Customer Complaints and Feedback

Our complaints handling procedure cannot consider any questions or concerns you might have about SQA's 2020 awarding model.

For help please read our FAQs. If you would like to speak to someone, please contact us.

You can complain online or by writing to:

The Optima Building
58 Robertson Street
G2 8DQ

Centre complaints

Candidate complaints

Getting help

There are people who can help you make a complaint. You could ask a friend, a relative, a councillor, your MSP or an advocate. You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance or by calling the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Complaining on a candidate's behalf

We know that not everybody is comfortable or confident about making a complaint relating to them and that some people prefer to have someone do it for them. If you are contacting SQA on behalf of someone else we need to know that you have their permission to do so. Confirmation in writing is required unless they are unable to do so because of disability or health condition.

If you are contacting SQA on behalf of someone who is able to provide written consent please complete the following form:

Candidate authorisation form (109 KB)

If you are contacting SQA on behalf of someone else who is unable to provide written consent due to a learning or physical disability or a health condition, please complete the following form:

Authorisation to act on someone's behalf (73 KB)

Send completed consent forms to or post to:

SQA Complaints
The Optima Building
58 Robertson Street
G2 8DQ

Once we've received the form we can process the complaint.


We'll respond within:

You'll be kept informed at every stage or if our investigation will take longer than 20 working days.

Timescales for complaints about services we offer for other organisations

We offer examination and registration services on behalf of other organisations. Most contracts follow our complaints process and timescales. But the following contracts require us to respond to you within 10 working days of receiving your complaint:

Complaints handling procedure

Guidance on the types of complaints we can deal with and how we will deal with them:

Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect at work. Our staff have the right to do their job without abuse or intimidation. We do not tolerate written or verbal harassment. Our staff have the right to end and report calls from abusive callers and to report abuse in email or social media.

What you can complain about and who to complain to

Your centre

Your centre is your school/college/employer/training provider or some other organisation.

You should always complain to your centre first. Your centre is responsible for the delivery of your qualification and for some types of assessment (eg internal assessment, or assessment in the centre). It's responsible for other aspects of your experience as a candidate, such as the support you receive, the environment it provides, and possibly funding.

SQA (your awarding body)

SQA is Scotland's national body for qualifications (other than university degrees and some professional qualifications).

We are responsible for ensuring that qualifications are delivered to the correct standard in centres. You can complain to us if you feel that a centre has done something wrong and you haven't been able to resolve this through the centre's own complaints procedure.

Our remit covers assessment, for example if you feel:

  • that a test has been applied inconsistently
  • you have been disadvantaged by an aspect of an assessment
  • that your assessor has judged your evidence wrongly
  • that resources available meant you weren't able to demonstrate your competence to the required standard

In each case, you should complain to your centre first. You can then complain to us if the centre has not resolved the issue.

We will not deal with complaints about the wider experience of being a student (eg student support services, funding, student facilities). Any complaints about these issues that have not been resolved through the centre's complaints procedures should go directly to SPSO.

Handling anonymous complaints

We will take action to consider anonymous complaints whenever it is appropriate to do so. If we don't have enough information, we may not be able to look at it. Where there is enough information and it contains serious allegations, the complaint will be investigated and recorded in our complaints handling system.

If you ask us not to disclose your identity, we will not do so without your consent. However, it may be more difficult for us to look into the matter. Raising an anonymous complaint cannot always provide the same assurances that a full, open statement of your concerns brings.

Appeal before complaining about a grade

If you disagree with a grade you have received, we have an appeals procedure for some qualifications. Your centre will have details of how to submit an appeal on your behalf. This procedure must be exhausted before we will consider a complaint about grades.

Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO)

Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about public services in Scotland. It takes complaints about most public bodies, including councils, colleges, universities, Scottish Government and its agencies and departments, including SQA. You should complete your centre's complaints procedure before contacting SPSO.

SPSO can:

  • look at whether there are reasonable procedures in place
  • decide whether procedures have been followed correctly
  • look at issues about learning environment
  • decide if correct support has been provided

SPSO cannot:

  • change your grade or final award changed
  • assess or challenge the merits of academic decisions
  • consider an appeal against an institution's decision
  • assess the quality of teaching or assessment

If SPSO finds that an organisation has done something wrong, it will recommend that the organisation puts things right for you. It can ask the organisation to apologise to you, take action to sort out a problem or change how it does things. SPSO also publishes reports to share the learning from your complaint.

If you are unsure, please contact SPSO — it will give you advice on your own individual circumstances.

Further information is available at

Qualifications accredited by SQA Accreditation or regulated by Ofqual or Qualifications Wales

SQA has two parts: SQA Accreditation and SQA Awarding Body.

SQA Accreditation operates separately and quality assures certain qualifications offered in Scotland. It does this by approving awarding bodies and accrediting their qualifications.

If you're doing an SVQ, or another SQA qualification that is accredited, you may have a right to complain to SQA Accreditation or Ofqual once you have exhausted your centre's complaints procedure and/or your awarding body's procedure. You should have been informed of this when you had your induction at your centre.

If you're taking a qualification through a centre outside Scotland, you should first raise your complaint with them. You may be able to take your complaint to SQA awarding body and/or the appropriate qualifications regulator (Ofqual or Qualifications Wales).

If you're doing a qualification (such as an SVQ, or certain qualifications that are regulated) through another awarding body you may have a right to complain to SQA Accreditation once your awarding body's complaints procedure has been exhausted. Your awarding body's complaints procedure will make this clear.

If you're doing a qualification with a centre outside Scotland, you should first raise your complaint with your centre, then SQA awarding body before complaining to the appropriate qualifications regulator.