Where your problem does require that you contact your MP, there are a number of methods available to try to resolve the matter:
- A letter from your MP to the relevant department or official will often provide a solution;
- Your MP may decide to take matters a stage further by writing to the Minister involved;
- Your MP may make an appointment to see the Minister personally.
Many constituents’ problems can be solved in this way but not all problems have an easy solution. The Minister may not be able to give the answer that you wanted to hear but if the decision has been made in the right way, there may be little that can be done.
If, on the other hand, some essential procedure has been missed out, i.e. if there has been maladministration, your MP may be able to take your case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (also called the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration). The Ombudsman is sometimes able to resolve such cases where there has been administrative incompetence but can only be approached via your MP; you cannot approach the Ombudsman directly. The Ombudsman has a website which can provide information about making a complaint: http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
There is also a Commissioner for Local Administration (Local Government Ombudsman) who deals with possible maladministration in local government matters. A complainant must give the council concerned an opportunity to deal with a complaint against it first. It is best to use the council’s own complaints procedure, if it has one. If the complainant is not satisfied with the action the council takes, he or she can send a written complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, or ask a councillor to do so on their behalf. More details are given on the website of the Local Government Ombudsman at: http://www.lgo.org.uk/