Helping your constituents with complaints about a public organisation

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman was set up by Parliament in 1967 to provide an independent complaint handling service.  The Ombudsman looks into complaints where someone believes there has been injustice or hardship because a UK public organisation has not acted properly or fairly or has given a poor service and not put things right.  They do this independently and impartially.

The service is free for everyone, but complaints about UK Government departments and other UK public organisations must by law be referred to the Ombudsman by an MP.  This is known as the ‘MP filter’.  Complaints about the NHS in England can go to the Ombudsman directly.

There is a dedicated section for MPs and their caseworkers on the Ombudsman website which provides further information about how you can help your constituents complain about public services.  It also explains how the Ombudsman works with Parliament to help scrutinise public service providers and hold them to account.  The link to this page is on the MP hotline list.

How do I refer a constituent’s complaint to the Ombudsman?  The constituent should download and fill in the UK government services complaint form and an MP then needs to sign it. Either the constituent or the MP can then send it to the Ombudsman, ideally via email.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman also has a dedicated MP helpline telephone number and email address, which can be found on our hotlines list.