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Complaints Procedure

If you are unhappy with the quality of service you receive from staff in the department, we will endeavour to set things right.

Making a Complaint

The OFMDFM Complaints Procedure is designed to address any specific concerns our customers have that relate to the quality of customer service provided by OFMDFM staff.  For example this might include:
  • Maladministration
  • Delays in receiving information/responses within accepted timeframes
  • Difficulty in contacting the correct office, branch or person
  • Incorrect information or guidance issued by the Department
  • Attitude and conduct of OFMDFM staff

Step One

You may raise your complaint with Central Management Unit, who will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days and assign your case to the appropriate business area. Business areas will provide a full response within 15 days. If this deadline cannot be met, you will receive an explanation that will inform you when you can expect a full response.
Please provide as much information as possible along with contact details, such as your name, telephone number and postal address.  (Under the Data Protection Act (DPA), we have a legal duty to protect any information you provide to us.  We will handle appropriately any personal data you provide in accordance with the DPA.)
You can express your dissatisfaction in the following ways;
In writing to:
Central Management Unit
Room A5.13 Castle Buildings
Stormont
Belfast BT4 3SR.
By telephone: 028 9052 8433
Or online using our Online Complaints Form .
Note: If you choose to send your complaint in writing, you should clearly state the reason for your complaint in the ‘Subject’ bar of your email, or at the top of your letter.

Step Two

If you are not satisfied with the response you have received, you can refer your complaint to a Line Manager in the relevant Branch who has not been involved in the previous investigation. Contact details for the relevant official will be provided along with the response you received from Step One. The manager will aim to reply within 15 working days.  If this deadline cannot be met, you will receive an explanation that will inform you when you can expect a full response.

Step Three

If you are still not satisfied with our response, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed by the Head of the Division concerned with your complaint. If the Head of Division had been involved with the handling of your complaint at Step Two, the appropriate Director will review the complaint. Contact details for the relevant official will be provided along with the response you received from Step Two. The official will aim to reply within 15 working days.   If this deadline cannot be met, you will receive an explanation that will inform you when you can expect a full response.
The Assembly Ombudsman
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your complaint, you can ask your MLA to refer your case to the Northern Ireland Assembly Ombudsman. The Ombudsman provides a service that is both free and independent of the Government, though you will usually be expected to have gone through the full extent of OFMDFM’s complaints procedure before your case will be considered. If you wish to contact the Ombudsman, you can do so in a number of ways:
In Writing:
The Ombudsman
Freepost BEL 1478
Belfast BT1 6BR
By telephone:   028 9023 3821 (or Freephone 0800 343424)
In Person at:
The Ombudsman’s Office
Progressive House
33 Wellington Place
Belfast BT1 6HN.
You can also visit the Ombudsman’s Office website.
Please remember that your case must be referred to the Ombudsman by your MLA before it can be investigated.