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Complaints Procedure

The Scottish Prison Service is an organisation that is customer focused and as such we are always looking for ways to improve our service delivery.

We take complaints very seriously and have a formal process for examining them.

If, as a visitor to one of our establishments you are dissatisfied with the service received or some other aspect of your visit, then it is important that you talk to a member of SPS staff in the first instance and seek an early resolution to the issue.

`A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about an organisations action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the organisation`

If, after discussing your issue with a member of frontline staff you remain dissatisfied with our response then you should write to a Senior Manager (In prisons this will usually mean the Governor and in SPS Headquarters will mean the relevant Deputy Director)  or complete a complaints form . Complaint forms are available in all SPS establishments at the main entrance and visitor waiting areas. Completed forms should be handed to a member of staff at the front desk or put in the complaints box provided.

If you wish to send it directly to the Governor of the prison or SPS Headquarters Deputy Director the addresses can be found on this web site.

The Governor or Deputy Director will provide you with an acknowledgement within three working days and after an investigation provide you with a written response within 20 working days. If you would like this information in any other language or format (such as large print or Braille) please ask. If you have exhausted the SPS complaints process, as detailed above and you remain dissatisfied with the response or the way that the complaint has been handled then you can pass your complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

If you visit their web site you can download information which will tell you what steps to take when. Alternatively you can contact them by telephoning 0800 377 7330 or at the following address;

Freepost SPSO

Please print this address on your envelope, you do not require a stamp.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about most organisations that provide public services in Scotland, including the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). Their service is independent, free and confidential. The SPSO will normally only consider a complaint after you have completed the SPS complaints procedure. The SPSO cannot normally look at complaints:

  •  more than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about, or 
  •  that is being considered in court


If you remain dissatisfied once you have completed the SPS complaints procedure, contact the SPSO for advice and request a complaint for on the free phone number above.