The National Galleries of Scotland is committed to providing high-quality services to our visitors, whether in person at our galleries, online or through our outreach programme.
We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve our services.
If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us. This document describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint. It also tells you about our service standards and what you can expect from us. A quick guide to our procedure can be downloaded from the link on the right.
What is a complaint?
We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.
What can I 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 policies
- 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.
What can’t I complain about?
There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:
- a routine first-time request for a service, such as an event booking or picture licensing request
- general enquiries, such as our rationale for inclusion of certain works and not others in an exhibition, or the reason why a particular work of art is not currently on show (unless we have publicised that it is)
- requests for compensation
- issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal
- things that are covered by a right of appeal (including where a statutory right of appeal exists, for example under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002)
If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.
Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service. Please also read the section below on ‘Getting help to make your complaint’.
How do I complain?
You can complain in person at any of our gallery buildings, by phone, in writing, by email, via our online feedback form or using one of our paper feedback forms. Contact details are provided below.
It is easier for us to resolve complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned. So please talk to a member of our staff at the service you are complaining about. Then they can try to resolve any problems on the spot.
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.
How long do I have to make a complaint?
Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:
- the event you want to complain about, or
- finding out that you have a reason to complain, but no longer than 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.
You can submit complaints, and other feedback, in writing to:
National Galleries of Scotland
73 Belford Road
What happens when I have complained?
We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint.
Our complaints procedure has two stages:
Stage one – frontline resolution
We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.
We will give you our decision at Stage 1 in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If we can’t resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest that you take your complaint to Stage 2. You may choose to do this immediately or sometime after you get our initial decision.
Stage two – investigation
Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and those that are complex and require detailed investigation.
When using Stage 2 we will:
- acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
- where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
- give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days.
If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.
What if I’m still dissatisfied?
After we have fully investigated, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it.
The SPSO cannot normally look at:
- a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO)
- events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago
- a matter that has been or is being considered in court.
Contact details for the SPSO are available at http://www.spso.org.uk/contact-us
Getting help to make your complaint
We understand that you may be unable, or reluctant, to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service. 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 (SIAA) on 0131 260 5380.
We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community. In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help customers access and use our services. If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another language or format, such as large font, or Braille, tell us in person, call 0131 624 6473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on our complaints handling procedure please contact:
National Galleries of Scotland
73 Belford Road
0131 624 6473