Changes to complaints handling

Consultation on modifying licence condition 6 (complaints handling)

Date published: 26 July 2018
Closing date: 20 September 2018

Following the outcome of our consultation regarding changes complaints handling guidance (see below) we have published a consultation on modifying licence condition 6 to make membership of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme in the rail sector a mandatory requirement. The consultation closes on Thursday 20 September 2018.

How to respond

We would welcome your views by 20 September 2018. Please send your response in writing or by email to:

Consumer Policy Team
Office of Rail and Road
One Kemble Street

Publishing your response

We plan to publish all responses to this consultation on our website. This may include your personal data such as your name and job title.

Should you wish any information that you provide, including personal data, to be treated as confidential, please be aware that this may be subject to publication, or release to other parties or to disclosure, in accordance with the access to information regimes. These regimes are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Under the FOIA, there is a statutory code of practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, if you are seeking confidentiality for information you are providing, please explain why. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on ORR.

If you are seeking to make a response in confidence, we would also be grateful if you would annex any confidential information, or provide a non-confidential summary, so that we can publish the non-confidential aspects of your response.

Any personal data you provide to us will be used for the purposes of this consultation and will be handled in accordance with our privacy notice which sets out how we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.


In responding to this consultation you consent to us:

  • handling your personal data for the purposes of this consultation;
  • publishing your response on our website (unless you have indicated to us that you wish for your response to be treated as confidential as set out above.)

Your consent to either of the above can be withdrawn at any time. Further information about how we handle your personal data and your rights is set out in our privacy notice.

Format of responses

So that we are able to apply web standards to content on our website, we would prefer that you email us your response either in Microsoft Word format or OpenDocument Text (.odt) format.

If you do send us a PDF document, please:

  • create it from the electronic Word file (preferably using Adobe Acrobat), as opposed to an image scan, where possible; and
  • ensure that the PDF's security method is set to no security in the document properties.

Consultation document

Modification to Passenger Licence Condition 6 (Complaints Handling): a consultation
26 July 2018

Changes to complaints handling guidance

Consultation outcome

Our decision letter details the outcome of our September 2017 consultation regarding the changes necessary to complaints handling guidance to facilitate the introduction of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme in the rail sector (the Rail Ombudsman).

Changes to complaints handling guidance – decision letter
Published 8 February 2018

Our decision is that:

  • consumers should be signposted directly to the ADR scheme;
  • the time limit for signposting should be eight weeks; and
  • we are minded to modify the complaints handling licence condition to require membership of an ADR scheme within six months of scheme commencement and will consult on doing so.

Consultation responses
Published 8 February 2018

September 2017 consultation

Date published: 26 September 2017
Closing date: 7 November 2017

Proposals to introduce an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme in the rail sector will require changes to rail companies' Complaints Handling Procedures (CHPs). We have consulted on these changes.

Consultation document

Changes to complaints handling guidance - A consultation
26 September 2017

  • We sought views on the organization(s) to which consumers should be signposted when their complaint is unresolved.
  • We set out options for a time limit for informing consumers of their right to go to the ADR scheme.
  • We sought views on whether regulatory intervention is necessary to require membership of an ADR scheme.
  • We set out clarifications to the existing CHP guidance.

The Rail Minister has been leading discussions regarding the introduction of voluntary binding ADR in the rail sector which builds upon the current advocacy arrangements.

The Rail Delivery Group, working with others as part of an Ombudsman Task Force, has developed proposals which they envisage will see an ADR scheme for rail passengers introduced on a voluntary basis in early 2018.

A new ADR scheme will change the way that rail companies deal with complaints, and require changes to be made to their CHPs. In the consultation document we seek views those changes.