Updated November 2022
The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the administrative actions of a wide range of providers of public services such as Government Departments, Local Authorities and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The Disability Act 2005 gives the Ombudsman the power to investigate complaints about compliance by public bodies and others with Part 3 of the Act. This Part deals with:
Generally, the Act covers:
If you are unsure whether a particular body is covered by the Act, please contact us.
The Ombudsman has no role in relation to public service employment (Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005).
The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012 outlaw discrimination by public and private sector organisations when providing goods and services to which the public generally have access. The Acts outlaw discrimination on nine distinct grounds, one of which is disability. You can get more information about the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012 from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (www.ihrec.ie). The Ombudsman has no role in relation to the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012.
Six Government ministers are required to prepare sectoral plans. These outline what the ministers plan to do to ensure that services are provided to people with specified disabilities. They cover the role of public bodies or other people supported or funded by the minister.
Areas covered by sectoral plans include:
The following Government ministers were required to prepare sectoral plans:
Yes. The Ombudsman deals with all complaints independently and impartially. The service is free to use.
Before you complain to the Ombudsman you must first put your complaint to the public body concerned and allow it time to investigate the matter.
If you want to complain about access, you must complain directly to the public body concerned. An inquiry officer appointed by the public body will investigate your complaint and decide if the body is complying with the relevant part of the Act.
If you want to complain about the requirements in a sectoral plan, you must use the complaints procedures set out in the relevant plan. A complaints officer appointed under the plan will consider this type of complaint and decide if the public body or other person is complying with the requirements in the sectoral plan.
If you fail to resolve your complaint with the public body directly, you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate the matter.
Anyone, including public representatives, companies or organisations, can complain to the Ombudsman. However, only people specified in the Disability Act 2005 may complain to the public body concerned (for example the person with a disability or their spouse, parent, legal representative or personal advocate).
Once we establish that we can investigate your complaint, we will ask the public body or other person to send us a report. If necessary, the Ombudsman may also examine the files and records and may question people involved with the complaint. It can take time to gather the information that we need.
Following the investigation of a complaint, the Ombudsman may conclude that a public body or other person has failed to comply with a provision of Part 3 of the Disability Act 2005 or a sectoral plan. The Ombudsman may decide this failure has adversely affected the person making the complaint (or on whose behalf the complaint was made) or any other person. If this is the case, the Ombudsman may recommend that the public body or other person (in the case of a sectoral plan):
If appropriate, the Ombudsman may ask the head of the public body or other person, in the case of a sectoral plan, to let the Ombudsman know its response to his recommendation.
The time taken to reach a decision will vary from case to case. For example, it can take time if the Ombudsman needs to get more information or meet officials from the organisation. We will always keep you informed of what is happening.
Nothing - there is no charge for the services of the Ombudsman.
You can write or call to:
The Office of the Ombudsman
6 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, D02 W773.
Phone: 01 639 5600
Yes, but only if you give them permission to do so. If you want to complain on behalf of someone else, you must get their permission first.
If you have a disability and need help to use the services of the Ombudsman, contact us to arrange to speak to our Access Officer.
A copy of this Factsheet is available in large font on request.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 639 5600.