Experience panels: complaints, re-determination and appeals

This report summarises the results of two surveys and seven focus groups on the feedback and complaints process for Social Security Scotland.

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Understanding complaints, re-determinations and appeals

Focus group participants were asked to consider what they understood by "complaints", "re-determinations" and "appeals". Participants felt that whilst there was some overlap in terms of when you might make a complaint and when you might challenge a decision, these were quite separate processes. Many felt that an appeal was about questioning the decision made about an application, and how that decision was made, whereas a complaint is broader, and may, for example, cover how you felt you were treated during that process and whether your needs were met.

"Complaints are more first line, it can be…could be the person on the phone it could be delaying the process…not aware of timescales and procedure really, how long they have to wait for something." (Focus group participant)

"(Complaints are for) when something has gone wrong either with the process or human error". (Focus group participant)

However, some participants also felt that people can get confused, and not be sure whether they have challenged a decision, or made a complaint, and that the processes around this therefore need to be as clear and transparent as possible.

"In my experience, people think they want to complain when they want a reconsideration or appeal. You can explain that in a few words in a glossary." (Focus group participant)


Email: Catherine Henry

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