Complaining to an external person or organisation

If you think your human rights have been breached and you have been unable to resolve the problem with the person or organisation involved, you may wish to consider complaining to an external person or organisation.

You can make a complaint to your local councillor or your MP. Depending on the nature of your problem, there may be a person or organisation dedicated to providing help with particular issues, such as the children’s commissioners:

You may also be able to refer your complaint to the relevant inspectorate or commission for potential investigation.  See the list of organisations below.

Depending on the type of problem you have, you may consider taking your story to the local, regional or national media – or engaging in some other form of campaigning. Make sure you think very carefully before you do this as sometimes it can do more harm than good.

Relevant complaints organisations

The list of complaints organisations below will give you more information about which organisation may be appropriate for your particular situation. None of them will charge you to investigate your case, but they do not have to investigate all complaints. They will only do so if they believe that you have a valid complaint.

Local government ombudsmen

There are separate local government ombudsmen for England, Wales and Scotland.

The local government ombudsmen can investigate complaints against local authorities and certain other organisations. They investigate complaints about most council matters, including social services and education. You must give the council or authority concerned an opportunity to deal with the complaint against it first.

You can find out how to make a complaint by looking at their websites, or you can call their advice lines.

Local Government Ombudsman in England
Telephone: 0845 602 1983

Local Government Ombudsman in Wales
Telephone: 01656 641 150

Local Government Ombudsman in Scotland
Telephone: 0800 377 7330

The Scottish ombudsman also provides details of other complaints bodies.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission is the health and social care regulator for England. .There job is to make sure that care provided by hospitals, dentists, ambulances, care homes and services in people's own homes and elsewhere meet government standards of quality and safety

Telephone: 03000 616161

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

The parliamentary and health service ombudsman investigates complaints that government departments, their agencies and some other public authorities in the UK (and the NHS in England) have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service. You can find detailed information about how to make a complaint on the website.

Post: Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
Complaints helpline: 0345 015 4033

Independent Police Complaints Commission (England and Wales)

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) accepts complaints from people who have been the victims of misconduct by a person serving with the police.

Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland

The Commissioner reviews how complaints against police forces, police authorities or policing agencies has have been handled.
Telephone: 0808 178 5577

Information Commissioner’s Office

The ICO promotes access to official information and protects personal information by promoting good practice, ruling on eligible complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations, and taking appropriate action when the law is broken.
Telephone: 08456 30 60 60

See also for more organisations.

Last Updated: 07 Jun 2009