Making a complaint against government or public bodies

If you think you’ve been unfairly treated by a government department, organisation or public body you can complain. It is important to contact the body first to deal with your complaint, but if you think it has not been dealt with properly you can contact the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

Government organisations and public bodies

If you have a complaint about a government organisation or public body you should always contact the organisation or body first to make your complaint. They will have a procedure in place to investigate your complaint and do everything they can to resolve it. 

If, following the organisation’s investigation, you don’t feel the complaint has been settled to your satisfaction you can contact the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

Find contacts for government and other public bodies.

Northern Ireland Ombudsman

The Northern Ireland Ombudsman deals with complaints from people who believe they have suffered injustice as a result of poor administration - or the wrong applications of rules by government departments and public bodies.

The Ombudsman can deal with complaints about:

  • a government department or agency
  • local councils
  • health services
  • education services

You can find a full list of organisations that the Ombudsman can investigate on the Ombudsman website.

Making a complaint to the Ombudsman

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman by:

All complaints made to the Ombudsman are treated in the strictest confidence.

Find out more about making a complaint to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

The European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union.

If you are a citizen of a Member State of the Union or live in a Member State, you can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman. Businesses, associations or other bodies with a registered office in the Union may also complain to the Ombudsman.

Complaints about the police

The Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland provides an independent impartial police complaints system for the people and the police of Northern Ireland.

The Prisoner Ombudsman

The Prisoner Ombudsman is appointed by the Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland and is completely independent of the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS).

The Prisoner Ombudsman investigates complaints from prisoners held in Northern Ireland who are unhappy with how their complaint has been responded to by the Prison Service.

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What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.