Below are some frequently asked questions in relation to making a complaint. We hope these are helpful and answer some of the questions you may have around this.

You can contact us at if you have any further questions. 

Who can make a complaint?

Children and young people can bring complaints to us. We can deal with complaints from young people under 18 years of age or up to 21 years of age if they have been in care or have a disability. Parents and carers can also bring complaints to us as well as professionals involved in a child’s life such as teachers, social workers, or a health care provider.

Is your complaint about a relevant authority?

The term relevant authority refers to organisations which carry out a public service on behalf of the government. This includes schools, health care providers, and many others. If you are unsure if your complaint involves a relevant authority, please contact us and we will advise you. We cannot deal with matters such as contact and residence issues as these do not normally involve a relevant authority but are disputes between parents.

What do I need to do before making a complaint to NICCY?

You need to have taken steps to resolve the complaint yourself. For example you should have made a complaint to the authority yourself and exhausted their complaints procedure before referring your complaint to NICCY.

I have made a complaint by telephone or in person to the relevant authority concerned – do I also need to put it in writing?

Even if you have already made a complaint in person or via the telephone it is a good idea to also put your complaint in writing. You should keep a copy for yourself so that you have a record of what you included in your complaint. You should also keep copies of any replies that you receive and any relevant documentation regarding your complaint.

I have followed the complaints procedure for the authority concerned – what do I do now?

If you have followed the complaints procedure and you remain dissatisfied, you should refer your complaint to NICCY. The Referral Form can be found here on our website.

How do I make a complaint to NICCY?

Please complete the Referral Form which can be found here on our website. This should be completed online and submitted. It can also be posted out to you if you prefer or sent to you via email for completion and return.

What happens once I have submitted a complaint form to NICCY?

NICCY will take your complaint seriously. Our team of skilled investigators will assess the content of your complaint form and decide what steps need to be taken to attempt to resolve the matter. You will be contacted and kept informed of progress. It is important to note that NICCY will not take sides when investigating a complaint and will carry out our investigation on an impartial basis.

What if my complaint involves a child protection matter?

Child protection matters should be referred to the appropriate authority, either social services or the PSNI. However, if any complaint to NICCY involves a child protection concern this will be reported by NICCY to the appropriate authority and this shall not constitute a breach of confidentiality.

How long does it take NICCY to deal with a complaint?

This will depend on the facts of the complaint and the complexity of the matter. NICCY will deal with all complaints as promptly as possible.

Can I make a complaint to you about the actions of the PSNI?

No, complaints about the PSNI should be referred to the Police Ombudsman NI.

Can I make a complaint to you about contact or residence orders in relation to my child?

No, these are private law matters which fall outside the remit of NICCY as they do not concern the actions of a relevant authority.

Can I make a complaint to you about the conduct of Court proceedings?

No, the conduct of ongoing Court proceedings falls outside the remit of NICCY.

What if I am unhappy with NICCY’s decision on my complaint?

If you are unhappy with the decision of NICCY on your complaint, under certain circumstances we can review the decision. We will review a decision at your request if you submit an appeal within 21 working days of the date of the decision and can provide information to show that:

  • You have new information which is relevant to the decision; or

  • We overlooked a relevant issue; or

  • You have evidence to show that the relevant authority’s stated position is incorrect.