IMPORTANT:  SCOAF staff are working remotely due to Government guidance regarding coronavirus. You can still access our service by leaving a message on our phone, or by submitting your application to our contact mailbox: contact@scoaf.org.uk. If possible, do not send applications or documents to us by post as we do not currently have access to the office.

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SCOAF – new acronym, same organisation

SCOAF logo


From this week, you will notice that we have changed the way we refer to our office. We now use the acronym SCOAF. This is short for Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces, which is the Ombudsman’s full position title. It is also the proper name for her office as a whole.

In the past, we used to drop ‘for the Armed Forces’ from the title for everyday use. This meant that the Ombudsman was referred to as the Service Complaints Ombudsman (or with the acronym SCO) and her office as the Office of the Service Complaints Ombudsman (OSCO).

However, people were often confused about:

  • when to use SCO and when to use OSCO and the actual difference between them – especially as everything the office does is under the Ombudsman’s authority
  • the role of the Ombudsman – without mentioning the Armed Forces, a lot of people thought we dealt with complaints about goods and services.

We also had web and email addresses that used the full term ‘Service Complaints Ombudsman’. This not only made them really long but also difficult for people to get right.

When the government announced the gsi network, which we were on, was being retired, it was the perfect opportunity to take action to address some of these issues. The best course of action was to just have one name and one acronym.

At the end of last year, we changed our web and email addresses to scoaf.org.uk which was in line with our Twitter handle. Now, we have introduced the use of that acronym across our office and in all of our new publications. You might still see the old acronyms here and there for the next couple of months – especially in older documents that are pending update or investigation reports that were being finalised when the change came in. But don’t worry, this won’t have an impact on the quality or legitimacy of those documents.

So, we are still the same organisation with the same role and functions – just with less confusing acronyms and shorter web and email addresses.