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ONS complaints policy

Our commitment

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) aims to provide a high quality service that meets your needs. However, we recognise that sometimes things can go wrong, and if this happens we will do our best to quickly put matters right.  
ONS will listen to your complaint and: 

  • treat it seriously and in confidence 

  • resolve it promptly and informally whenever possible

  • learn from it and take action to improve our service

A summary of complaints and outcomes will be published in the UK Statistics Authority Annual Report. 

What to do if you are not happy with the way your complaint has been treated

If you have a complaint about the quality of service or treatment you have received from ONS, and you have been unable to resolve the problem with the member of staff you dealt with, you can formally complain to them in writing, by fax, or by email.

You may wish to use the attached Complaints Form (40.4 Kb Pdf) .

On receipt of the complaint, the complainee has a duty to inform their senior managers.   
Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt.

You will be given the name and contact details of another member of staff who will review the events that led to the complaint.

ONS aims to respond to your complaint promptly, and within ten working days.

If this is not possible you will be told the reason and when you can expect a full reply.   
If you have not dealt with an individual member of staff or you would prefer not to contact them, or having done this you remain dissatisfied, please write or email directly to the complaints manager: 
Sue Kelliher 
Complaints Manager
Office for National Statistics
Room 1.101
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
South Wales NP10 8XG
Or email:
The complaints manager requests complaints in writing, or by email so that we have a written record of the complaint.
Your complaint should give as much information as possible and the following factors should be considered and set out in your complaint:

  • When? – date(s) of the event(s) that you are complaining about

  • Who? – the name(s) of any individual(s) that you are complaining about

  • Why? – explain clearly and concisely why you are dissatisfied

  • Where? – where have we gone wrong - highlight the subject area of your complaint, and

  • What? – what do you think we should do to put matters right

Any documentary evidence that you may have to support your complaint would be particularly helpful.
If you have specific needs that affect your ability to put your complaint in writing or email, we will do our best to help. Please phone us on 0845 601 3034 or minicom 01633 815044.   
There is a separate complaints procedure covering complaints about the conduct or actions of members of the UK Statistics Authority or its staff (see External links). 
It is important that complaints about ONS are made as soon as possible after the event(s) which led to the complaint.

As a general rule, ONS will usually only investigate complaints that are made within six months of the event that has resulted in the complaint.
This time limit may be waived in exceptional circumstances: where there are good reasons why the complaint could not have been made earlier, and where it is considered reasonable to adequately and fairly investigate the incident. 

How the complaints manager will deal with your complaint

The complaints manager will acknowledge your complaint within three working days of receipt. 
On receipt the complaints manager will chair a panel consisting of two members of the Senior Civil Service to review your complaint.
The panel will decide, on the basis of the information provided, if further investigation of the complaint is necessary.

You will be sent notification of the result of the initial review within ten working days of the complaint.

If the panel considers that an investigation of the matter is not justified you will be informed of the reasons why. The decision of the panel may allow for the complaint to be resubmitted with further information.
If the panel determines that an investigation is warranted you will be informed of the name and contact details of the officer who has been appointed to investigate the complaint and a date when the investigation is expected to conclude.
All complaints received by the panel, including those subsequently investigated by an appointed officer, will be investigated fully, fairly, promptly and efficiently where the complaint is accompanied by clear evidence-based explanations.

If this deadline is not met then you will receive a progress report and an explanation of why it has not been possible to conclude the investigation within the original timescale.
At the conclusion of the investigation you will receive a letter from one of the panel setting out the following:

  • how the matter has been investigated

  • the findings of the investigation

  • what, if appropriate, ONS proposes to do to remedy the situation, and

  • what lessons we have learnt and any remedial action we have taken or will take as a result

Not satisfied?

If you are still not satisfied with the response you received, you can ask for your complaint to be referred to the Director General of ONS:
The Director General
Office for National Statistics
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
South Wales NP10 8XG

The Ombudsman

If all of the provisions within this procedure have been exhausted and your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction, then you may wish to contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman at:
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Telephone: 0345 015 4033

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