Complaints about Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
Please note we do not deal with complaints about the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). If you have a complaint about the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service or any member of its staff, please contact COPFS directly:
Make a complaint to COPFS (external link)
If you are dissatisfied with how COPFS have handled your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it. You can call the SPSO on Freephone 0800 377 7330 or contact them online at:
Make a complaint to SPSO (external link)
Complaints about HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland
Complaints handling procedure
HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (IPS) is committed to providing a high-quality customer service. We value complaints and will use information from them to help improve our service. If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our service, please tell us. We will work with you to resolve it.
What is a complaint?
Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint, including the representatives of someone who is dissatisfied with our service.
There may be reasons why you are unable, or reluctant, to make a complaint yourself. We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your consent to complain for you.
You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance.
What you can complain about
You can complain about things like:
- delays in responding to your enquiries and requests
- failure to provide a service
- our standard of service
- our policy
- treatment by, or attitude of, a member of staff
- our failure to follow proper procedure.
Your complaint may involve more than one service or be about someone working on our behalf.
There are some things we can't deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:
- a routine first-time request for a service
- requests for compensation
- things that are covered by a right of appeal
- Freedom of Information request decisions
- legal proceedings or judgments.
If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.
Timescales to complain
Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of the event. However, if you do not find out that you have a reason to complain until later, you can lodge a complaint up to 12 months after the event itself.
In exceptional circumstances we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
What happens when you complain?
We follow the Scottish Government’s complaints handling procedure. Our complaints handling procedure has three stages:
Stage 1 – Frontline resolution
- We encourage all complaints to be made directly to us in the first instance, so that we can resolve them as quickly as possible
- We aim to resolve your complaint informally within five working days unless there are exceptional circumstances
- This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem
- If we can't resolve the issue, you can take your complaint to Stage 2 of the complaints procedure.
Stage 2 – Investigation
- If you are not satisfied with how we have handled your complaint or if your complaint is complex or sensitive or relates to HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution, your complaint can be made to the Scottish Government
- An Investigating Officer will be appointed to prepare a comprehensive report and, if we have got things wrong, will recommend improvements
- We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days and where appropriate, discuss the complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
- We will give you a full response as soon as possible and within 20 working days
- We will tell you if our investigation will take longer and will agree revised time limits with you
- If you remain dissatisfied after a full investigation then you then have the option of asking the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) to investigate your complaint.
Stage 3 – Independent investigation of your complaint: ombudsman
- For issues that have not been resolved, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints. They may be able to independently take up a complaint on your behalf
- The Ombudsman will normally only be able to act if you have followed the steps above
- To find out about the Ombudsman's work, visit the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website, or write to the office at: Freepost SPSO (this is all you need write on the envelope, and you do not need to use a stamp).
How to complain
You can complain by phone, in writing, by email or via our website. You can also complain in person at our office by appointment.
While we encourage all complaints to be made to us in the first instance so that we can resolve it as soon as possible, complaints to be dealt with under Stage 2 of the complaints handling procedure can be made to the Scottish Government by:
- checking the Scottish Government’s list of contact points
- emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- writing to Scottish Government, Complaints, 1E.10, St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG.
When complaining, tell us:
- your full name and address
- as much as you can about the complaint
- what has gone wrong
- how you want us to resolve the matter.