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Page Category: Step-by-step guide to reporting a complaint

There are a number of steps in the process when submitting a complaint via the IMA’s portal.

Step 1: Eligibility check

You can report an issue using our online tool if:

  • you are a citizen of an EU or EEA EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) state  
  • you believe that a public organisation in the UK or Gibraltar has acted in a way that impacts on your rights, under the Withdrawal Agreement or EEA EFTA Separation Agreement; and
  • whether or not you have already complained directly to the organisation that you are having an issue with

If you are not sure if this applies to you, you will be able to use our eligibility checker.

Step 2: Tell us about your issue

We will ask you for some personal details and information about your complaint.

Give us as much detail as you can about your complaint, including:

  • what has happened 
  • who is involved; and
  • who you have already complained to and what happened with that complaint

You can also submit supporting documents along with your complaint. This might include copies of email exchanges relating to your complaint, previous decisions, or anything else that will help us understand the issue you’ve been having.

What happens after you report

Once you have completed the eligibility check and submitted your complaint via the portal, the IMA will begin reviewing the details. To be within scope your complaint will need to highlight a potential issue with how public bodies in the UK and Gibraltar are not upholding your rights as an EU or EEA EFTA citizen (or a member of your family).

You will be informed of the IMA’s decision about whether your complaints is ‘in scope’ or ‘out of scope’

We use the complaints reported to build up a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how public bodies in the UK and Gibraltar are operating. Most importantly, your complaints help the IMA to understand where change is needed.

Your complaint may be used as part of a wider inquiry if it:

  • is similar to others we have received; and/or
  • shows us there could be a larger problem with policies, systems or processes

All the complaints we receive help us gather evidence of what is happening so that we can look into it further and take action. 

Resolution of individual complaints

The IMA does not directly resolve individual complaints and does not replace existing complaints processes that involve individual decisions. We look for issues that affect many people.

Final Resolution

Although the IMA cannot offer a specific resolution to your individual complaint, if a public body in the UK or Gibraltar has failed in its implementation of the citizens’ rights agreement, the IMA can use its powers of inquiry to hold them to account. This could result in the IMA taking legal action which can indirectly lead not only to a resolution of your complaint but it could also enact change that could help many others.

How long it takes

You will receive an ‘in scope’ or ‘out of scope’ response to your complaint within 10 working days. We will keep the website updated with details of inquiries we are conducting. Keep an eye on the publications section of our website and follow us on social media to find out how things are progressing. 

You can use our online tool to report a complaint about a rights issue.

To make sure the IMA is the right place for your complaint, have a look at the checklist below.

  1. Are your rights protected in the EU Withdrawal Agreement or EEA EFTA Separation Agreement?
  2. Have you had a rights issue with a UK public body?
  3. Do you understand that the IMA cannot directly resolve your issue or overturn individual decisions already made?

If you answered yes to all those questions, it sounds like the IMA is the right place to report your complaint.

Although we can take action against public bodies that have not protected citizens’ rights, we will not resolve individual cases. If you have an issue that needs resolving, you should complain directly to the organisation you are having a problem with.

We do still want to hear from you, though. You can report the issue to the IMA at the same time but we will not resolve your case for you.