How to make a complaint about NIPSO

At all times we aim to treat you with respect and courtesy, but there may be times when you are unhappy with the standard of our service.

When can I use this procedure?

You can use our Service Standards complaints procedure if you think we have:

  • treated you unfairly,
  • failed to explain things clearly or have not followed our own procedures, or;
  • caused unreasonable delays with your case.

For the purposes of the Service Standards complaints procedure, a complaint is defined as a written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction with the handling of a case by the Ombudsman’s Office.

What can’t I complain about using this procedure?

If you are unhappy about our decision not to investigate your original complaint, or about the outcome of our investigation into your original complaint, this procedure would not be appropriate. In these cases you should contact us to find out what you are required to do in these circumstances.

Who can complain using this procedure?

  • Members of the public, or their personal representatives, who have asked the Ombudsman to investigate a complaint
  • Members of the Legislative Assembly who have complained on behalf of a member of the public
  • Officers of an organisation within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction who have been involved in the investigation of a complaint undertaken by the Ombudsman
  • Any member of the public who has complaint about the Ombudsman’s service.

Is there a time limit for complaining?

We will do all we can to look into your complaint.  However, it can be difficult to look into matters which happened some time ago.  In general, the Ombudsman expects you to make any complaint about the service you have received reasonably soon after the issue you wish to complain about has occurred, and not later than 3 months of your case being decided.

Who do I complain to?

Stage one

You should raise any complaints about how a case has been handled with the Director of Investigations responsible for the case unless it is not appropriate for them to do so, in which case another Director will deal with your complaint.  You can raise your complaint by phone or in writing.  The Director of Investigations will seek to resolve any issue as speedily as possible and will discuss with you what you are unhappy about and what can be done in order to remedy the situation.

Stage two

If the Director of Investigations is unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction you may wish to escalate your complaint to the Deputy Ombudsman. A complaint to the Deputy Ombudsman must be made in writing.

  1. Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 working days
  2. The Deputy Ombudsman will investigate your complaint, or nominate another senior officer to do so, and where possible will issue a response to you within 25 working days of receiving your complaint
  3. If the Deputy Ombudsman or nominee needs more time to investigate your complaint, you will be informed of this and of when you can expect to receive a response.

The decision of the Deputy Ombudsman or nominee in respect of any complaint made under the Service Standards Complaints procedure is final.