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Complaints about care home funding decisions

Complaints about care home funding decisions

If you've decided to live in a care home, you'll need an assessment of your care needs and a financial assessment. Your local council will then make a decision about how much funding you'll get. If you're unhappy with this decision, you can complain.

How to complain

You can make your complaint in person, by phone, in writing or by email directly to the local authority or integrated health and social care partnership. Details of the organisation’s complaints handling procedure and how to get in touch will be advertised on their website. The complaint should be handled by someone other than the person who made the original decision.

The complaints procedure has a 2 stage process:

  • stage 1 – frontline response for simple, straightforward complaints
  • stage 2 – investigation for complaints that are not resolved at stage 1 or those that require investigation and so are handled directly at this stage

Frontline response should be completed within 5 working days. The investigation stage should be completed within 20 working days. The timelines may be extended in special circumstances; the organisation will let you know if they need more time.

If you’re not satisfied by the response from the council

If you remain dissatisfied when you’ve had a final response from the organisation, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at your complaint.

You can ask the SPSO to look at your complaint if:

  • you’ve gone all the way through the organisation’s complaints handling procedure
  • it is less than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about
  • the matter has not been (and is not being) considered in court

The SPSO will ask you to complete a complaint form and provide a copy of the final response to your complaint. You can do this on the SPSO website or phone them on 0800 377 7330.

You may wish to get independent support or advocacy to help you progress your complaint. Organisations who may be able to assist you are:

  • Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

The SPSO’s contact details are:

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
Bridgeside House
99 McDonald Road

Freephone: 0800 377 7330



Judicial review

All the previous routes should be followed first. If you’re still not satisfied, you can seek a judicial review. You can petition the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The petition can’t be made just because the decision is disagreed with. Grounds must be supplied that the decision is unlawful.

Order to carry out statutory duties

Application for an order from the Court of Session can be made without attempting any other route first.

It’s only available if the council has failed to carry out a clear statutory duty. A court can impose an order on the council, forcing it to comply. It could also impose fines or imprisonment.

Find out more about complaints and feedback

Further information

The payment of care home fees is a complex subject and depends on many things which are unique to you.

If you want detailed information or personal advice, ask an experienced independent adviser like:

Advice Direct Scotland  phone 0808 800 9060, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Age Scotland  its fact sheets have information on paying for care homes, or phone their helpline on 0800 12 44 222.

The information was last updated on: 17th May 2023


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Find my council

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.