About ombudsmen

Ombudsmen exist to deal with complaints from ordinary citizens and consumers about most public bodies and some services in the private sector.

The services provided by ombudsmen are free of charge.

For the general public we provide information about the role of the ombudsman and where ombudsmen work and the areas they cover.

We provide more detailed information that might be of interest to professional working in the field of complaint handling, or to those involved in the establishment of new ombudsman schemes.

Here you will find the principle features of an ombudsman scheme and how they differ in the public and private sectors.

We also show the traditional methods of establishing schemes (voluntarily, by statute, and resulting from statute).

Also described in some detail are typical processes for complaint handling by businesses or bodies under the jurisdiction of ombudsmen, and by the ombudsman schemes themselves.

Finally, there is information about the accountability of ombudsmen in the public interest, and the basis of ombudsmen's decisions.

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Consumer complaints

Please note: there are currently no ombudsman schemes for many areas of consumer goods and services.

For advice and information about consumer goods and services, you should contact:

In the UK:
Citizens Advice Consumer Service Tel. 0345 404 0506

In Ireland:
Citizens Information Board
Tel. 0761 07 4000

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