Questions and answers

about the process at Berlin Independent Office for Complaints

Dear Madame,
Dear Sir,

Your complaint initiates a process at the Berlin Independent Office for Complaints. Your personal data will thus be collected and processed. According to the regulations applicable in the European Union and therefore also in Germany, the complaints office is obliged to inform you about the process that is carried out and the processing of your data. This information sheet is used for this purpose.

What does the Berlin Independent Office for Complaints do?

The Berlin Independent complaints office (referred to as the complaints office) offers you the chance to direct your concerns to an office that is legally and organizationally independent of the authorities that are responsible for giving you accommodation or other types of services.

The independent complaints office does not perform any tasks assigned by law and it may only process your data if you have previously given your consent.

What happens with my complaint after I bring it to the complaints office?

For legal reasons, the complaints office cannot examine your complaint itself and decide which measures are possible, suitable and necessary to address your concerns. Rather, the complaints office receives your request and first determines which authority is responsible for investigating your complaint and taking the necessary measures.

What happens to my complaints if the Landesamt für Flüchtlingsangelegenheiten (LAF) is responsible?

If your complaint relates to the provision of services by the LAF, for example shortcomings in a communal accommodation facility operated by the Landesamt für Flüchtlingsangelegenheiten (LAF), the complaint will be submitted to this authority.

The LAF is obliged to review this complaint as soon as possible and, as a result of the review, decide whether and, if so, which specific measures can be taken to address the shortcomings mentioned in the complaint.

Alternatively, you can direct your complaints directly to the “Qualitäts- und Beschwerdemanagement” which is the responsible body within the LAF. The contact details and other information can be found here: .

Your complaint is always examined according to the same objective criteria, resulting from the factual and legal situation, regardless of whether you direct your complaint to the Berlin independent complaints office or directly to the LAF.

How do I know about what happened to my complaint?

For legal reasons, the LAF is not allowed to report the result of the examination and the measures taken to you through the complaints office. You will therefore not receive this notification from the Complaints Office, but from the LAF. For this reason, it is necessary that your contact details (postal address or e-mail address) are sent to the LAF so that you can be informed of the result of the examination of your complaint from there.

What happens to my compliant if another authority, other than the LAF, is responsible?

If the LAF is not responsible for examining your complaint, but another Berlin authority (the Bezirksamt, Jobcenter, Ausländerbehörde or others) the complaint office will send your complaint and your contact details to this office with the request for them to examine the complaint and inform you of the result. However, due to the distribution of tasks to various authorities in Berlin, it is not possible for the complaints office to oblige the responsible authority to examine your complaint and to inform you of the result. Such an obligation only applies to complaints that the LAF is responsible for examining.

How is my complaint additionally used?

By pointing out existing shortcomings with their complaints, refugees or other people can make an important contribution to continuously improve the quality of the provided services, which is highly valued by the Berlin state government (Senat). For this reason, the complaints office not only receives your request and forwards it to the office responsible for the examination, but also gathers statistical data about the complaints. However, your personal data is not recorded in these statistics. The statistical data is used by the complaints office and the Berlin administration to gain an overview of the number and reasons of all the received complaints.

The evaluation of this statistical data is routinely forwarded to a committee that is associated with the complaints office (advisory board) which includes senior staff from the authorities and civil society representatives, including refugees.

Based on the evaluation of the statistical data, this committee decides whether fundamental changes, for example in the contracts between the LAF and the operators of the shared accommodation or in the process of applications for certain services, are necessary in order to identify the shortcomings mentioned in the complaints.

Are there complaints that the complaints office cannot accept?

For legal reasons, the complaints office cannot accept complaints in which other persons are named, e.g. officials, employees of the shared accommodations or other residents. These complaints must be directly directed to the relevant authority, such as the LAF.

Complaints that related to issues for which no Berlin authority is responsible, but a federal authority (e.g. Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge – BAMF or another authority that belongs to the Berlin administration) cannot be filed by the complaints office.

The staff at the complaints office will inform you which office which office to contact with such complaints.

How is my personal data protected?

The Berlin complaints office is a voluntary service offered by the State of Berlin to refugees living in Berlin. Since the complaints office does not perform any legally prescribed tasks, the personal data required to process you complaint can only be collected and processed if you expressly consent to this. The requirements for data processing applicable in the European Union (Art. 7 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the requirements of which are defined in Art. 4 No. 11 GDPR) are only met with your consent. Further information can be found here: Privacy policy

Who can I contact if I have any questions, if I don’t understand something or would like to know more?

Do not hesitate to contact the complaints office staff if you have any questions about the procedure of processing your complaints. They are happy to answer your questions in a detailed, competent and understandable manner.