Complaining to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
If you think the council didn’t follow the correct procedure or acted unfairly when it assessed your homelessness application, you may be able to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
What can the ombudsman do?
The ombudsman can look into the way the council dealt with your homelessness application to make sure that it acted fairly and followed the right procedures.
After the ombudsman has completed its investigations it can recommend that the council pays compensation or takes action to put things right. Councils are not legally obliged to comply with ombudsman recommendations but they usually do so. In some cases, they may even offer to put the situation right before the ombudsman has finished investigating your complaint.
What type of complaints can the ombudsman deal with?
Examples of when you can make a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales include situations where:
- there were long delays in the council coming to a decision
- the council discriminated against you when it made its decision
- you were given bad or misleading advice by the council.
In most cases, you have to ask the council to review its decision before you can ask the ombudsman to investigate. You normally have to complain to the ombudsman within 12 months of receiving written confirmation of the review decision.
You can’t normally complain to the ombudsman if you have already appealed against the council’s decision in the county court.
How do I complain to the ombudsman?
The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has information and forms explaining how to make a complaint on their website. You can submit a complaint online, using their online complaint form, or you can download, print off and send a complaint form by post.
If this is not possible, you could also email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 0300 790 0203 or complain by any other method appropriate to your needs.
Whichever way you complain, you should try and include all of the following information so that the Ombudsman can make a decision :
- the dates of any relevant decisions / circumstances
- the effect the situation has had on you or members of your household
- what you hope to achieve by complaining to the Ombudsman
- whether you have submitted a review of the decision and considered legal action as an alternative to approaching the Ombudsman
- copies of the most relevant documents that the Ombudsman needs to consider, such as letters from the council, medical notes etc.
- authorisation to act for someone else if necessary.
Will I need help?
It is worth getting advice before you make your complaint. A Shelter Cymru adviser can help you put together the arguments you will need, and might be able to help you fill in the forms.
Ombudsman complaints can take a long time and are not likely to solve your immediate housing problems.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.