your complaint you'll get a unique reference number. If you give your feedback anonymously you'll still get a unique reference number.

You can use your reference number if you want to contact Social Security Scotland to find out about the progress of your complaint.

If you want to be kept up to date with the progress of the complaint you'll be asked for your name and contact details.

Social Security Scotland's complaints procedure has 2 stages.

Stage 1: Frontline response

Social Security Scotland will give you their decision at stage 1 within 5 working days, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If you're not satisfied with the response at stage 1, you can ask for your complaint to be considered at stage 2. You must make this request either:

  • within 6 months of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain
  • within 2 months of receiving your stage 1 response (if this is later)

If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, you'll need to tell Social Security Scotland why.

Stage 2: Investigation

Stage 2 deals with complaints that:

  • have not been resolved at stage 1
  • need investigated and so are handled directly at this stage

If you do not want your complaint to be handled at stage 1, you can ask Social Security Scotland to handle it at stage 2 instead.

At stage 2 Social Security Scotland will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days
  • confirm their understanding of your complaint and the outcome you are looking for
  • try to resolve your complaint where they can (in some cases they may suggest using an alternative complaint resolution approach, such as mediation)
  • give you a full response as soon as possible, normally within 20 working days where they cannot resolve your complaint

If it will take longer than 20 working days to give you their response, they'll tell you their revised time limits and keep you updated on progress.

If you're not happy with the response

If you're not happy with Social Security Scotland's final response you can make a complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

You can contact the SPSO by:

  • going to the SPSO website
  • phoning 0800 377 7330
  • sending a letter to Freepost SPSO. This is all you need to write on the envelope and you do not need a stamp.

If you would like to visit the SPSO in person you must phone to arrange an appointment first. The office address is:

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Bridgeside House

99 McDonald Road

Edinburgh

EH7 4NS