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This Factsheet is about the types of financial redress that we can recommend.  It should be read to together with our ‘How to Complain’ webpage, available on the ‘Making A Complaint’ tab, and our “Remedies” Factsheet, which provides general information about the types of remedies we can recommend.

Our powers are restricted by law. One restriction is that we cannot investigate a complaint if a remedy exists by way of proceedings in a court of law. That is unless we are satisfied that it is unreasonable to expect you to resort to legal proceedings.

If you are mainly seeking financial compensation or any other remedy which court action would provide, we may not be able to investigate your complaint.

While we can recommend financial redress in certain circumstances, it is important to bear in mind that the level of any financial redress we may recommend is unlikely to be as much as if you successfully pursue your complaint through the courts.


How do we decide financial redress?

Our role involves consideration of individual circumstances, and the uniqueness of each case is taken account of in any decision made. We ensure that any financial redress recommended is fair and proportionate and takes account of similar cases and previous decisions made. We have a process in place to ensure oversight of decisions made.

In many cases financial redress will not be appropriate – an alternative remedy such as an apology or action by the body complained about will be sufficient to remedy any injustice found.

While we will take your views into account in reaching a decision on what (if any) remedy to recommend, it is ultimately up to the Ombudsman to decide what is reasonable.

In cases where we have decided that a recommendation of financial redress is appropriate, in order to ensure consistency, we use four levels of redress payment as a starting point.  The four levels are designed to reflect the seriousness of the injustice caused.  The four levels of redress payment are as follows:

Level 1 £50-£450 – Minor injustice and no long-term impact – for example, significant delays in responding to a complaint, repeated failure to respond to correspondence or phone calls.

Level 2 £500-£950 – Moderate injustice with no or little long-term impact – for example, failure to provide accurate information in response to repeated enquiries, avoidable delay in the provision of treatment with no long term consequences.

Level 3 £1,000-£1,950 – Significant injustice with potentially long-term consequences – for example, missed diagnosis or poor treatment with repercussions for a patient, or lack of social services support that a person was entitled to.

Level 4 £2,000+ – Very significant injustice with long term consequences – for example, extremely serious harm, such as an avoidable death.


Issues to bear in mind

Financial redress may be relevant where maladministration or service failure by the body complained about has caused you (or the person you are representing) a significant injustice. However, as outlined within the Factsheet “Remedies”,  we may consider in those circumstances that you have an alternative remedy reasonably available through the courts.


Further information

Examples of previous cases can be found on our website, on the ‘Publications’ tab under ‘Our Findings’ & ‘The Ombudsman’s Casebook’.


Contact us

If you are unsure whether we would be able to look into your complaint, please contact us on 0300 790 0203 or


Also available in Welsh.