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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. If this happens we will do our best to quickly put matters right.

We 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.

Making a complaint

If you have a complaint about the quality of service or treatment you have received from us and you have been unable to informally resolve the problem with the member of staff you dealt with, you can complain to them by letter, email or using the official Complaints Form (40.4 Kb Pdf) .

On receipt of the complaint, the complainee has a responsibility to inform their manager.

Your complaint will be acknowledged within 3 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.

We aim to respond to your complaint promptly, and within 10 working days.

If this is not possible you will be told the reason and when you can expect a full reply.

The complaints manager

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 our complaints manager directly:

Sian Callaghan
Complaints Manager
Office for National Statistics
Room 1.101
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
South Wales NP10 8XG


What to include in the complaint

The complaints manager requests complaints in writing or by email so that we have a written and accurate record for use within our complaints procedure.

Your complaint should include as much specific evidence as possible, to make it easier for us to investigate it effectively. Please consider including the following information within the details of the 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.

When to submit the complaint

Complaints should be made as soon as possible after the event(s) which led to the complaint.

As a general rule, we will usually only investigate complaints that are made within 6 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 still fairly investigate the event.

Special requirements

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.

Complaints may be made in English or Welsh.

There is a separate complaints procedure for members of the UK Statistics Authority or its staff (see External links).

How we will deal with your complaint

The complaints manager will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of receipt.

On receipt, the complaints manager will chair a panel consisting of 2 members of the Senior Civil Service within ONS to review it.

The panel will decide, on the basis of the information provided, if further investigation is necessary.

You will be sent notification of the result of this initial review within 10 working days.

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 if further evidence is supplied.

If the panel determines that an investigation is necessary, you will be informed of the name and contact details of the person who will be investigating 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 person, will be investigated fully, fairly, promptly and efficiently, where the complaint is accompanied by clear evidence.

If this deadline is not met, 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, we propose 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 ONS procedures have been concluded and your complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction, 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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