Local Government Ombudsman

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Independent and impartial

Making a complaint

If you have a complaint, the first thing to do is complain to the council or care provider. You can find out how to complain from the council or care provider, or you can ask a councillor to help, if your complaint is against a council. In most cases, the body complained about must have a chance to sort out the complaint before we can consider it. Councils and care providers often have more than one stage in their complaints procedure. You will usually need to complete all stages before we will look at your complaint. See our 'top tips' for making a complaint.

Throughout this section we sometimes use the term ‘body’ to refer to the council, other authority, or care provider you are complaining about. (See the adult social care section for further details about complaints about adult social care.) 

If you need any help – call our helpline on 0300 061 0614It is open from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. (Calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01 or 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.) 

We have a poster for councils and advice agencies to use. It can be downloaded and printed in A4 or A3 size - by adjusting your print settings.

Publishing our decision statements

We are publishing our decision statements on the complaints we receive after 1 April 2013. The information published will not name the complainant or any individual involved with the complaint. They will be published no earlier than three months after the date of the final decision.

We retain discretion not to publish a decision, for example where it would not be in the interests of the person complaining.

Help to use our services

We can help you if you have difficulty using our service, for example if you have a disability or if English is not your first language.

We have BrowseAloud. This reads our website aloud so it can help you if you're blind or partially sighted. BrowseAloud can also translate our web pages and documents into 75 languages (for 33 of these languages it can also read aloud). You don't need to download any software to use BrowseAloud: just click on the icon on the top of every page.

If you need an interpreter, we can arrange this over the telephone. We can also produce letters and reports in large print, in Braille or as a voice recording. And you can contact us using a textphone via the Text Relay service (formerly Typetalk).

For more information about how we can help (including instructions on how to use BrowseAloud) download the information sheet in the box on the right hand side of this page, or phone our helpline on 0300 061 0614. (We may record our calls for training and quality purposes.)

Our leaflet, ‘Complained to the council? Still not satisfied?’ is available as a download  - we also have a version in EasyRead - see the box on the right hand side of this page. The standard version of the leaflet is also available in large print format, in Braille and on CD-Rom.