UK Central Government Complaint Standards


We use the following definitions in the Complaint Standards:

Colleagues: everyone who is employed by a central government organisation. This includes colleagues who interact with and support service users to use their service. It also includes colleagues who make decisions about the services they provide.

Complaint: an expression of dissatisfaction - either spoken or written - that requires a response. This can be about an act, an omission, how a decision was made, or the standard of service provided. It does not include dissatisfaction with a decision that has a right of appeal, or referral to or review by a tribunal or court of law.

Complaints colleagues: colleagues who have a specific responsibility to look into and investigate complaints. This may be as part of their existing role, or dedicated colleagues whose main responsibility is to handle complaints within their organisation.

Everyday conversations: service requests, issues, questions and worries that are raised, dealt with quickly and resolved to the service user’s satisfaction. This is done before they become dissatisfied or make a complaint.

Feedback: an opinion, whether invited or spontaneous, that can be positive, negative or neutral. It does not require a response.

Organisation: any organisation that provides central government services. These include parent departments, executive agencies, non-ministerial government departments, non-departmental public bodies and private service providers when they are delivering government services.

Parent department: any government department that provides central government services and has departmental responsibility for arms-length bodies and other executive agencies.

Representative: somebody who makes a complaint on behalf of a service user or supports them to make a complaint.

Senior leaders: people who are responsible for leading an organisation, including senior colleagues who have a specific responsibility for overseeing complaint handling.

Service user: a member of the public, or an entity such as a public or private company, a community interest company, an unincorporated association, or a charity who uses or is impacted by government services.