Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Call us on 0800 377 7330


In 2015-16, we saw some reduction in overall caseload but an increase in the complexity of cases.  We saw a 9% increase in NHS complaints that were ready for us to investigate.  Health cases are more complex because they often consist of multiple issues and may need specialist advice.  This complexity increases SPSO staff handling time and also puts pressure on our resources because of the direct costs of sourcing that professional advice.

We received 5,358 complaints and enquiries, compared to 5,667 in the previous year, a decrease of 5% in overall contact.

We handled 4,636 complaints, 3% less than last year.

The overall rate of upheld complaints investigated rose from 50% to 54%.

We made 1,524 recommendations for redress and improvements to public services, 6% more than last year.

The proportion of complaints that reached us before completing the authority’s procedure (premature complaints) dropped again, from 34% to 31%.

2015-16 annual letters

The Ombudsman sends some authorities an annual letter about their complaint numbers.
This year the Ombudsman is asking organisations to confirm to him that the learning from SPSO complaints has been discussed at a senior level by signing and returning a learning and improvement statement. The aim is to ensure that lessons are being learned and mistakes are not repeated.

Ombudsman's letter and learning and improvement statement (PDF, 216KB).

Health boards

Ayrshire & Arran NHS Board (PDF, 101KB)
Borders NHS Board (PDF, 69KB)
Dumfries & Galloway NHS Board (PDF, 89KB)
Fife NHS Board (PDF, 102KB)
Forth Valley NHS Board (PDF, 101KB)
Golden Jubilee Hospital (PDF, 51KB)
Grampian NHS Board (PDF, 41KB)
Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Board (PDF, 107KB)
Highland NHS Board (PDF, 102KB)
Lanarkshire NHS Board (PDF, 108KB)
Lothian NHS Board (PDF, 103KB)
National Services (PDF, 48KB)
NHS24 (PDF, 51KB)
Orkney NHS Board (PDF, 65KB)
Scottish Ambulance Service (PDF, 52KB)
Shetland NHS Board (PDF, 62KB)
Tayside NHS Board (PDF, 98KB)
The State Hospital (PDF, 43KB)
Western Isles NHS Board (PDF, 69KB)

Local authorities

Aberdeen City Council (PDF, 53KB)
Aberdeenshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
Angus Council (PDF, 53KB)
Argyll & Bute Council (PDF, 53KB)
The City of Edinburgh Council (PDF, 53KB)
Clackmannanshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles) (PDF, 53KB)
Dumfries & Galloway Council (PDF, 53KB)
Dundee City Council (PDF, 53KB)
East Ayrshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
East Dunbartonshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
East Lothian Council (PDF, 53KB)
East Renfrewshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
Falkirk Council (PDF, 53KB)
Fife Council (PDF, 53KB)
Glasgow City Council (PDF, 53KB)
The Highland Council (PDF, 53KB)
Inverclyde Council (PDF, 53KB)
Midlothian Council (PDF, 53KB)
The Moray Council (PDF, 53KB)
North Ayrshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
North Lanarkshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
Orkney Council (PDF, 53KB)
Perth & Kinross Council (PDF, 53KB)
Renfrewshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
Scottish Borders Council (PDF, 53KB)
Shetland Council (PDF, 53KB)
South Ayrshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
South Lanarkshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
Stirling Council (PDF, 53KB)
West Dunbartonshire Council (PDF, 53KB)
West Lothian Council (PDF, 53KB)


Business Stream (PDF, 40KB)
Scottish Water (PDF, 40KB)


Scottish Prison Service (PDF, 29KB)

This year the Ombudsman also sent letters to Universities to advise them of their complaint numbers and to request a signed learning and improvement statement.


Higher Education Annual Letter (228KB)


Updated: January 12, 2018