IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you have submitted an electronic application form to our contact mailbox since we changed contact details in May 2019.  Please check your application was sent to the new email address: contact@scoaf.org.uk.

Who can access the Ombudsman

Who can make an application?

The Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman is limited to current and former Service personnel who:

  • have an open Service complaint or Service matter that they believe is subject to undue delay
  • want to make a Service complaint
  • have made a Service they believe was not handled correctly. The complaint must have been finally determined on or after 1 January 2016.
  • have made a Service complaint that they believe the Ombudsman should reinvestigate. The complaint must have been finally determined on or after 1 January 2016.

A Service complaint that has been finally determined on or before 31 December 2015 falls outside the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. These complaints can’t be reopened.


Only the person who made a Service complaint can ask the Ombudsman for an investigation or review.

This means that a respondent in a Service complaint can’t ask the Ombudsman to investigate the complaint they are named in.

Respondents can contact our office:

  • for information on the Service complaints process
  • to find out how to make a Service complaint of their own
  • to provide feedback to the Ombudsman

Each Service has a responsibility to ensure that the Service complaints system is efficient, effective and fair to both complainants and respondents. If you have been named in a Service complaint and need guidance or support. You can speak to your Assisting Officer or contact your unit welfare officer who will be able to signpost you to agencies that offer help.

Third Parties

Third parties can contact our office for information or to raise concerns. But the Ombudsman can’t:

  • refer a complaint made by a third party
  • review the handling of a complaint made by a third party
  • investigate an issue raised by a third party

This is because Service complaints can only be made by the individual Service person.

When we are contacted by third parties we provide clear information on the role of the Ombudsman. We can also provide information about how an individual can make a complaint in their own right if we know.