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Complaints handling procedure

SEPA values service level complaints and uses information to help improve the level of service provided. We are committed to providing high-quality customer services.

SEPA's Complaints Handling Procedure is in accordance with the requirements of the Model Complaints Handling Procedure published by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

SEPA defines a service complaint as being:

"An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about SEPA's action or lack of action, or, about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of SEPA."

If you wish to report an environmental incident/ pollution please note the useful contact details within our contact page.

If you wish to report a service level complaint, please note the following:

What we are able to do now?

  • We are able to receive customer service complaints and depending on the nature of the complaint we may be able to resolve it.
  • We may not be able progress complaints within the timescales set out in the Complaint Handling Procedure.
  • Once we receive your complaint, we will log the details and make contact with you to discuss how and when it can be progressed.
  • To contact us regarding a customer service complaint use the web enquiry form.
  • When completing the form, tell us: your full name, address and a contact number; as much as you can about the complaint; what has gone wrong; how you want us to resolve the matter.
  • If you have been dealing with SEPA and already have a contact, please forward complaint correspondence by email.
  • Read the Complaints Handling Procedure - Guide to customers to find out more about the process.
  • Our Unacceptable actions policy and procedure describes the actions we may take during the rare examples where we deem behaviour by customers to be unacceptable.

Our complaints process has two stages.

Stage 1: Frontline resolution

Frontline resolution aims to quickly resolve straightforward complaints that require little or no investigation. We aim to do this within five working days. If for any reason we aren't able to resolve your complaint within five working days we will contact you to discuss the options.

Stage 2: Investigation

Stage 2 deals with complaints that have not been resolved at Stage 1, are complex in nature and require detailed investigation, are serious complaints, or are high risk cases. If the investigation is particularly complex and we need longer than 20 working days to resolve the problem, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.

Stage 3: 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.