Social Security Scotland’s system breakdowns: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

How many times has Social Security Scotland’s system gone down and how many of these times were planned and how many unplanned.

Please provide a breakdown by year.

Following clarification with you, we understand that you are seeking information that relates to our core benefits platform, Social Programme Management (SPM). This is not a client facing system.


Social Protection Management (SPM) is not a client facing system and does not affect the availability of online services for clients.


SPM is taken down daily out of normal operating hours to allow for automated benefit processing tasks such as payments and processing letters for clients. In addition SPM will be taken down to implement benefit launches and release updates for enhanced functionality. This has no impact on our client services that people use to apply for benefits, change their personal circumstances, or submit supporting evidence. This also has no impact on our ability to process payments.

Whenever possible we do this during non-working hours including holidays, weekends or evenings.

Excluding the daily processing for automated benefits, we have planned for SPM to be down as follows.

September 2018 – August 2019 - 11
September 2019 – August 2020 - 23
September 2020 – August 2021 - 29
September 2021 – August 2022 – 74
September 2022 – to date (9 February 2023) – 45


As with all systems there may be occasions to bring down SPM out with planned maintenance and updates.

Since September 2018, SPM had the following unplanned downtime.

September 2018 – August 2019 - 22
September 2019 – August 2020 - 6
September 2020 – August 2021- 6
September 2021 – August 2022 - 5
September 2022 – to date (9 February 2023) – 2


The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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