How SPPA handles complaints
Our complaints handling procedure reflects the Scottish Government’s commitment to serving the public. It tries to resolve issues at the point of service delivery and attempts to investigate complaints thoroughly, impartially and fairly.
We follow The Scottish Government's standard approach to handling complaints which complies with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman’s guidance on a model complaints handling procedure.
Our aim is to ‘get it right first time’ and that our capable and well-trained staff are able to resolve any complaints quickly, simply and efficiently with any learnings helping to improve our ongoing working practices and customer satisfaction.
What is a complaint?
We define a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of any service we provide.
What can I complain about?
Complaints may involve more than one service and could include things like:
- Delays in responding to your enquiries and requests
- Failure to provide a service
- Our standard of service
- Treatment by or attitude of a member of staff
- Our failure to follow proper procedure.
What can’t I complain about?
There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints procedure. These include:
- Things that are covered by the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure:
- A decision about the amount of pension you receive
- The application of scheme regulations
- Matters relating to policy
- Requests for compensation
- Freedom of Information request decisions
- Legal proceedings or judgements.
Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint including: scheme members or prospective members, their representatives or anyone who receives requests or is affected by our services.
How long do I have to make a complaint?
Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of the event you want to complain about – unless you don’t find out until later that you have a reason to complain. In that case, you must make your complaint within six months of finding that you have a reason to, and within 12 months of the event itself.
In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel the time limit should not apply, please tell us why.
How do I complain?
You can complain in person at our office, by telephone or in writing by post or email.
7 Tweedside Park
Tel: 01896 893000
It is easier for us to resolve complaints if you make them quickly. Talking to a member of our staff can help to resolve any problems straight away.
What details do I need to provide?
If you wish to make a complaint, please tell us:
- Your full name and address
- As much as you can about your complaint
- What has gone wrong
- How you want us to resolve the matter.
What happens after I have complained?
Firstly, we'll tell you who's dealing with your complaint. They'll then follow the two stages of our complaints procedure: frontline resolution and investigation.
Stage 1 - Frontline resolution
We aim to resolve complaints quickly. This could mean an immediate apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong. Where possible, we'll take immediate action to resolve the issue.
Frontline resolution means we'll give you our decision in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If we can’t resolve your complaint at this stage, we'll explain why and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest that you take your complaint to the next stage. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial decision.
Stage 2- Investigation
Investigation deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at the frontline, and those that are complex and require detailed investigation.
When investigating, we'll:
- acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
- where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you, to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you're looking for
- give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible, usually within 20 working days.
If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we'll tell you and agree revised time limits with you while keeping you updated on progress.
What if I am still dissatisfied?
After a full investigation, if you're still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we've dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman to look at it.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman cannot normally look at:
- a matter that is being dealt with through our Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure
- a complaint that has not been completed by our complaints procedure
- events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago
- a matter that has been, or is being, considered in court.
You can visit the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in person at:
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
99 McDonald Road
You can write to them at ‘Freepost SPSO’. (That’s all you need to write on the envelope, and you don’t need to use a stamp.)
Freephone: 0800 377 7330
Tel: 0131 225 5300