Ombudsman Schemes

An ombudsman is a person who has been appointed to look into complaints about companies and organisations.

Ombudsman schemes are independent, free and impartial – so they don’t take sides.

You should try and resolve your complaint with the organisation before you complain to an ombudsman.

The ombudsman might be able to deal with your complaint more quickly in some situations. Tell them if:

  • you’re in a vulnerable situation – for example if you’re sick or disabled
  • you’re taking legal action and you need the ombudsman’s decision before a court hearing

Please see the list below of Ombudman Services in England and Wales.

Consumer Ombudsman – Anyone who has a complaint about goods or services in any sector not already served by an ombudsman can use the Consumer Ombudsman.

Credit Services Association (CSA) – Professional body for some debt collection agents. You can make a complaint to this organisation if you want to complain about they way they have been chased for a debt but only if the debt agency is a member of this body.

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – Complaint handling organisation for complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services.

Furniture Ombudsman – Deals with disputes between consumers and retailers in furniture, home improvement and floor coverings industries).

Housing Ombudsman Service – Deals with disputes between landlords and tenants. 

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) – Investigates complaints about the police and police investigations in England and Wales. However before signposting to the IOPC consideration should be given to advising callers to visit their local police station who they have expressed dissatisfaction with and advising them to speak to either the duty sergeant or the duty inspector. They can make a complaint directly to either of those two people who will investigate and if necessary pass the matter to professional standards. Only once they have completed this should they go to the IOPC.

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office – The Office of Judicial Complaints was taken over by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office on 1 October 2013. 

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office cannot investigate complaints about magistrates, tribunal judges or court staff. Find out more about what they can and cannot investigate here -

A complaint to the JCIO must be made in writing. There are a number of ways to do it;

Send the complaint by post to the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office 81 – 82 Queens building, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand London, WC2A 2LL
Use the online complaint form on the website
Email your complaint to mailto:[email protected]
Send the complaint by fax to 0207 073 4725.

 Law Society of Ireland – Professional body, regulator and complaint handler for solicitors in the Republic of Ireland

Law Society of Northern Ireland – Professional body, complaint handler and regulator for solicitors in Northern Ireland.

Lay Observer for Northern Ireland – The Lay Observer receives and examines guidelines about the complaints process operated by the Law Society of Northern Ireland and about the way the Client Complaints Committee in the Law Society handles complaints about solicitors.

Legal Ombudsman – Helps consumers and legal service providers resolve complaints about the services which have been provided.

Local Government Ombudsman – Deals with complaints about local councils where the complainant has not been able to resolve the complaint with the local council involved.

Motor Ombudsman – The Motor Ombudsman is the UK’s government-backed, self-regulatory body for the motor industry. They help to find accredited garages and resolve motoring disputes. 

Ombudsman services: Communications – Investigates complaints about communications companies.

Ombudsman services: Copyright Licensing – Investigates complaints about bodies that either own or administer, on behalf of third parties, the licensing of copyright materials. These are called Collective Management Organisations

Ombudsman services: Energy – Investigates complaints about gas or electricity companies.

Ombudsman Services: Property – Regulatory body for chartered surveying firms, surveyors, estate agents, residential managing agents, letting agents and other property professionals. They are only able to deal with complaints about companies who participate in their scheme.

Ombudsman services: The Green Deal – Investigates complaints about a Green Deal provider. Also covers complaints where seller or landlord of a house fails to disclose key information about a Green Deal Plan such as an Energy Performance Certificate.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman -Organisation that considers complaints that government departments, a range of other public bodies in the UK, and the NHS in England, have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service.

Pensions Ombudsman – Investigates complaints between members of pension schemes and the scheme administrators.

Prisons & Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales – Investigates complaints from prisoners, those on probation and those in immigration removal centres. Those who have received a service from HM Prison Service, the UK Border Agency or the National Probation Service.

Property Ombudsman – Formerly the Ombudsman for estate agents. The complaints handling organisation where members of the public want to make a complaint about their estate agent.

Removals Ombudsman – Deals with disputes between consumers and removals companies). 

Retail Ombudsman – Deals with disputes between consumers, retailers and tradesmen.

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission – Complaints handling body for lawyers in Scotland.

Society of Will Writers – Self regulating organisation for will writers. Only regulates members and all members are required to carry professional indemnity insurance.

Society of Will Writers – Self regulating organisation for will writers. Only regulates members and all members are required to carry professional indemnity insurance.

Waterways Ombudsman – Investigates complaints about the Canal & River Trust and any of its subsidiaries).