Our Terms of Reference set out the types of complaint that we are able to investigate.

We may be able to look at your complaint if you are:

  • a prisoner serving a prison sentence (including both public and privately run prisons)
  • a prisoner on remand
  • a young person held in a secure training centre or YOI
  • a detainee held in an immigration removal centre
  • under supervision by the probation services (including Community Rehabilitation Companies)
  • living in a probation approved premises
  • complaining about escorts to or from these establishments
  • recently released and complaining about a problem that occurred while you were detained.

The Ombudsman can investigate issues about the way you have been treated. This includes decisions and actions (including failures or refusals to act) relating to the management, supervision, care and treatment of those people listed above. You should always complain directly to the provider of the service in the first instance to try to get the problem resolved.

If your complaint is not resolved or you are not happy with the way your complaint is dealt with, then you can submit your complaint to us.

Before you complain to the Ombudsman, you must have gone through all the internal process or we will be unable to investigate your complaint.

We will only be able to investigate your complaint if:

  • you have completed the internal complaints process
  • it is less than three months since you had a response to the final stage of your complaint
  • there is a substantial issue raised
  • you are the person directly affected by the complaint you have raised (although the Ombudsman has discretion to accept complaints from third parties on behalf of individuals who are unable to act on their own behalf).

The Ombudsman cannot investigate complaints about:

  • the clinical judgement of medical professionals
  • policy decisions taken by a Minister of State
  • cases currently the subject of civil litigation or criminal proceedings
  • conviction, sentence, immigration status, reasons for immigration detention or the length of such detentions
  • decisions or recommendations of the judiciary, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Parole Board and its Secretariat.

What to send:

1. Your completed complaint forms (eg COMP1 and COMP1A if you are in prison) and any other papers relevant to your complaint. If you don’t have the complaint forms you can still complain to us but it will take us a bit longer to respond.

2. A short note telling us why you are not happy with the response to your complaint. There is no PPO complaint form.

Where to send it

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
Third Floor,
10 South Colonnade,
Canary Wharf,
E14 4PU