We aim to provide services that are of a standard that is acceptable to everyone. If we fail to do this we want to know about it. This will help us not only to deal with the specific problem, but also avoid it from happening again.

Our complaints procedure sets out how to take up anything that you think is unsatisfactory about the service you have received from us. Copies of this policy and the procedure for complaints are available at reception. Forms to register a complaint are also available.

This statement will be displayed in the main waiting area.

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is any expression of client dissatisfaction however it is initially expressed, where that dissatisfaction is directly related to the service provided by or the behaviour of GMIAU staff, volunteers, students on placement, or a member of the Board of Trustees.

Responsibility for dealing with your complaint lies with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). If they are the subject of the complaint or if the CEO is absent we refer you to item (iii) below.

Complaints Procedure

  1. This procedure sets out the steps we will follow when we receive a complaint from users of our service, an organisation or member of the public. It does not address complaints made by staff or volunteers, student placement nor job applicants.
  2. This procedure is meant to provide a means to resolve a dispute between the Unit and any complainant. It requires staff and members of the Board of Trustees at every stage to try and resolve a complaint.
  3. In the absence of the CEO, the Senior Solicitor or a supervisor can be assigned the responsibility of initiating the complaints procedure.
  4. All complaints will be recorded on the Complaints Monitoring Form and kept on the complaints file, including those which were resolved without being put in writing. All complaints shall be treated with regard to the Unit’s confidentiality policy.
  5. Where a complaint lapses because of a failure to respond to GMIAU contact or a meeting is missed without an explanation being given, GMIAU is entitled to consider the complaint to be at an end. The complaint will be recorded as ‘unresolved’ in the complaint file.
  6. All members of the Board of Trustees receive a copy of this complaints procedure. All existing and new members of the Unit will be introduced to the complaints procedure via induction and training. The procedure will be reviewed annually, and amendments should be proposed and agreed by the Board of Trustees.
  7. The CEO will report at least once a year to the Board of Trustees summarising the nature of any complaints received and how they have been resolved.
  8. It is a priority for the Unit to learn from complaints about its service and where and how to improve. Where your complaint highlights casework deficiencies or shows us how we can improve our service we will take the necessary action with the individual concerned and/or within the organisation as a whole. Each caseworker receives regular supervision which is where concerns about service delivery can be properly raised.
  9. All complaints are treated confidentially – only staff who need to know will be party to information about a complaint
  10. GMIAU may be required to collect personal data during its complaints process. Any personal information obtained for these purposes will not be passed to any third party, except where strictly necessary, and will only be used for the purposes for which it was obtained.



  1. If you wish to register a complaint then it can be instigated by completion of one of the Unit’s complaints forms or by an oral or written request.
  2. Within 7 days of receiving your complaint, you will receive a response from either the CEO or, in the case of a complaint about the quality of our legal advice, by the Senior Solicitor. You will be invited to speak to the CEO or Senior Solicitor to discuss the complaint or a letter will be sent to you confirming the steps taken to investigate the matter. The emphasis being on showing how the matter has been dealt with to date to highlight the transparency of our work. If the complaint involves a member of staff the CEO may have cause to speak to them about the issues raised. A record of any communication with you shall be kept in the complaints file. The CEO will endeavour to respond to the issues raised to try to resolve your complaint.


  1. If you remain dissatisfied then you will be asked to meet the CEO or Senior Solicitor in person. A letter will be sent to you within 14 days making those arrangements. The meeting will be arranged at the earliest opportunity and whenever possible within 14 days of the letter being sent. The purpose of the meeting will be to review the details of the complaint and seek a resolution. Any resolution agreed will be recorded and signed by you. You may wish to work with a third party at this stage and throughout the process. The CEO or Senior Solicitor will continue to seek to resolve the complaint.
  2. If your complaint involves a member of staff that member of staff will be offered an opportunity to put forward their written or verbal account either before, at or after the meeting. The CEO or Senior Solicitor is responsible for recording any account given.
  3. Within 14 days of the meeting you will either:
    1. receive a written response from the CEO or Senior Solicitor telling you what investigations have been carried out and what action, if any, is proposed to resolve your complaint. A copy of this letter will be attached to your complaint record within our complaints file.
    2. if a written response is not felt suitable you will be offered an interview with the CEO so that a verbal response can be given. A record of this meeting will be kept and you will be asked to sign a record of the meeting after it has taken place.

The resolution of the complaint at this stage is a major goal.


  1. If your complaint still remains unresolved the CEO will refer your complaint to the Chair of the Unit’s Board of Trustees sending copies of all communications regarding your complaint. The Chair will then within 28 days convene a Complaints Panel which will comprise the Chair, the CEO and one other member of the Board of Trustees. In the event of the complaint being against the CEO then the Panel will comprise the Chair (or if not available another senior member of the Board of Trustees), the Senior Solicitor (or if not available another senior member of staff) and one other member of the Board of Trustees. If the complaint is against the Chair one of the Officers will be substituted.
  2. You will be informed that this is being done and the member of staff (if any) against whom your complaint has been made will be given formal notification of the complaint.
  3. Within 5 working days of the Complaints Panel reviewing your complaint you will be notified of the decision of the Complaints Panel. The Complaints Panel’s decision will be final in respect of GMIAU’s complaints procedure and a record of the decision will be kept with your complaint on our complaint file.
  4. The Chair of the Board of Trustees will be responsible for reporting the Complaints Panel’s findings to the Board of Trustees.

External/Onward Complaints

Legal Ombudsman

If you are not happy with our final response, you have up to six months to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You can refer your complaint up to 6 months after you have received our final written response to your complaint. You can also use the Ombudsman service if we have not resolved your complaint within 8 weeks of us receiving it. A complaint can be referred to the Legal Ombudsman up to 1 year from the date of the act or omission you are complaining about or up to 1 year after discovering a problem. You can contact them in the following ways.

You can ring – 0300 555 0333

Visit the website – http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/

or write to:
Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6167

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)

You can complain about any adviser, solicitor, barrister, OISC regulated adviser or unregulated person operating within the UK and providing advice and services relating to immigration to the UK. YOU CAN CONTACT OISC AT ANY TIME. There are several ways in which you can contact OISC.

The best way is to contact the Customer Service Unit on info@oisc.gov.uk, which will then pass on the query or documents to the correct part of the organisation.

You can also call 0345 000 0046 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays, and leave a message.

Documents sent to OISC by post will take longer but you can send via OISC, PO Box 567, Dartford, DA1 9XW.

More information on how to complain to OISC is available here.