Some of the things you need to know about which organisations we can and can't look into and when to complain

Organisations we can investigate

We can investigate complaints about the NHS in England and UK government departments and public organisations.

List of UK government organisations we can investigate.

Organisations we can't investigate

There are some organisations that we can't look at, usually because somebody else is in charge of investigating complaints about them. This includes Members of Parliament, and political parties, local councils, social care and housing. We also can't investigate complaints about private healthcare - unless it was funded by the NHS.

When you bring a complaint to us, we will always do our best to help, but if we can't look at your complaint then we will point you in the direction of an organisation that can.

More about organisations we can't help with and who may be able to help.

Time limits

We usually ask that people bring their complaints to us no more than a year after they became aware of the problem.

By law, complaints about a UK government department or public organisation must be sent to us by an MP; we can’t look at them until this has happened. We ask that the MP makes the complaint within one year of knowing that something went wrong with the service the complainant received.

In some cases, we will be able to investigate a complaint more than year after knowing something went wrong, for example, if you were too ill to complain to us within a year or if you were bereaved. If you are not sure about this, ring us on 0345 015 4033, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm.


Which organisations can we investigate?

There are a number of Government departments and other public bodies which the Ombudsman can investigate.

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