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Ombudsman - taking your complaint about bailiffs further

If you're not happy with the response of the bailiff or your creditor to your complaint, you can take it further. In certain situations, you may be able to take your complaint to an ombudsman.

This page tells you about complaining to the ombudsman.

If you’re dealing with bailiff action that began before 6 April 2014, different rules may apply. You should get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

What is an ombudsman?

An ombudsman can help resolve a complaint without going to court. Ombudsmen are independent, free of charge and impartial - that is, they don't take sides with either the person who is complaining or the organisation being complained about.

You can use an ombudsman for complaints about your local council or HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Before you complain to the ombudsman

Before you complain to the ombudsman, you should complain to the bailiff firm.

You should also make a complaint to your creditor, as they are partly responsible for the bailiff firm's actions.

Complain about a bailiff

Local council complaints

If your creditor is the local council and you're unhappy with the actions of the bailiffs acting for them and way they've dealt with your complaint, the local government ombudsman might be able to step in. You can complain to the local govement ombudsman if the bailiffs you want to complain about are collecting money you owe for council tax or local authority parking penalties.

You must lodge a complaint with the ombudsman and they will investigate it.

If the ombudsman thinks your complaint against the council is justified, they will give recommendations on how to sort out the problem. The actions the ombudsman might ask for include:

  • an apology
  • compensation
  • improved administrative procedures
  • putting the problem right.

You can send your complaint directly to the ombudsman for your area or you can ask a local councillor to do this for you.

The Local Government Ombudsman (England)

To make a complaint, telephone the LGO Advice Team on 0300 061 0614 or 0845 602 1983 and make your complaint over the telephone

Alternatively, fill in the online complaint form at

HMRC complaints

If your creditor is HMRC and they haven't dealt with your initial complaint satisfactorily, an ombudsman might be able to step in. The ombudsman that covers HMRC complaints is The Adjudicator's office.

The Adjudicator's office

Information about how to make a complaint can be found at

Alternatively, you can ring the Adjudicator's office on 0300 057 1111 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Typetalk facilities are available.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman can be used for complaints against most public or government bodies.

If you want to complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, you must first contact an MP and ask for the matter to be referred.

To find out who your local MP is, go to or contact the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

More information about the parliamentary ombudsman can be found at

If you can't complain to an ombudsman

If you can't complain to an ombudsman, for example if your complaint is about a bailiff collecting debts that aren't covered by an ombudsman service, you have other options for taking things further. You could consider taking court action over the behaviour of bailiffs.

Taking court action over bailiffs

Next steps

For more information about complaining to the ombudsman, see How to use an ombudsman.

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