How to complain when something goes wrong

Complaints

Our complaints handling procedure reflects the Scottish Government's commitment to resolving issues at the point of service delivery, and where necessary, conducting thorough, impartial and fair investigations of any complaints.

The procedure standardises the approach across government departments and complies with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman's guidance on complaint handling procedure. Our aim is to 'get it right first time' by providing quicker, simpler, local resolution by capable, well trained staff. Topics of complaints cover:

  • our standard of service
  • unreasonable delays
  • any mistakes we have made
  • how you've been treated by our staff

Where we can, we'll apologise and put things right as quickly as possible.

You can read more about our previous years’ performance in our published Complaint Reports:

Complaints Report 2017/18

Complaints Report 2016/17

Complaints Report 2015/16

Complaints Report 2014/15

Ill-health retirement disputes

Members of the Firefighters’ schemes should contact their employing authority for medical appeals. These appeals are considered by the Independent Board of Trustees rather than through SPPA’s internal dispute resolution procedure.

Medical ill-health retirement and injury benefit appeals are referred to a Board of Referees supplied by Health Management Limited (HML). If you wish to make an appeal against a decision on ill-health retirement or an injury award you must contact Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Internal disputes resolution procedure

If you have a dispute regarding how SPPA has applied the regulations and you’re not satisfied with a decision we’ve made, you can appeal using SPPA’s Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure.

Common appeal examples include disputes concerning:

  • the amount of retirement benefits members have received
  • rejections of ill-health retirement benefit awards
  • not being allowed to transfer in or out of the scheme.

Our Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure is a one stage process that complies with pension legislation and Citizen's Charter guidelines. Applications for Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure reviews must be made in writing to the Director of Policy, who will try to resolve your complaint and let you have a response within four months (but sooner if possible). You’ll find a guide to the procedure and the application form here.

Escalating complaints

You may take your case to The Pensions Ombudsman or The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman both of whom can consider complaints relating to SPPA’s administrative actions. However, it is unlikely that The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman will be able to accept complaints relating to decisions or omissions concerning the provisions of pension regulations.

Unacceptable actions and behaviours

We come into contact with many people in the course of our work and our interactions are usually positive and productive for all parties. Occasionally, the behaviour or actions of some individuals make it impossible for us to continue any constructive engagement. In a small number of cases we have to consider taking steps to protect our staff or to ensure that our ability to work effectively is not undermined.

Our Unacceptable Behaviour Policy explains how we'll approach these situations.

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