The Adjudicator’s Office was established in 1993 and currently deals with complaints about HM Revenue & Customs and the Valuation Office Agency. The site includes case studies, annual reports, and information and guidance on the complaint procedure.
This regulatory body came into being in 2013 and exercises the functions of three former bodies: the Commission for Ethical Standards, the Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland and the Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland. The Commissioner investigates complaints about the conduct of MSPs, local authority councillors and members of public bodies and also regulates how people are appointed to the boards of public bodies in Scotland. The Decisions available on the website extend back to 2003. The “Links” section gives access to the Code of Conduct for MSPs, the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies. The current Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland is available on the site itself, along with previous editions of various codes.
The European Ombudsman investigates complaints of maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union. The site includes general information, annual and special reports, the text of the European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, all decisions 30 June 1998 onwards, and selected earlier decisions.
The Financial Ombudsman Service, created by the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000, settles disputes between businesses providing financial services and their customers. Its site includes details of the complaint process, annual reviews 1999/2000 onwards, a link to the FSMA 2000, and a link to the dispute resolution section of the Financial Conduct Authority Handbook (on the FCA site), under which it operates. There is a regular online newsletter Ombudsman News.
The Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner was created to investigate complaints against the Financial Services Authority (FSA) under a scheme which came into operation on 3 September 2001. Since 1 April 2013 it has dealt with complaints about the FSA’s successors, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and (in certain specific respects) the Bank of England. Information on the site includes all annual reports to date, final reports on the Commissioner’s investigations, and links to any responses to those reports by the FSA or FCA.
The Groceries Code Adjudicator is an independent statutory office, established in 2013, which ensures that large supermarkets treat their direct suppliers lawfully and fairly, investigates complaints and arbitrates in disputes. Content here on the GOV.UK site includes announcements, consultations, the text of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, code clarification case studies, annual reports and other publications.
The Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS), formerly known as the Independent Housing Ombudsman, deals with complaints against landlords and agents, and other housing disputes. All social landlords (housing associations) registered in England are members of the scheme, together with certain private landlords and management agents. Site content includes factsheets, case studies, forms, and a directory of all HOS registered landlords.
The Independent Case Examiner was established in 1997 and investigates complaints about certain government organisations that deal with benefits and financial support, including the Child Support Agency, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, Jobcentre Plus, the Disability and Carers Service, the Financial Assistance Scheme, Debt Management, and Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division (Northern Ireland). This section of the GOV.UK web site provides information on the Independent Case Examiner’s responsibilities, activities and publications. Archived annual reports are available back to 2000/2001.
The Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted (ICASO) provides a review service for complainants who remain dissatisfied after exhausting the internal complaints procedures of Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills). The web site includes information about the process and how to apply, and annual reports 2011 onwards.
The Independent Complaints Reviewer (ICR) investigates customers’ complaints about HM Land Registry and the Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency. The site has general information including FAQs and details of the complaint procedure, and recent annual reports for each of the individual bodies.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system and investigates the most serious incidents and complaints involving the police. It replaced the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on 8 January 2018. Investigations into the most serious and sensitive matters (e.g. those involving deaths in custody) which are conducted by the IOPC itself are termed “independent investigations”. The IOPC’s web site includes details of complaint and appeal procedures, statutory guidance, investigation summaries and reports, and links to relevant legislation.
The Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman (JACO) investigates complaints about the judicial appointments process and the handling of matters involving judicial discipline or conduct. This section of the GOV.UK site has information on how to make a complaint and recent annual reports.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) handles complaints about the personal conduct of all judicial office holders in England and Wales and some judicial office holders who sit in tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It took over the responsibilities of the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) on 1 October 2013, operating under a new set of procedures, rules and guidance. The 2014 Judicial Discipline Regulations and associated rules are available as pdf documents, and leaflets, annual reports and other publications are also reproduced on the site.
The Lay Observer oversees the complaint-handling function of the Law Society of Northern Ireland. The site includes information on the Lay Observer’s role, details of the complaints procedure, and recent annual reports.
The Legal Ombudsman scheme for handling complaints about providers of legal services in England and Wales came into operation on 6 October 2010. Site content includes the scheme rules, FAQs, news, consultations, guidance, annual reports, and topically arranged case summaries.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is the final stage for complaints about councils, all adult social care providers (including care homes and home care agencies) and some other organisations providing local public services in England. The site includes guidance, a searchable database of decisions which includes all investigation reports published since 1 April 2005, a number of special reports on the handling of complaints in particular subject areas, recent annual reports, and other publications.
The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman was established on 25 September 2006 under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 to investigate allegations by applicants for judicial appointments of maladministration or unfairness on the part of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission, the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service or the Lord Chancellor. The site provides details of the complaints procedure and annual reports.
The Northern Ireland Ombudsman site provides information on what are at present three separate roles: the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (which replaced on 1 April 2016 the former Assembly Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints), the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman and the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards. Each section of the site has relevant information and guidance, details of complaint procedures and annual reports.
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) has operated an independent complaints scheme for students in higher education in England and Wales since 2004, when it replaced the previous visitatorial system for higher education institutions. The site has the Rules of the scheme, forms, guidance both for students and for higher education institutions, recent decisions and annual reports.
