Principles for Remedy


Good practice with regard to remedies means:

1. Getting it right

  • Quickly acknowledging and putting right cases of maladministration or poor service that have led to injustice or hardship.
  • Considering all relevant factors when deciding the appropriate remedy, ensuring fairness for the complainant and, where appropriate, for others who have suffered injustice or hardship as a result of the same maladministration or poor service.
  • Apologising for and explaining the maladministration or poor service.
  • Understanding and managing people’s expectations and needs.
  • Dealing with people professionally and sensitively.
  • Providing remedies that take account of people’s individual circumstances.

2. Being customer focused

  • Being open and clear about how public bodies decide remedies.
  • Operating a proper system of accountability and delegation in providing remedies.
  • Keeping a clear record of what public bodies have decided on remedies and why.

3. Being open and accountable

  • Offering remedies that are fair and proportionate to the complainant’s injustice or hardship.
  • Providing remedies to others who have suffered injustice or hardship as a result of the same maladministration or poor service, where appropriate.
  • Treating people without bias, unlawful discrimination or prejudice.

4. Acting fairly and proportionately

  • If possible, returning the complainant and, where appropriate, others who have suffered similar injustice or hardship, to the position they would have been in if the maladministration or poor service had not occurred.
  • If that is not possible, compensating the complainant and such others appropriately.
  • Considering fully and seriously all forms of remedy (such as an apology, an explanation, remedial action, or financial compensation).
  • Providing the appropriate remedy in each case.

5. Putting things right

  • Using the lessons learned from complaints to ensure that maladministration or poor service is not repeated.
  • Recording and using information on the outcome of complaints to improve services.

6. Seeking continuous improvement

These Principles are not a checklist to be applied mechanically. Public bodies should use their judgment in applying the Principles to produce reasonable, fair and proportionate remedies in the circumstances. The Ombudsman will adopt a similar approach in recommending remedies.

The supporting text for each Principle follows.