Social security: response to consultation on draft investigation of offences regulations

Response to the main views expressed in the report on the consultation on the draft investigation of offences regulations and the code of practice for investigations, outlining where the draft code of practice has been updated and highlighting areas within the draft investigation of offences regulations that are being reviewed.

Chapter 5 - Complaints

79. In line with the principle of ensuring the dignity of individuals is at the heart of Social Security Scotland, the Scottish Government recognises the importance of providing a robust complaints process for anyone who is not content with the way they have been treated during an investigation or who feels that expected standards have not been met.

80. While a minority of consultation respondents did not agree with the proposed approach to complaints laid out in the draft Code of Practice and raised specific issues, a similar number were broadly supportive.

81. It was suggested that the draft Code of Practice should state explicitly that the raising of a complaint would not prejudice future benefit claims relating to the complainant. The Scottish Government is clear that any such behaviour by staff would be a demonstrable breach of the Civil Service Code which could lead to disciplinary action. It would also be directly contrary to the principles as outlined in the Act and our Charter.

82. A further safeguard is built into the system where complaints will always be dealt with by a team which is not linked to either fraud or benefit processing and by an officer that has had no prior involvement in the case. This separation of duties should provide individuals with confidence that raising a complaint will not negatively impact upon any other benefits claim they may have.



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