Office of the Ombudsman

What is the Office of the Ombudsman?

The Office of the Ombudsman examines complaints from members of the public who believe they have been treated unfairly by a public body.

It also examines complaints about public service organisations that fail to provide accessible buildings, services and information, as required in the Disability Act 2005.

The Office of the Ombudsman is independent and complaints must be examined in a fair and transparent way. It is free to use its services.

The current Ombudsman is Ger Deering. He was appointed by the President in January 2022.

What can you complain to the Ombudsman about?

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman if you are unhappy with the service provided by:

A full list is available on the Ombudsman website.

You cannot make a complaint to the Ombudsman about:

You can read a full list of exempt agencies.

You must make a complaint to the relevant service provider first. The Office of the Ombudsman has information about how to complain to a service provider.

What type of complaints can the Ombudsman investigate?

The Ombudsman can investigate a complaint if you believe that a public service body has given you the wrong information or your complaint has not been dealt with properly.

They can also investigate a decision that you think is unfair, or that the reason for the decision has not been properly explained to you. You can also complain about delays in a public body making a decision.

There are certain complaints that the Ombudsman cannot examine, including complaints about:

  • Clinical judgements of doctors or other medical professionals
  • Job applications
  • Decisions relating to immigration or naturalisation
  • How prisons are run

You can read the list in full on the Ombudsman website.

The Office of the Ombudsman cannot examine a complaint if you have already started legal proceedings against a public body for the same complaint.

How are complaints to the Ombudsman investigated?

The Ombudsman first decides if they can handle your complaint. If they can, they begin a preliminary investigation and ask the public service body to provide relevant information. You may also be informally interviewed at this stage.

Once the information has been gathered, the Ombudsman decides whether a formal investigation is required.

In a formal investigation, the Ombudsman drafts a statement of complaint in consultation with you. The investigation is carried out in private and usually in writing. The Ombudsman may demand any information, files or documents to help them carry out the investigation. At the end of the investigation process, the Ombudsman must inform you of their decision

Depending on the outcome, they may ask the provider to change its decision or offer an explanation, compensation or both. The Ombudsman can only make recommendations. Their decisions are not legally binding.

How to make a complaint

You must make a complaint to the relevant service provider first. The Office of the Ombudsman has information about how to complain to a service provider.

If your complaint meets the criteria outlined above, you can start the process by filling out an online form. If you can't use the online form, you can:

Complaints must be received within 12 months of the decision or action that you want to complain about took place. The Ombudsman may investigate a complaint beyond this time limit, if there is a good reason for the delay.

Further information and contacts

Office of the Ombudsman

6 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
D02 W773

Tel: (01) 639 5600
Page edited: 29 April 2024