Our Terms of Reference set out the types of complaint that we are able to investigate.

We may be able to investigate your complaint if you are:

  • a prisoner serving a prison sentence (including both public and privately run prisons)
  • a prisoner on remand
  • a young person held in a secure training centre or YOI
  • a detained individual held in an immigration removal centre
  • under supervision by the probation services
  • living in a probation approved premises
  • complaining about escorts to or from these establishments

We can investigate issues about the way you have been treated. This includes decisions and actions (including failures or refusals to act) relating to the management, supervision, care and treatment of those people listed above. You should always complain directly to the provider of the service in the first instance to try to get the problem resolved.

If your complaint is not resolved or you are not happy with the way your complaint is dealt with, then you can submit your complaint to us. Please see the flow chart above to understand whether to submit your complaint to the PPO or IPCI.

Before you complain to the PPO or IPCI, you must have gone through the full internal process or we will be unable to investigate your complaint.

We will only be able to investigate your complaint if:

  • you have completed the internal complaints process
  • it is less than three months since you had a response to the final stage of your complaint
  • there is a substantial issue raised
  • you are the person directly affected by the complaint you have raised (although we have discretion to accept complaints from third parties on behalf of individuals who are unable to act on their own behalf)

We cannot investigate complaints about:

  • the clinical judgement of medical professionals
  • policy decisions taken by a Minister of State
  • cases currently the subject of civil litigation or criminal proceedings
  • conviction, sentence, immigration status, reasons for immigration detention or the length of such detentions
  • decisions or recommendations of the judiciary, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Parole Board and its Secretariat.

What to send to us when making a complaint:

  1. Copies of your completed complaint forms (eg COMP1 and COMP1A if you are in prison) and copies of any other papers relevant to your complaint. (If you don’t have the complaint forms, you can still complain to us, but it may take us a bit longer to respond.
  2. The IPCI Form if you are a prisoner or in the youth custodial estate. This allows you to summarise why you are not happy with the prison’s response to your complaint. You do not need to send us the completed IPCI Form if you are on probation or in an immigration removal centre.
  3. If you do not have access to an IPCI Form, or you are not in the prison estate, send us a short note setting out a summary of your complaint and why you are unhappy with the response. Make sure you include copies of your complaint forms and responses.

Please note, we cannot currently return any original documents so please do not send them to us. 

Where to send it:

For those on probation or in immigration detention:

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
Third Floor,
10 South Colonnade,
Canary Wharf,
E14 4PU

For prisoners or those in the youth custodial estate:

Third Floor,
10 South Colonnade,
Canary Wharf,
E14 4PU