Local Government Ombudsman

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Submitting your complaint

First steps

If you are not satisfied with the final answer from the council or care provider after you have complained to it, or if the body does not give you an answer within a reasonable time, you can complain to the Ombudsman. We think up to 12 weeks is usually a fair time for the body to investigate and reply to your complaint.

If you have sent your complaint to us, but we think that you should have complained to the body first, we will write to you explaining that you need to put your complaint to the body first, using its complaints procedure.

What to do next

You should normally make your complaint to us within 12 months of realising that the council or care provider has done something wrong. If it is longer, then tell us why you could not complain sooner.

To submit a complaint, you can:

  • Telephone our helpline on 0300 061 0614 and make your complaint over the telephone (Calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01or 02) from both mobiles and landlines, and will be included as part of any inclusive call minutes or discount schemes in the same way as geographic calls. Please note that calls may be recorded for training and quality purposes.)
  • Use the online form

If you are an adviser or solicitor, and are acting on someone else's behalf, please see our  Guide for Advisers.

It is usually best to call our helpline before you make a complaint to us. Our adviser will be able to give you advice about:

  • whether your complaint is one the law allows us to investigate
  • whether there are any steps you need to take before we can look at your complaint - such as complaining to council or care provider - and where you might get help to do this
  • whether we will be able to achieve the result you want, if we find the council or care provider has been at fault
  • information it would help us to have from you - in the first instance, we only want the final letter you received from the council or care provider after it had considered your complaint 
  • what special help we can provide, if you need it to make your complaint to us
  • our process and how long it may take.

Our adviser will also be able to answer any other questions you have about our service.

Date Updated: 08/12/14