We constrain the properties of cluster haloes by performing likelihood analysis using lensing shear and flexion data. We test our analysis using two mock cluster haloes: an isothermal ellipsoid (SIE) model and a more realistic elliptical Navarro–Frenk–White model. For both haloes, we find that flexion is more sensitive to the halo ellipticity than shear. The introduction of flexion information significantly improves the constraints on halo ellipticity, orientation and mass. We also point out that there is a degeneracy between the mass and the ellipticity of SIE models in the lensing signal.