Our principle for remedy is that the body complained about should put you back in the position you would have been in if poor service or complaint handling had not happened.

Our powers are limited by law. One limit is that we cannot investigate a complaint if a remedy exists through a court of law. That is unless we are satisfied that it is unreasonable to expect you to resort to the courts. You can read more about this in our ‘What happens if you can take legal action in respect of the matters you are complaining about’ factsheet on our website.

If you are mainly looking for financial compensation or any other remedy which court action would give you, it is very unlikely that we will investigate your complaint.

We are unlikely to get involved unless the body complained about has had a chance to look at your complaint.


What remedies are available

We expect remedies to be fair and proportionateto a complainant’s injustice or hardship. We are keen to make sure that bodies acknowledge failures and apologise for them, put things right, and use the opportunity to improve their services.

The range of remedies includes:

  • an apology, explanation and acknowledgement of responsibility
  • action by the public body to put things right, make sure that lessons are learned to prevent the same thing happening again and that staff are properly trained
  • if relevant, financial payment for direct or indirect financial loss, loss of opportunity, inconvenience and distress
  • we may also look at whether financial redress for time and trouble should be made. This would be in situations where a complainant has suffered more time and trouble than could be usually expected when making a complaint
  • any combination of the above

In most cases, an apology and explanation will be an appropriate response. Financial redress will not be appropriate in most cases (please see our separate factsheet “Financial redress” for more information about when we might recommend financial redress). If you or the person you are representing has suffered significant injustice due to a body getting things wrong, you may be able to receive financial redress. However, as we have said throughout this factsheet, we may consider that you will be able to get another form of remedy through the courts.


Issues to bear in mind

We will only recommend a remedy if the body complained about has done something wrong and this has caused you (or the person you are representing) an injustice. We will not recommend a remedy where the body has done nothing wrong and/or has not caused you any hardship.

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

Contact us

If you are not sure whether we would be able to look into your complaint, please contact us on 0300 790 0203 or

Also available in Welsh.


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