If you think you have been treated unfairly, you can make a complaint to the OCO against a range of organisations and services funded by government. Complaints to the OCO can be made directly by anyone under the age of 18. Adults can also bring complaints on behalf of children and young people.
If you would like to make a complaint online please click the red button. If you would like to speak with someone on our Complaints and Investigation team please call 1800 20 20 40.
Who can make a complaint to the OCO?
Complaints to the OCO can be made directly by children (anyone under the age of 18) about something that affects them.
Adults can also bring complaints on behalf of children and young people. Parents or extended families often bring complaints to the Office on behalf of their children but professionals such as teachers and youth workers can bring complaints too.
Is your complaint about a public body, school or hospital?
The Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002 is the piece of legislation (the law) which tells us what organisations we can examine complaints about. Along with most types of schools and hospitals, this Office can look into complaints about certain Government Departments and public bodies. A public body is an organisation which provides services to children and young people on behalf of the State.
Examples of Government Departments and public bodies we can look into are:
The Health Service Executive (HSE)
Department of Health
Department of Education and Skills
Local Authorities and County Councils
There are some public bodies that we are unable to examine complaints about – for example we are not able to look at complaints about the Garda Síochána as there is a Garda Ombudsman.
A full list of public bodies who we can examine complaints about is contained in Schedule 1 of Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002. You can read the full list here.
If you are unsure about whether this Office can examine the public body you are complaining about you can contact our Office on 1800 20 20 40 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and our Complaints and Investigations team will try and help you with your query.
What steps have you taken so far?
It is important that you try to resolve your complaint with the organisation you are unhappy with first.
Before submitting a complaint to the OCO you should try, as far as possible, to make your complaint in writing directly to the organisation and follow their complaint process (i.e. the various steps you have to take when making a complaint to them). If you contact the organisation you have a difficulty with you can ask them about their complaints process and what steps you need to take.
If you are still unhappy after receiving the response and after you have followed all of the steps, it may be then be the right time to submit a complaint to the OCO.
you can print a copy off and post it to
Ombudsman for Children's Office
52-56 Great Strand Street
you can fax it to us at 01 874 7333
you can contact our Complaints and Investigations team on 1800 20 20 40 and we can arrange to send you out a complaint form.
While we know that each complaint represents a unique and different set of circumstances there is certain information we will always need from you. When you are making a complaint the OCO will need as much information as possible about the complaint such as:
What you are complaining about and how you think it has affected the child(ren) on whose behalf you are making a complaint
The name and age of the young person you wish to make a complaint for
Your personal details and relationship with the child or young person
What you have done to try and resolve the complaint directly with the organisation
What are the views (if possible and appropriate) of the young person you are making a complaint on behalf
What you would like to happen
Any other relevant information about what has happened
The easiest way to give us this information is by filling out one of our complaint forms which are available on our website. The complaint form will give us a good idea about what your complaint is and if we need more information from you we can then ask for it.
If you are submitting a complaint form it can also be useful to give us copies of any letters or correspondence you have sent to, or had from, the organisation.
The OCO seeks to be as accessible as possible and therefore, if you are not in a position to submit a complaint form in writing for any reason you can contact us at the Office on 1800 20 20 40 and we can figure out the best way for you to make your complaint.