Apply for a Referral

If you want to make a Service complaint and don’t want to approach your Service Secretariat Central Admissibility Team (CAT) directly, you can ask the Ombudsman to refer your intention to make a Service complaint.

What is a Referral?

A Referral is a letter from the Ombudsman that says you want to make a Service complaint. This will usually be sent to your Service Secretariat Central Admissibility Team (CAT) or former Service Secretariat Central Admissibility Team if you are no longer serving.

Please note: A Referral is not a formal Service complaint and does not “stop the clock” on the time limits for making a Service complaint. If the Ombudsman makes a referral, it does not indicate that your complaint will be accepted for investigation as a formal Service complaint.

Who can ask for a Referral?

Only current or former Service personnel can ask the Ombudsman to refer their intention to make a Service complaint.

When can’t the Ombudsman make a Referral?

If the incident you want to make a Service Complaint about happened before 1 January 2008 and your complaint was not submitted before 31 December 2015, it is not possible to make a Service complaint now.

This is because a Service person can only make a Service Complaint if the matter they are complaining about occurred when they were subject to Service law.  Service law commenced on 1 January 2008. Prior to this, Service personnel were subject to the laws of their individual Services (Army Act 1955, Navy Discipline Act 1957 and the Air Force Act 1955).  

For incidents that occurred before 1 January 2008, personnel had until the 31 December 2015 to make a complaint. It may be possible to raise your historical complaint in another way.

Can the Ombudsman investigate my complaint?

The Ombudsman cannot investigate your complaint – it must go through the internal Service complaints process. Once a Referral has been made the Ombudsman will not be involved in the handling of your complaint.

Further information about the Service complaints process can be found in JSP 831: Redress of Individual Grievances

Submit an Application for Referral

If you would like to submit an Application for Referral, please use the following link.

Timeframes for processing your application

2 days

Once we receive your application you will receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days.

7 days

Once your completed application has been processed a referral will be made to the relevant Service within 7 working days.

Please note: It is important that we can contact you once you have submitted an application.  If we can’t contact you we may be unable to process your application or there may be delays in making a referral