Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) is committed to providing a consistently high standard of service. These standards set out what you can expect from us, and our commitments to you.

Our Commitments to you

We will:

  • Engage with you in a respectful manner
  • Deliver our work in a timely manner
  • Ensure our services are accessible
  • Be trusted, transparent, and independent
  • Improve our performance against standards over time

Engage with you in a respectful manner

We will act with integrity and will treat you with courtesy and respect. We will treat anyone who seeks our services in a fair and equitable way.

We will make our communications as clear as possible. We will use plain language without any jargon. The person handling your case or enquiry will provide you with a reference and their contact details for further correspondence. We will take the time to listen to you and understand your concerns. As we look into the matters you raise with us, we will explain our processes and keep you updated on our progress.

We will clearly explain our decisions to you. In cases where we believe another organisation will be better placed to consider your concerns, we will provide you with their details.

Deliver our work in a timely manner

We will:

  • Acknowledge your initial correspondence (including emails, letters, and telephone calls) to ESS within three working days of receipt.
  • Provide a response to all correspondence within 20 working days of receipt.
  • Respond to Freedom of Information (FOI)/Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests within 20 working days of receipt, and Subject Access Requests within 40 days, unless we require further information from you, in which case the 20 working days start from when the additional information is provided. In exceptional circumstances we may require 40 days to respond to an EIR. More details can be found on our website at: Freedom of Information – Environmental Standards Scotland
  • Respond to any complaints you have about our service within the timescales set by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. How to handle complaints | SPSO
  • Pay bills to businesses within 10 working days.

Where you have submitted a representation, we will:

  • Assess whether we will take your case forward – aiming to make a decision on this within 20 working days of receiving your representation. During this time we may contact you to clarify the issues you have raised, contact public authorities to seek information, clarify the relevant legislation and legal requirements, including whether the issue is within our remit. If there are any delays to this target, we will inform you and provide you with reasons.
  • Respond within five working days of receipt to all subsequent correspondence you provide relating to the representation.

If we think your case may lead to an investigation we will, whenever possible, provide you with an estimate of the time required to complete our work. Should we not be able to achieve this, for example, due to unforeseen circumstances, complications, or other organisations not providing us information in a timely manner, we will inform you of the delay and provide an updated estimate for completion. Your assigned investigation officer will keep you updated regularly during the investigation phase.

Ensure our services are accessible

We will make our services are easy to access. We will work with you to accommodate any specific needs or assistance you require. Please do not hesitate to tell us your requirements so that we are aware of your needs and can improve the accessibility of our service over time.

We will provide information on our website on how to use our services. If you are uncertain about our services or our role as an organisation, we will be pleased to answer any queries you may have.

Matters of environmental concern can be raised with us through a variety of methods – including by phone, email, and submissions through our website. To assist us in assessing your concerns, we will ask you to complete a simple form which provides us with details and facts about the issue you are concerned about. No one should be disadvantaged because of this requirement and we will provide advice and support to those who want help setting out their concerns to us.

Be trusted, transparent, and independent

We aim to be recognised as an independent, fair and strong champion for environmental protection. In carrying out our duties, we will be open and transparent, keep you informed about our progress and provide you with opportunities to input and influence our work. We will be impartial, evidence driven, and consider all the information provided to us. We will assign a skilled and capable officer to your case, and will engage external experts when we require advice for complex or technical issues. We will explain our processes, and make you aware of any restrictions which apply to our work. We will publish our investigation and analytical reports so that everyone can understand the reasons for our findings and conclusions.

Protecting the confidentiality of Personal Data is a critical responsibility that we take very seriously. More details can be found on our website at: Privacy Notice – Environmental Standards Scotland

Improve our performance against standards over time

We will monitor our performance and improve our services by listening to you and learning from your interaction with us. Your feedback is valuable to us and we encourage you to provide us with comments on your experience, so that we can understand better what we are doing well and the areas we can improve. You can submit comments to us by email, phone call, or a submission through our website.

While we are dedicated to delivering high-quality services, we may not get it right for everybody all of the time. If this happens, you have the right to complain and bring your concerns to our attention. We will handle your complaint in accordance with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman complaint handing principles. If you wish to make a complaint about our service, our formal complaints procedures can be found on our website at: Complaints Policy – Environmental Standards Scotland

These service standards were last updated on 29 June 2022.

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