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Making a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Disability Act

Making a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Disability Act

What do I have to do before making a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Disability Act?

What can the Ombudsman do having received a complaint under the Disability Act?

Bodies which are covered by the Disability Act, 2005

What do I have to do before making a complaint to the Ombudsman under the Disability Act?

Before the Ombudsman may investigate a complaint in relation to Part 3 of the Disability Act, 2005 the person making the complaint must first have used the internal complaints procedures of the public body concerned.

Internal Complaints Procedures in relation to Sections 25 to 29

Section 38 of the Disability Act, 2005 states that a person may by himself or through a person referred to in Section 9(2) [see definition below] make a complaint in writing to the head of a public body in relation to the failure of the body to comply with section 26, 26, 27, 28 or 29 of this Act.

A person specified in section 9(2) means:

  1. a spouse, a parent or a relative of a person referred to in subsection (1)(a) [i.e.a person who is of the opinion that he or she may have a disability]
  2. a guardian of that person or a person acting in loco parentis to that person
  3. a legal representative of that person, or
  4. a personal advocate assigned by Comhairle to represent that person

Section 39 of the Disability Act, 2005 allows for a public body to authorise as many officers as is considered appropriate to be Inquiry Officers whose job will be to investigate complaints made under section 38. Each public body must draw up and publish procedures in relation to the making and investigation of complaints. The Act provides that Inquiry Officers shall be independent in the performance of their duties.

When a complaint under section 38 is received by a public body it must be referred to an Inquiry Officer for investigation. The Inquiry Officer must prepare a written report of the results of the investigation and a copy of this must be given to the head of the public body concerned and to the person who made the complaint. This report must set out the findings of the Inquiry Officer together with a determination as to whether there had been a failure on the part of the public body to comply with a provision of the Act referred to in the complaint, and if so, the steps required to be taken by the public body to comply with the relevant provision of the Act.

The Disability Act, 2005 requires that investigations by Inquiry Officers must be conducted in private.

Internal Complaints Procedures in relation to Section 32 to 37 (Sectoral Plans)

Each sectoral plan must contain information about the complaints procedures to be provided by a public body or other persons in relation to any matters which are the subject of the plan.

What can the Ombudsman do having received a complaint under the Disability Act?

If, having used the internal complaints procedure of the public body concerned, the person making the complaint is dissatisfied with the determination of the Inquiry Officer or the decision of the Complaints Officer in relation to a sectoral plan, he or she may ask the Ombudsman to investigate the complaint.

Where, following an investigation, it appears to the Ombudsman that, by reason of a failure to comply with a provision of Part 3 of the Disability Act 2005 or of a sectoral plan under that Part, the action adversely affected a person by or on whose behalf a complaint was made or any other person and the Ombudsman considers that in all the circumstances he or she should do so, he or she may recommend to the head of the public body concerned or to any other person concerned-

  • that the matter in relation to which the action was taken be further considered,
  • that measures or specified measures be taken to remedy, mitigate or alter the adverse affect of the action, or
  • that the reasons for taking the action be given to the Ombudsman,


and, if the Ombudsman thinks fit to do so, he or she may request the head of the public body or that other person to notify him or her within a specified time of its or his or her response to the recommendation.

What will it cost?

Nothing. There is no charge for the Ombudsman services

How do I contact the Ombudsman?

You can contact the Office by calling or writing to:

The Office of the Ombudsman,
18 Lower Leeson Street,
Dublin 2

Telephone : LoCall 1890 22 30 30
Fax : 01 639 5674

e-Mail : ombudsman@ombudsman.ie
Website : www.ombudsman.ie. There is a facility on our website which will allow you to make your complaint online.

Bodies which are covered by the Disability Act, 2005

The following definition for a "public body", is contained in Section 2 of the Act.

"Public Body" means

  • A Department of State
  • the Office of the President
  • the Office of the Attorney General
  • the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General
  • the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas
  • a local authority
  • the [Health Service] Executive
  • a person, body or organisation (other than the Defence Forces) established -

(i) by or under any enactment (other than the Companies Acts 1963 to 2003), or
(ii) under the companies Acts 1963 to 2003, in pursuance of powers conferred by or under another enactment, and financed wholly or partly, whether directly or indirectly, by means of moneys provided, or loans made or guaranteed, by a Minister of the Government or shares held by or on behalf of a minister of the government

If you are unsure whether a particular public body comes within this definition you should contact that public body or the Department of Justice and Equality.