Helping you to complain

This article previously featured in Inside Time in February:

My name is Miriam, and I am the new Complaints Deputy Ombudsman at the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). I joined in January 2023 and my team are responsible for investigating your complaints.

In July 2022, we placed an advert in Inside Time to let you know that we have updated our complaints posters and leaflets. I wanted to take this opportunity to say hello and to remind you that information about what we do and how we can help you, should be available in every establishment.

We have two posters available and a prison leaflet. In the ‘How to complain to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO)’ leaflet, we say that we will aim to let you know if we can investigate your complaint within 10 days of receiving it, and if we agree with you, you might get an apology, compensation or we might even make recommendations to the prison to change how they work. Most importantly, we set out exactly how to complain to us and let you know what we can and can’t investigate. This is so we don’t waste your time and help you to send us complaints that are eligible for investigation.

In addition, the leaflet sets out some facts about us – that we are completely independent from the Prison Service, and that your letters to us will not be read by the prison.

Your complaint letters to the PPO are free of charge – the prison will pay for your postage to us. Remember, don’t send us original documents, as we cannot return them so make sure you only send us photocopies. It is free to photocopy your complaint forms and letters to the PPO.

You can locate our posters and leaflets by the yellow complaints box on your wing. Please do write to us if you cannot find them, if you think your establishment needs to order more, or if you think your establishment is using our old versions (because these contain some incorrect information).

If English is not your first language, we have translated the leaflets into 24 other languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, French, Hindi, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi Gurmukhi, Punjabi Shahmukhi, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh.

Please write to us and we can send you copies of the leaflet in your chosen language if you need this.

You may know that throughout 2022, we carried out a number of prison visits which gave us the chance to meet with you and talk with you. From these sessions, we know that not everyone is aware of the PPO, so I hope you find this article useful and it helps you locate our updated complaints materials.

We want to do all that we can to help, so please hold on to the leaflets and contact us if you need to: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Third Floor, 10 South Colonnade, London, E14 4PU

Miriam Minty – Complaints Deputy Ombudsman

General complaints poster

Translated complaints poster

Prisons leaflet