The Service Complaints Ombudsman’s office will be closed from Monday 23rd December 2019 at 5 pm until Thursday 2nd January 2020 at 9 am (inclusive). You can still submit enquiries and/or applications to our contact mailbox during this period. However, they won’t be actioned until the office reopens on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

Application for an investigation into Maladministration and/or Substance

Once you have exhausted the internal Service complaints system, you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate Maladministration, Substance or both.

What is maladministration? It means that something was wrong or improper in the way your complaint was handled.

If you believe this has happened, you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate the way your complaint was handled.

Any investigation will not look at whether your complaint should have been upheld or not.

What is substance? It means what your complaint was actually about.

If you believe the final decision on your Service complaint was incorrect, you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate your complaint

You have 6 weeks and 2 days from the date your final decision was posted or emailed to submit your application to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is not a third level of appeal. This means that not all applications will be accepted.

Applications received will be assessed against the following criteria to determine whether an investigation will be conducted:

  • Whether the application was made in time
  • There is a reasonable prospect a new investigation would result in a different outcome
  • An investigation would be a proportionate use of the Ombudsman’s powers
  • The redress requested can be achieved
  • There is a public interest in conducting an investigation

If your application is not accepted, you will receive a decision letter that explains why it was not accepted. For more information on the Ombudsman’s powers read What the Ombudsman can and can’t do

We are in the process of updating our application forms. Before you submit your application please make sure that you read our privacy policy.

Application for Substance and/or Maladministration investigation (273 KB)

How to submit your completed form

  1. Double check that you have completed all sections, signed and dated the form
  2. Save the form to your desktop or device
  3. Send your completed form by email to contact@scoaf.org.uk or post to SCOAF, PO Box 72252, London SW1P 9ZZ

If you have any difficulty completing the form, contact our Enquiries and Referrals Team on 0207 877 3450 for assistance.

Timeframes for processing your application

2 days Once we receive your application you will receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days.
10 days The initial assessment of your application will take up to 10 working days.
100 days Once your application has been allocated to an investigator, we aim to provide you with a final decision within 100 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 a delay in starting an investigation.