An ombudsman is a person who has been appointed to look into complaints of maladministration or a violation of rights by companies and organisations. They are independent, free of charge and impartial.

Ombudsmen are normally appointed by the government and are independent, impartial and free of charge.

You would normally only take your complaint to the ombudsman if you have failed to get a satisfactory outcome from the company or organisation concerned.

Taking a complaint to an ombudsman is an alternative way to try and resolve a complaint without going to court.

There are a number of ombudsmen including:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmanis attached to the Westminster provide an independent complaint handling service and make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments and other public organisations.

Local Government Ombudsman are the final stage for complaints about councils and some other organisations providing local public services. They also look at complaints about adult social care providers (such as care homes and home care providers).

Financial Ombudsman Service provides consumers and small businesses with a free, independent service for resolving disputes with Banks, Insurance and other financial organisations (includes private medical insurance).

Financial Services Complaints Commissioner deals with complaints about the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and about the Bank of England in respect of its oversight of the banking clearing houses and payment settlement schemes.

Pensions Ombudsman investigates and decides complaints and disputes about private, civil service and other public sector pensions and pension schemes.

Legal Ombudsman is an independent and impartial scheme set up to help resolve legal service disputes.

Children’s Commissioner for England has a statutory duty to promote and protect the rights of all children in England in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ombudsman Services provides dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property, copyright licensing, home improvement and property industries.

Dispue Resolution Ombudsman provides dispute resolution for goods and services purchased in the UK.

Furniture Ombudsman provides dispute resolution between consumers and retailers of goods and services.

Housing Ombudsman Service  resolves disputes involving the tenants and leaseholders of social landlords and our voluntary members (private landlords and letting agents who are committed to good service for their tenants).

Property Ombudsman provides dispute resolution between consumers and property agents.

Removals Industry Ombudsman provides an independent complaint resolution procedure for customers of removal companies.

Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education reviews individual complaints by students against higher education providers.

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales and sets the standards by which the police should handle complaints.

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is an independent body appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice to investigate complaints from prisoners and those subject to probation supervision, or those upon whom reports have been written. They are also responsible for investigating all deaths of prisoners and residents of probation hostels and immigration detention accommodation.

Motor Ombudsmanis the automotive industry dispute resolution body covering new & used cars, servicing & repairs and vehicle warranty.

Waterways Ombudsman considers complaints of maladministration or unfairness against the Canal and River Trust,

Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) investigates complaints that have not been resolved by a football club or governing body.

European Ombudsman investigates complaints about the institutions and bodies of the European Union.

A complete list of Ombudsmen can be found at the Ombudsman Association.

Full details of when and how to complain are available from Citizens Advice and from Which?.

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