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Managing unacceptable actions

Safety is Social Security Scotland's priority. They'll consider how to review different unacceptable actions from people accessing their services.

They'll take steps that aim to:

  • reduce the risk of harm to their staff
  • stop a person from inflicting further harm on themselves or others
  • ensure that Social Security Scotland can carry out its business

Limiting contact with a client

Social Security Scotland might limit contact with a person if they:

  • pose a risk to the safety of their staff or anybody else
  • continue to make unreasonable demands of Social Security Scotland

Limiting contact is a serious step in the unacceptable actions process. Social Security Scotland will only do this when there is evidence to show it's needed.

Any decision to restrict contact will consider the:

  • nature of the contact Social Security Scotland has had
  • need to receive a service from Social Security Scotland

Who decides to limit contact

A decision to limit contact will be made by a Social Security Scotland staff member who has:

  • the authority to make these kinds of decisions – for example, a manager
  • not been involved in the incident that requires them to limit contact

Steps to limit contact

Limiting contact happens in different ways. It will vary depending on why it's needed.

Social Security Scotland can:

  • stop you contacting them a certain way – for example, no telephone calls
  • limit contact to set times on set days
  • refuse to speak to you about a specific issue
  • ask a third party to contact them on your behalf
  • take any other steps they deem appropriate

Stopping contact with you

Social Security Scotland can use technical measures to stop you from making contact. This can happen if you are:

  • abusive
  • threatening
  • harassing their staff

Steps to stop contact

Stopping contact happens in different ways. It will vary depending on why it's needed.

Social Security Scotland could block your telephone number or email address.

They could also take legal measures to protect their staff. For example, banning you from entering Social Security Scotland buildings. These measures are only used in extreme cases.

Telling you about changes to contact

You'll be told of any change to how you can contact Social Security Scotland in writing. This is so you have a record of the decision.

It'll include:

  • why Social Security Scotland is limiting future contact
  • what that limited contact means
  • how long the limited contact will last

Reviewing a decision to limit a client's contact

Social Security Scotland regularly reviews cases of limited contact. This is so they can balance your rights against their duty to protect staff and other people.

The review process differs depending on the situation. You'll receive a letter explaining what the review process is.

Asking Social Security Scotland to review a decision to limit contact

You can ask Social Security Scotland to review a decision made to limit your contact with the service. Social Security Scotland will only consider points that relate to the original decision.

A review could include you stating that:

  • your actions were wrongly classed as unacceptable
  • the level of restrictions did not match the reason for placing them

Staff who were not involved in the original decision will carry out any review.

They can:

  • overturn the decision to limit contact
  • make a change to the conditions of the restriction

Decisions will be made based on the available evidence. Staff will tell you in writing about their decision.

Independent review of Social Security Scotland's decision

If you're unhappy with the review decision, you have the right to an independent review. You can ask the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman to do this. It will carry out an independent review of any decision Social Security Scotland makes.

Recording and reviewing information

Social Security Scotland records all incidents of unacceptable actions. Decisions to restrict contact are recorded in the appropriate files and computer records.

The Senior Management Team receives a report on all restrictions each quarter of the calendar year. They check this to review the use of Social Security Scotland's Unacceptable Actions Policy.

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