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Complaining to the Ombudsman

If you think the council didn't follow the correct procedure or acted unfairly when it assessed your homeless application, you may be able to complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

What can the Ombudsman do?

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is an independent watchdog that investigates complaints of injustice caused by councils not doing something they should have done or doing things in the wrong way.

The Ombudsman can look into the way the council processed your homeless application to make sure that it acted fairly and followed the correct procedures.

After the Ombudsman has completed its investigations it can recommend that the council pays compensation or takes action to put things right. Councils are not legally obliged to comply with Ombudsman recommendations but they usually do. In some cases, they may even offer to put the situation right before the Ombudsman has finished investigating your complaint.

What type of complaints can the Ombudsman deal with?

Examples of when you can make a complaint to the Ombudsman include situations where:

  • there were long delays in the council coming to a decision
  • the council discriminated against you when it made its decision
  • you were given bad or misleading advice by the council.

In most cases, you have to ask the council to review its decision before you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate. You have to complain to the Ombudsman within 12 months of receiving written confirmation of the review decision.

How do I complain to the Ombudsman?

You can download a free complaint form and leaflet on how to complain from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website. You have to complain in writing and should include copies of any evidence (such as letters from the council) that supports your complaint.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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The important points

  • Normally you will have to already have asked your council to review a decision before contacting the Ombudsman.
  • The Ombudsman can look into the way that the council has handled your application.
  • The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman has advice on how to complain.

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