Complaints procedures should be independent

When an applicant considers that the planning authority has failed to follow defined procedures or has acted unreasonably in any way, complaints are handled internally in a two stage process, both stages of which are controlled and run by officers of the department. This does not instil confidence that there is any reasonable chance of a fair and independent review of the complaint. Most public bodies appoint an external authority to investigate complaints. 

Why the contribution is important

In order for there to be public confidence in the decisions of the planning authority, complaints about the authority should be subject to investigation by an independent external body.

by Ewingston on February 29, 2016 at 05:24PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.6
Based on : 3 votes


  • Posted by BrianMcNeil February 29, 2016 at 17:32

    It is quite untrue to say "Most public bodies appoint an external authority to investigate complaints. " The majority of public bodies operate a two-tier internal review process; this is then followed with a review carried out by an ombudsman or other independent body.
  • Posted by JohnColledge February 29, 2016 at 19:39

    An internal review system is only as good as the people handling complaints and in Edinburgh that can be the person resposible for the mistakes that led to the complaint in the first place. When staff by their own admission don't understand quite basic plans and disagree with their Planning Committee over what has been approved, there is no chance of reaching a satisfactory resolution to a complaint.

    As far as planning issues are concerned, in our experience the SPSO have been shown to be every bit as incompetent and biased as those resposible for allowing breaches of planning control to take place in the first instance. Far from serving justice, as we are led to believe they should, they have been shown to actively interfered with it.

    If we want to have it confirmed that a building cannot in fact be in two places at once, (to give one example of the 'nonsense' we have had to put up with) we will have to raise a Judicial Review, costing we understand upwards of £50,000. This is what passes for justice in Scotland.

    A growing number of MSPs are aware of this situation but claim they can do nothing, despite it being a failure to comply with their moral obligations to serve us and comply with their Code of Conduct.

  • Posted by Monkstone February 29, 2016 at 21:48

    I totally agree with the above idea , our complaint about planning was investigated by also seemed strange that the three senior managers were all related ,who investigated each other.
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