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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