What the Ombudsman can achieve for complainants

When the Ombudsman upholds a complaint of injustice or hardship arising as a consequence of maladministration or service failure, she will normally make recommendations in her final report as to what the body complained about should do in order to provide an appropriate remedy. The Ombudsman’s recommendations aim to remedy the injustice or hardship suffered, where possible returning the complainant to the position they would have been in if things had not gone wrong.

Additionally the Ombudsman may also make recommendations to put matters right for other people similarly affected and/or to ensure that the same mistakes do not happen again. Her recommendations may include some or all of the following:

  • An apology, explanation and/or acknowledgement of responsibility.
  • Remedial action, such as reviewing or changing a decision on the service given to the complainant, revising published material, revising procedures or policy to prevent the same thing happening again, or training or supervising staff.
  • Financial redress for direct or indirect financial loss, loss of opportunity, inconvenience or distress. This may include a wider compensation scheme if more than one individual is affected by the maladministration or poor service.

The Ombudsman does not have the power to enforce her recommendations. However, bodies accepted her recommendations in 100 per cent of cases in 2009/10.