Section 70 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980: guidance on making a complaint

Guidance to support those who are considering or who have made a complaint under Section 70 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

How Responsible Bodies will respond to a complaint

Responsible Bodies will be provided with a letter from Scottish Government officials to advise that a section 70 complaint has been received. Under the cover of that letter the full complaint, including all evidence, will be provided. The timescales for responding will also be detailed. These timescales will be determined by officials to comply with the overall timescale of 105 working days.

The responsible body will be asked to respond to the allegations of the specific failures of duty. The responsible body will wish to provide evidence which clearly shows that they have discharged the duties which it is alleged have not been carried out. Providing general statements without supporting evidence is unlikely to be sufficient in response to a complaint. If evidence is not provided this may lead to the complaint being considered solely on the information provided. Alternatively insufficient evidence may lead to an investigation being carried out by HMIE which otherwise would not have occurred.

It is important when responding that responsible bodies do not respond to every single allegation but focus specifically on the alleged failure to discharge their duties. As detailed above, the evidence responsible bodies provide in response will be dependent on the duties which are alleged to have been failed. In most circumstances evidence could include any of the following:

  • Minutes of meetings
  • Educational Plan
  • Official correspondence from the school or education authority
  • Copies of correspondence to school or education authority

As noted above, the complaint may refer to an alleged failure of more than one section of the legislation. In these cases, evidence should be provided in response to each alleged failure. The evidence should be clearly labeled to show which section of the legislation it refers to. Although it may refer to more than one section. Where possible, this evidence should be presented in a chronological order with a covering summary and contents page.


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