What we do

The Office of Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) was established in April 2016. It replaced and expanded the functions of the former offices of Assembly Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints, bringing them together into a single statutory office. Our 2015-18 strategic plan describes the transition to NIPSO in more detail, see here.

NIPSO provides a professional, independent, impartial and free service to the people of Northern Ireland. We:

(1) provide for the public an independent review of their complaints where they believe that they have sustained an injustice or hardship as a result of the action or inaction of a public service provider (we call this “maladministration”).
(2) ensure that public services improve as a result of the complaints that people bring to them and to this Office.

We consider the grounds for complaint by reference to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s “Principles of Good Administration”. These principles may be viewed here.

If we find maladministration we may make recommendations to address it. Our recommendations usually focus on providing remedy and redress for the complainant and on improving public services. We are an office of last resort and will generally only consider complaints after the public service provider has considered the issues of complaint through their formal complaints procedure.

You can expect us to:

(1) be thorough and efficient
(2) be fair and impartial
(3) consider all complaints independently and in confidence
(4) be professional and to behave with integrity
(5) communicate clearly and effectively
(6) treat people with respect and with regard to their human rights
The organisations that are within our jurisdiction are listed in Schedule 3 to the Public Services Ombudsman Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (the 2016 Act). Click here for a copy of the 2016 Act.

Information for Complainants