Membership of the Ombudsman Association is open to ombudsmen and other complaint-handling bodies within the UK, the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, and Ireland. The web site has a complete list of its 60+ members, with brief descriptions, contact details and links. Publications on the site include the most recent annual report and an occasional newsletter The Ombudsman.
Ombudsman Services Limited provides a free and impartial resolution service for disputes between consumers and companies that are signed up to its scheme. It is approved by Ofgem to handle disputes involving energy suppliers, and by Ofcom in relation to communications providers. Other sectors in which it operates include copyright and home improvement. The site has information on the complaint procedure and on the providers (more than 450 in energy and more than 1450 in communications) which belong to the scheme.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Health Service Ombudsman (two separate posts, held by the same individual) investigate complaints about government departments and agencies and certain other public bodies in the UK, and the National Health Service in England. The site contains information on the complaint procedure, links to relevant legislation, and documents, including reports and press releases.
The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) investigates complaints about the administration of occupational and personal pensions, including complaints about the actions and decisions of the Pension Protection Fund and about some decisions made by the Financial Assistance Scheme. The site has information, guidance, forms, annual reports and other publications. Determinations are available from 1995 onwards.
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) is an independent public body which undertakes investigations into the most serious incidents involving the police and scrutinises the way police bodies operating in Scotland respond to complaints from the public. First established in 2007 as the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS), it was renamed on 1 April 2013 upon the creation of the single Police Service of Scotland. Site content includes forms and leaflets, FAQs, details of the complaint review process, and downloadable texts of reviews 2007 onwards.
The Ombudsman’s office provides an independent police complaints system under the Police (Northern Ireland) Acts 1998 and 2000. There are links to those Acts and to other relevant legislation. Publications include press releases, research reports and investigation reports. There is brief information, and where relevant the full text of judgments, on decisions of the Ombudsman which have been subjected to judicial review.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) for England and Wales investigates complaints from prisoners, those on probation, and those held in immigration removal centres. Established in 1994, the PPO has also been responsible since April 2004 for investigating all deaths of prisoners and residents of probation hostels and immigration detention accommodation. Downloadable publications include fatal incident reports, special investigation reports, recent annual reports, and a newsletter On the Case.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) (known before 1 May 2009 as the Ombudsman for Estate Agents) provides an independent service for dealing with disputes between member estate agencies and customers who are buying and selling residential property in the UK. The site has TPO’s codes of practice for residential estate agents and for letting agents, summaries of recent cases, recent annual reports, and information and guidance on the complaint procedure.
The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales investigates complaints about public services in Wales, including local government, National Health Service organisations, the National Assembly for Wales, and many public bodies. The web site has information and guidance on the Ombudsman’s role and the complaint procedure, annual reports, investigation reports, and an occasional Ombudsman’s Casebook containing summaries of recent cases.
The Removals Ombudsman provides the removals industry with an independent service to resolve disputes between member companies of the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme and their clients, if the normal complaints procedure has not produced a satisfactory conclusion. The site has information, contact details, a downloadable complaint form, and recent annual reports.
The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) was established on 1 October 2008, under the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007, to investigate complaints by members of the public about services provided by legal practitioners in Scotland. The site has information on the complaints process, the SLCC Rules, complaint forms, annual reports, news, and details of any current consultations.
Before 1 October 2008, when the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) was established, complaints about the way the Law Society of Scotland or the Faculty of Advocates had handled a complaint against a legal practitioner were dealt with by the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman (SLSO). Annual reports 2000-2001 to 2007-2008 are amongst material still accessible on the SLSO site: since the abolition of the SLSO most other content has been removed.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO), established under the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002, is the final stage for complaints made by members of the public against most public authorities in Scotland. Since 1 October 2010 this includes unresolved complaints about prisons, which prior to that date had been the responsibility of the former Scottish Prisons Complaints Commission (SPCC). There is advice for people wishing to complain, and for authorities complained against. “Our Findings” contains Investigation Reports – full reports on matters of public interest, laid before the Scottish Parliament – Decision Reports and the Ombudsman’s monthly newsletter.
The post of Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces replaced that of Service Complaints Commissioner on 1 January 2016. The site has information on the role of the Ombudsman, details of the complaint procedure, forms, guidance, and annual reports, including those of the Service Complaints Commissioner.
The Standards Commission for Scotland was established pursuant to the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 to assure compliance with the Code of Conduct for Councillors and the Code of Conduct for Devolved Public Bodies. (Complaints of alleged breaches of a code are investigated in the first instance by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.) The “Codes of Conduct” section of the web site contains links to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies. Rules for the conduct of hearings are published on the web site, as are full-text decisions, February 2012 onwards and annual reports, 2010/11 onwards.
Standards for England was the operating name for the Standards Board for England, a non-departmental public body which was responsible until 31 January 2012 for promoting ethical standards amongst elected and co-opted members of local authorities. The Board was formally wound up on 31 March 2012 but its archived web site remains accessible here on the National Archives site.
The Waterways Ombudsman considers complaints and disputes about the Canal & River Trust (from 2 July 2012) and its predecessor British Waterways (until 1 July 2012). The site has general information and contact details, the current Rules of the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme, and the Ombudsman’s annual report 2005-06 onwards, in which summaries of decisions are published.