Follow the trail
If you have concerns about services provided by the utilities, want to object to offensive advertising, argue against government agency decisions, here are the contacts. All the web sites listed will have details of addresses, phone numbers, and nearly all will describe what they cover, what they can't deal with, and the procedure you need to follow. Some studying here is likely to save time in wasted approaches.
- Utility/industry regulators.
- Government/local council.
- Not-for-profit and social regulators.
- Media, communication.
- Information Commissioner, who covers data protection, is under Info Management.
- Health and Safety Executive is on Admin.
- Lobbying and campaigning Includes government departments, local councils.
- Getting your message across Media relations etc.
- Charity and company registration.
Utility regulators mainly deal with pricing matters and aren't very good at explaining their complaints procedure on their sites. See also Media section below.
- Ofgem, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, has taken over from separate Electricity and Gas regulators.
- Office of Water Services.
- Office of Fair Trading (has got advice on online shopping issues!).
- Office of the Rail Regulator.
- The Pensions Regulator.
- Competition Commission.
- Trading Standards Central A one stop shop for consumer protection information in the UK. The site is supported and maintained by TSI, the Trading Standards Institute.
- National Lottery Commission.
- Consumer Futures (was Consumer Focus) has taken over from Postwatch (for customers of postal services in the UK), EnergyWatch and also works for water customers in Scotland.
- Postal regulation is part of Ofcom (taking over from Postcomm).
- Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the Health Service Commissioners - The Ombudsman
- Local Government Ombudsman.
- Northern Ireland Ombudsman.
- European Ombudsman.
- National Audit Office 'conducts financial audits of all government departments and agencies and many other public bodies, and reports to Parliament on the value for money with which public bodies have spent public money'.
- Audit Commission Value for money studies, audits of all local authorities and NHS bodies, in the process of being abolished (at 2012).
- Audit Scotland.
- Wales Audit OFfice / Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru.
- Northern Ireland Audit Office.
- The Public Audit Forum.
- The Adjudicator's Office for the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and The Insolvency Service.
- See Social regulators below for relevant government agencies - NHS, education etc.
Other areas: start out at Gov.uk.
The Ombudsman Association has a list of members.
Also note Centre for Public Scrutiny - online resource for auditors or scrutineers of public sector bodies. "Not only to hold executives to account but also to create a constructive dialogue between the public and its elected representatives" on public services.
We list government Departmental web sites on the Lobby page.
- The Charity Commission is where concerns about registered charities in England and Wales should go, Companies House for possible company legislation issues.
- There is an Independent Complaints Reviewer for concerns about how the Charity Commission operates.
- In Scotland, Office of Scottish Charity Regulator.
- Northern Ireland's version Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.
- Children's Commissioner for Wales.
- Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.
- Children's Commissioner for England.
- Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People.
- Office for Standards in Education - OFSTED Site includes links to specific school inspection reports (published approx. 3 months after the visit).
- Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and social care in England (from May 2009).
- The work of General Social Care Council is now part of Health and Care Professions Council - all social workers in England need to register here.
- Northern Ireland Social Care Council All social care workers in NI will need to register.
- Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) is the health and social care regulatory body for Northern Ireland.
- Scottish Social Services Council.
- Care Council for Wales.
- Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.
- Complaints procedure for Department of Health, NHS.
- Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Making sure all immigration advisers fulfill the requirements of good practice.
- Independent Police Complaints Commission.
- Office of the Social Security and Child Support Commissioners 'Specialised part of the Judiciary appointed to determine appeals on law under the Social Security and Child Support Acts'.
- Office of Communication, Ofcom, covers telecoms , media (radio, television, but not BBC) and more.
- Advertising Standards Authority This includes advertising on non-broadcast electronic media (eg CD-ROM, internet). Phone 020 7580 5555
- Press Complaints Commission Phone 020 7353 1284.
- ISPA Not a statutory regulator, but reputable Internet Service Providers generally belong. The Code of Practice is quite large - see under Consumer Issues.
- PhonepayPlus for telephone Premium Rate Services complaints or enquiries (was ICSTIS).
Charity fundraising is regulated in a number of ways. Local authorities licence street collections, while the Charity Commission (in England and Wales) registers and oversees accounting and reporting.
- Public Fundraising Regulatory Association is the relatively new self-regulatory body dealing with 'face to face' fundraising.