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Complaints handling procedure

Scottish Natural Heritage is committed to providing high-quality customer services. We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve.

We believe that complainants have a right to be heard, understood and respected and we work hard to be open and accessible at all times.

Scottish Natural Heritage defines a complaint as being:

  • 'An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about Scottish Natural Heritage's action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage.'

This page describes our complaints procedure, how to make a complaint and tells you what you can expect from us.

Our "Statement on unacceptable behaviour  PDF document " describes the actions we may take during the rare examples where we deem behaviour to be unacceptable.

A more comprehensive Complaints Handling Procedure - A Guide for Customers  PDF document  is available to download.

How do I complain?

If you complain directly to the member of staff you are dealing with, it may be possible to solve the problem quickly and easily.

You can complain in person at any of our offices, by phone, in writing, by email or online via our complaints form.

We record all complaints and publish a summary each year in our Annual Report. We accept complaints up to 6 months from the date of the original issue.

Stage 1 - Frontline Resolution

Frontline resolution aims to quickly resolve straightforward complaints that require little or no investigation. We aim to do this within 5 working days.

If for any reason we aren't able to resolve your complaint within 5 working days we will contact you to discuss the options. These may include an extension to the original timescale or, should the case be more complicated than we originally thought, undertaking a more detailed (Stage 2) investigation.

Stage 2 - Investigation

The investigation stages deals with three types of complaint:

  • cases that have not been resolved at Stage 1;
  • cases that are complex in nature and or where it is immediately apparent that detailed investigation is required; or
  • cases that involve members of senior management.

When using Stage 2 we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days;
  • where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for; and
  • provide a full response within 20 working days.

If the investigation is particularly complex and we need longer than 20 working days to resolve the problem we will agree a revised time limit and keep you updated on progress.

Independent external review - Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

If, having gone through our complaints procedure, you are still dissatisfied you can appeal to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

The SPSO cannot normally look at:

  • a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure. You must have been informed of the outcome of your complaint, at stage 2, before raising it with the SPSO;
  • events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago; or
  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman external site
Freepost EH641, EDINBURGH, EH3 0BR
Tel: 0800 377 7330 Fax: 0800 377 7331

If you have a complaint about the conduct of a board or committee member of Scottish Natural Heritage, you may take it to the:

Commissioner for Ethnical Standards in Public Life in Scotland external site 39 Drumsheugh Gardens, EDINBURGH, EH3 7SW
Tel: 0300 011 0550

Last updated on Monday 12th September 2016 at 14:31 PM. Click here to comment on this page