11. The Role Of The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) – Independent Review And Complaints Handling
Independent Second Tier Review
11.1 An applicant who is likely to be dissatisfied by the outcome of a review by a local authority should be advised, at the time of notification of outcome, that they can ask the SPSO to carry out an independent review. The SPSO’s service is free, independent and impartial. More information is available on their website (www.spso.org.uk/scottishwelfarefund) or by phoning them on 0800 014 7299
11.2 The SPSO can direct a local authority to make an award following a 2nd tier review. If a local authority is directed to make an award by the SPSO, regardless of whether they agree with the decision, they should make the payment without delay, in accordance with the Ombudsman’s powers outlined in section 8 of the Welfare Funds Act.
SPSO Complaint Handling
11.3 If an applicant has a complaint about the way their application was handled, the SPSO may also be able to consider this (whether as part of a review or otherwise). Although the local authority should generally handle a complaint through the model Complaints Handling Procedure before making a referral to the SPSO, there may be times when SPSO can consider a complaint sooner, for example, the local authority considered the issues complained about during a first tier review. If you have any questions about this you should contact the SPSO directly.