The Scotland Office Charter
The service standards to which we operate and the action open to you if things go wrong.
In the Scotland Office, they are committed to providing high quality, efficient services in accordance with the principles embodied in the Service First initiative. This leaflet sets out the minimum standards of service you can expect from us and tells you what to do if things go wrong.
The Scotland Office consists of the office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
The Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for:
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- the devolution settlement for Scotland, as set out in the Scotland Act 1998; representing Scottish interests within the UK Government in matters that are reserved to the UK Parliament; managing payments of grant and loans by the UK Government to, and receipts from, the Scottish Consolidated Fund (SCF);
- a number of residual functions in reserved areas such as the conduct and funding of elections in Scotland, the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Scotland and private legislation procedure on reserved matters.
The Advocate General for Scotland is responsible for:
- giving advice as Law Officer to the UK Government on matters of Scots law; specific functions under the Scotland Act 1998, including raising or participating in court proceedings regarding devolution issues;
- representing the Departments of the UK Government in court proceedings in Scotland in accordance with the Crown Suits (Scotland) Act 1857.
You are entitled to expect a prompt, helpful and courteous service from their staff, who will always identify themselves.
If you have special needs please let them know in advance and we will do our best to meet them.
If you are not sure who to speak to telephone their Central Enquiry Point on [020 7270 6754] from 9am to 5pm, except at weekends and on public holidays.
If you telephone them
- they will try to answer your query straight away if it falls within our responsibility or re-direct you to the appropriate organization if it does not.
- where they cannot deal with your enquiry immediately we will either connect you to an appropriate member of staff or arrange for you to be telephoned back by the next working day.
If you write to them
- they will reply to your letter within 15 working days of receipt.
- if, for any reason, they cannot send a reply within 15 working days of receipt, they will send an interim reply explaining the reason for the delay and indicating when you can expect to receive a full reply.
If you ask for information, they will
- send you any readily available free published information held by them within 5 working days of receipt of your request or inform you where published information may be obtained.
- deal with requests for other information in accordance with the Government’s Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, under which information which can be made available will be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt of your request. In some cases there may be a charge for this information but you will be told about any charges before information is sent to you.
- if the information you request cannot be given to you or cannot be given to you within 20 working days of receipt of your request, they will write and tell you why and, where appropriate, inform you of your rights of appeal.
- If you remain dissatisfied with their response, you can ask an MP to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for investigation.
If you visit their offices, they will
- see you within 10 minutes if you have made an appointment in advance
- otherwise try to deal with your enquiry on the spot. If they cannot do so they will let you know why not and arrange for your enquiry to be followed up.
They will ensure that accounts are paid promptly. Where a contract applies they will make payment in accordance with the applicable timetable. They will otherwise pay accounts within 30 days of receipt of a valid invoice.
They plan to consult the users of our services, to assess the effectiveness of their services and identify improvements with a view to report each year on our performance in meeting their targets. If you are asked to complete a service questionnaire or are contacted in a telephone survey it would be very helpful if you would spare the time to respond.
If you feel you have grounds for complaint about the way they have treated you, please let them know. This will help them to put things right for you or to prevent the same thing happening to others.
Wherever possible you should try to resolve your complaint on the spot with the person who has dealt with you. But if this is not possible, please write to the Head of Constitutional Branch [see address at end of section]. It will help them deal with your complaint if you give as much background information as possible.
Where your complaint is not directly a matter for the Scotland Office, they will pass it on to the appropriate organization for action and will let you know that they have done so.
Where your complaint is appropriate to the Scotland Office, they will investigate your complaint and send you a full reply within 10 working days of receipt of your complaint. If they need longer than this, they will send you an interim reply to explain the delay and to tell you when you can expect a full reply.
If you are dissatisfied with their response you should write to the Head of Department (see address below). He will review your complaint and its handling and he will send you a full reply within 10 working days of receipt of your letter.
If you are still dissatisfied you can approach a Member of Parliament (who does not have to be your local MP) and ask him/her to make an approach on your behalf to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman). The Ombudsman is a fully independent person with powers to investigate complaints about Government Departments.
If you wish to make a complaint about the service you have received from the Scotland Office please write to:
Glenn PrestonHead of Constitutional BranchScotland OfficeDover HouseLONDONSW1A 2AUe-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not happy with the way your complaint has been dealt with please write to:
Jim WildgooseHead of DepartmentScotland OfficeDover HouseLONDONSW1A 2AU
Ministers' Private Offices; Press Office; Parliamentary and Constitutional DivisionDover HouseWhitehallLondon SW1A 2AUTel: 0207 270 6754Fax: 0207 270 6811/6812
Finance & Administration; Press Office1 Melville CrescentEdinburghEH3 7HWTel: 0131-244 9010Fax: 0131-244 9059
Central EnquiriesTel: 0207-270 6754E-Mail: email@example.com