Changes to complaints handling guidance

Consultation outcome

Our decision letter details the outcome of our 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.