You have a complaint against an EU institution or body?

How do we deal with complaints?

This flowchart gives a rough outline of the process by which the Ombudsman deals with complaints.

  • Complaint received

    • Ombudsman's office checks
      if we should open an inquiry.

      • Inquiry opened

        The complainant is informed by letter.

        • Inquiry

          The Ombudsman assesses the complaint and may:
          - ask the institution or body to reply or provide more information;
          - arrange a meeting with and/or carry out an inspection in the institution or body;
          - ask the complainant for information or comments.

          • Complaint can be swiftly resolved

            • Solution proposal

              If institution accepts, matter is settled.

          • Ombudsman finds maladministration

            • Ombudsman makes recommendations
              to address maladministration

              Institution to give opinion within 3 months. Complainant may submit comments.

              • Closing decision

                Sets out definite findings e.g.:
                - recommendations accepted,
                - issue addressed,
                - maladministration eliminated,
                - systems / procedures improved.

          • Ombusdman finds no maladministration

      • No Inquiry

        - Issue not within the Ombudsman's mandate.
        - Complaint is not admissible (e.g. because the complainant has not first tried to resolve the matter directly with the EU institution or body).
        - Lack of information.
        - Another body better placed to deal with the matter.