How to bring a complaint to the Independent Case Examiner

The Independent Case Examiner reviews complaints about certain government organisations that deal with benefits, work and financial support.


Our service: how to bring a complaint to the Independent Case Examiner

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This guidance explains how the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) acts as an impartial referee for people who:

  • feel they have been treated unfairly
  • are unhappy with the way their complaint has been dealt with

This is a free service.

Please don’t contact us until you get a final response from the government agency or business that says you can bring your case to us.

Budgeting Loans

See our separate guidance on how to ask for a further, independent review of a Budgeting Loan

Published 1 February 2013
Last updated 11 September 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added "We deal with post received after 12 noon on the next working day." (section 4).
  2. Changed the time for completing action on "can't agree" cases to within 15 weeks of allocation to an investigation case manager, or within 20 weeks if the case requires a report from the Independent Case Examiner (paragraph 6.2).
  3. Added "If you want us to return any documents you send us, please tell us when you send them" to the guidance.
  4. Updated opening hours – 8am to 6pm.
  5. Updated HTML and PDF guidance to reflect changes to procedures and timings (mainly in paragraphs 6, 6.1 and 6.2).
  6. Added "Fit for Work (the government-funded advice service)" to the list of organisations ICE deals with.
  7. Updated guidance to stress the importance of having a FINAL response that mentions ICE before contacting ICE.
  8. First published.