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information for businesses covered by the ombudsman service

This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:

our rules & powers

our official status

is the ombudsman service a government department?

We are not a government department or "quango" – and our ombudsmen, adjudicators and other staff are not civil servants. Nor are we a trade association, a regulator or a consumer champion.

We are a public body set up by parliament. We carry out statutory functions on a non-commercial, not-for-profit basis.

Our distinctive name of "ombudsman" sets us apart as different and impartial. We meet the criteria for the recognition of ombudsman offices, as set out by the British and Irish Ombudsman Association (BIOA). These criteria are:

  • independence of the ombudsman from those whom the ombudsman has the power to investigate
  • effectiveness
  • fairness and
  • public accountability.