This Factsheet is about the types of remedies that we can recommend. It should be read together with our ‘How to Complain’ webpage, available on the ‘Making A Complaint’ tab and our Factsheet “When you have a Legal Remedy available to you”.
Our principle for remedy is that the body complained about should put the individual back in the position they would have been in, if the maladministration or poor service had not occurred.
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 a court action would provide, we may not be able to investigate your complaint.
We will ensure that the body complained about has had an opportunity to resolve the complaint in the first instance, before becoming involved.
If your complaint falls within our remit and we decide that it is appropriate for us to consider your complaint, we may:
We expect remedies to be fair and proportionate to a complainant’s injustice or hardship. We are keen to ensure that bodies within jurisdiction acknowledge failures and apologise for them, make amends, and use the opportunity to improve their services.
If we are satisfied that it is appropriate to investigate your complaint, (including cases where we have decided that it is not reasonable to expect you to take legal action against the public body) the range of remedies includes:
In most cases, an apology and explanation will be an appropriate and sufficient response. Financial redress will not be appropriate in most cases. 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. Although, as outlined above, we may consider that you have an alternative remedy reasonably available through the courts.
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.
We will only recommend a remedy where there has been maladministration or service failure by the body complained about which has caused you (or the person you are representing) an injustice. We will not recommend a remedy where the body has done nothing wrong or has not caused you any detriment.
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.