Scottish Public Finance Manual

The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) is issued by the Scottish Ministers to provide guidance on the proper handling and reporting of public funds.

Annex 2: maladministration checklist and examples

This list sets out some of the questions which should be asked when handling financial redress cases. It is not exhaustive:

Does the organisation accept that maladministration has occurred?

Is financial redress appropriate?

What are the grounds for the financial redress?

Loss or deferment of entitlement

Was maladministration the sole cause or were there other contributory factors?

Should compensation for delay be considered?

Additional expenses/fruitless expenditure

Did this arise as a result of the maladministration?

What is reasonable expenditure in the circumstances?

Delay in payment

Was the delay abnormal or excessive?

Are there any other contributory factors?

What is the appropriate interest rate?

Inconvenience, distress, etc.

Is this exceptional?

Is this the direct result of maladministration?

What is the nature of the organisation's fault?

What has been the effect?

Is there corroborative evidence of this?


What is the degree of hardship?

Are the complainant's financial circumstances a relevant consideration?

Loss of opportunity to make a gain

Is the claimed gain realistic?

Is the proposed payment justified and reasonable on the facts of the case?

Payment for non-financial loss should only be made in exceptional circumstances.

Examples of Maladministration

  • bias;

  • neglect;

  • inattention;

  • delay;

  • incompetence;

  • ineptitude;

  • perversity;

  • turpitude;

  • arbitrariness;

  • rudeness;

  • unwillingness to treat the complainant as a person with rights;

  • refusal to answer reasonable questions;

  • neglecting to inform a complainant on request of their rights or entitlement;

  • knowingly giving advice which is misleading or inadequate;

  • ignoring valid advice or overruling considerations which would produce an uncomfortable result for the "overruler";

  • offering no redress or manifestly disproportionate redress;

  • showing bias because of ethnicity, sex or any other grounds;

  • omission to notify those who thereby lost a right of appeal;

  • refusal to inform adequately of the right of appeal;

  • faulty procedures;

  • failure by management to monitor compliance with adequate procedures;

  • cavalier disregard of guidance which is intended to be followed in the interest of equitable treatment of those who use a service;

  • partiality; and

  • failure to mitigate the effects of rigid adherence to the letter of the law where this produces manifestly inequitable treatment.

Updated: September 2008

Back to top