Can I complain?

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Complaint checker intro

Is your complaint about a public service provider in Northern Ireland?

This can include organisations such as:

  • a Housing Association or the Housing Executive,
  • Health & Social Care Provider like a Trust, a hospital, a GP or a Dentist,
  • a school, college or university
  • a local council or
  • Central Government department or agency.
Check our list for organisations we can investigate.If your complaint is about an individual school, dentist or doctor's surgery then they won't appear on the list but you can still make a complaint about your treatment.
Do you work for the organisation and want to complain about an employment matter?
This can include any issue that involves your employer
As an employee we are unlikely to be able to help you We do not have the powers to investigate employment matters. Please refer your complaint to the Labour Relations Agency. Labour Relations Agency James House 2-4 Cromac Avenue, the Gasworks Belfast BT7 2JA Tel: 3300 552 220 Email: Website:
Have you complained to the organisation?
This usually means that you have followed their complaints process.
You should complain to the body first and give them a reasonable chance to put things right. If you are not happy with their final decision you can bring the complaint to us to consider. We have guidance to help you make your complaint. Get help with your complaint
Have you received a final response from the body or completed their complaints process?

We can normally only look at your complaint if you have received a letter explaining their decision.


Is your complaint about?
Even if your complaint isn't about a public sector organisation we may still be able to help you.
You can make a complaint to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards. If you believe that a councillor has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct you can complain to this office. You must make your complaint to us in writing. You do not need to have complained first to the councillor or to his/her council. Not all complaints that are made to us will be investigated. We require a certain amount of information in order to decide whether to investigate your complaint. To ensure that we have all relevant information, you should submit your complaint using our complaint form. Complain to the Commissioner Is this different to complaining to the Ombudsman? The Ombudsman also has the role of Local Government Commissioner but she will not investigate the complaint. Complaints are investigated by the Deputy Commissioner and a small team of experienced investigators. The Commissioner alone decides, usually following a public hearing, whether there has been a failure to comply with the Code and what sanction, if any, she should impose. What can the Commissioner do? The Commissioner can impose one of the following sanctions:
  • that the councillor should be censured, which means that he or she will be formally reprimanded
  • that the councillor should be suspended, or partially suspended, from being a councillor for a period of up to one year, or
  • that the councillor should be disqualified from being or becoming a councillor for a period up to a maximum of five years.
You can make a complaint to the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman.The Ombudsman will consider individual complaints from applicants for judicial appointment where there are allegations of maladministration by the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (the Commission), Committees of the Commission, or by the Lord Chancellor in respect of his role in making recommendations for appointment.What can the Commissioner do?The Office is completely independent of the Government and the judiciary.The NIJAO may make recommendations to the Lord Chancellor and the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC) about what steps should be taken in relation to a complaint which has been upheld.The Ombudsman may also offer advice on changes to procedures that have come to her attention as a result of a complaint. She also has the power to recommend compensation be paid to successful complainants for loss suffered as a result of maladministration, but not in respect of any earnings that the complainant would have received had their application for appointment been successful.Find out more about the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman


Get help with your complaint

We won't be able to help with your complaint about these areas but there are other organisations available to help you.

Looking for advice?


Police Service of Northern Ireland

For complaints about the police in Northern Ireland

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland 
New Cathedral Buildings 
St Anne’s Square 
11 Church Street 
Belfast BT1 1PG

Tel: 0845 601 2931 or 028 9082 8600 
Fax: 028 9082 8659 

Public transport For consumer rights and advice you can contact: The Consumer Council Floor 3 Seatem House 28-32 Alfred Street Belfast BT2 8EN Tel: 028 9025 1600 Fax: 028 9065 7701 Email: Website:

Utility Providers

Utility Regulator

For complaints about electricity and gas industries and water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation (the Utility Regulator) 
Queens House 
14 Queen Street 
Belfast BT1 6ED

Tel: 028 9031 1575 
Fax: 028 9031 1740 

Communications Providers For complaints about TV and radio, fixed line telecoms, mobiles and airwaves over which wireless devices operate Ofcom Riverside House 2a Southwark Bridge Road London SE1 9HA Tel: 020 7981 3040 or 0300 123 3333 Website:

Financial Services

For complaints about a bank, building society, financial adviser, insurance company, investment firm, stockbroker or Unit Trust Company

The Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
E14 9SR

Tel: 0800 023 4567, 0300 123 9123 or 020 7964 0500
Fax: 020 7964 1001


If you're having issues with your employer or around employment conditions

Labour Relations Agency
James House
2-4 Cromac Avenue, the Gasworks

Tel: 3300 552 220


For advice about discrimination due to disability, gender, race, religious belief or political opinion

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Equality House
7-9 Shaftesbury Square

Tel: 028 9050 0600
Fax: 028 9024 8687
Textphone: 028 9050 0589

Private Landlords

We do not have the powers to investigate complaints about private landlords. Please refer your complaint to the Environmental Health team at your local council


For complaints about solicitors in Northern Ireland:

The Law Society of Northern Ireland
96 Victoria Street

Tel: 028 9023 1614
Fax: 028 9023 2606


For complaints about pensions:

The Pensions Ombudsman
11 Belgrave Road
Tel: 020 7630 2200
Fax: 020 7821 0065

The Pensions Advisory Service
11 Belgrave Road
Tel: 0845 601 2923 or 020 7630 2250
Fax: 020 7630 2250

General help and advice

Please contact Advice NI or Helplines NI for a range of helplines and support services throughout Northern Ireland.

Forestview, Purdy’s Lane
BT8 7AR 

Tel: 0800 915 4604


Mental health services

If you wish to speak to a mental health support service you can find details at Minding Your Head:

Minding Your Head

Northern Ireland Public Sector Ombudsman

For complaints about our performance visit our dedicated section.

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