Here you can find out what happens when we first receive your complaint, how we decide if we should investigate it and what to expect if we do.

How we look into complaints  

step one in the complaints process

When you first contact us


step two in the complaints process

Deciding whether to investigate your complaint

What happens?

We take a closer look at your complaint to decide if we should investigate. We look at several things, including:

  • whether you have been affected personally by what happened
  • whether you complained (to us or an MP) within a year of knowing about the issue
  • whether you have (or had) the option of taking legal action instead
  • whether there are signs that the organisation potentially got things wrong that have had a negative effect on you that hasn't been put right

How long does this take?

We aim to give you our decision within 20 working days of receiving your complaint.

What can we decide?

If we decide we should investigate your complaint, we will let you know what will happen next.

We consider over 8,000 complaints a year at this step. We go on to investigate around half of these.

If we decide not to investigate your complaint, we will explain why. If there are other options open to you, we will let you know what these are.

To find out more about this step in our process, watch our short animation or download our guide.

Deciding whether to investigate  

step three in the complaints process

Investigating your complaint