Note On Ombudsman

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Note On Ombudsman

An ombudsman is a person who has been appointed to look into complaints about an organisation. Using an ombudsman is a way of trying to resolve a complaint without going to court.

There are a number of ombudsmen:

  • The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who investigates complaints about government departments and certain other public bodies. They can also look into complaints about NHS hospitals or community health services
  • The Local Government Ombudsman who investigates complaints about local councils and some other local organisations
  • the Legal Ombudsman
  • the Financial Ombudsman
  • the European Ombudsman
  • the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman

Ombudsmen are independent, free of charge and impartial – that is, they don’t take sides with either the person who is complaining or the organisation being complained about.

In most cases, you must complain to the organisation first, before you make a complaint to the ombudsman.

If you need to spend money making a complaint to an ombudsman. You should check with the ombudsman first before you spend any money that you want to claim back.

If an ombudsman finds that your complaint is justified, they will recommend what the organisation should do to put things right. An ombudsman can’t force an organisation to go along with their recommendations, but organisations almost always do.

Investigations by an ombudsman sometimes take a long time.

What type of complaint can the ombudsman investigate?

The ombudsman’s job is to investigate cases of maladministration. This means the way in which an organisation has dealt with a situation or reached a decision. Examples of maladministration include:

  • an organisation not following its own policies or procedures
  • rudeness
  • delay in taking action or failing to take action
  • treating someone unfairly compared to others
  • giving wrong or misleading information.

The ombudsman will only look into a case where an individual (or in some cases group of individuals) has suffered personal injustice, hardship or financial loss because of the action or lack of action of a particular organisation.

In most cases, an ombudsman cannot look into a decision made by an organisation, just because you disagree with it.

You should complain to the ombudsman only if you have given the relevant organisation an opportunity to comment on the complaint and resolve any problems.

The ombudsman will not investigate a case if it is about to go to court or if court action has been started. In some cases, the ombudsman will not look into cases which could be dealt with by a court or tribunal.

How to complain to the ombudsman

The procedure for starting the investigation by the ombudsman depends on which ombudsman the complaint is being made to. Most of the offices of the ombudsmen provide an application form for making a complaint However, you do not need to use an application form. You can contact them with the following information:

  • the name and address of the person making the complaint
  • the name and address of the organisation the complaint is being made about
  • details of what the complaint is about, that is, what did the organisation do wrong or fail to do
  • what personal injustice, financial loss or hardship was suffered
  • what the organisation should do to put the situation right
  • details of how the complaint has been followed up before you contacted the ombudsman
  • the date when you first identified the event you are complaining about.

Note On Ombudsman

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Note On Ombudsman

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