Complaints handling procedures
This webpage provides information on complaints handling procedures and is aimed at train and station operators.
Information specifically for passengers on making a complaint is also available.
Proposals to introduce an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme in the rail sector will require changes to rail companies' Complaints Handling Procedures (CHPs). We are consulting on these changes.
Guidance on complaints handling procedures
Train and station operators are required by their operating licences to establish and comply with a procedure for handling complaints relating to licensed activities from customers and potential customers. This procedure is known as the 'complaints handling procedure' (CHP) and it is approved and monitored by ORR.
In September 2015 we published new guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders, 2015 . This followed a lengthy period of PDF, 337 Kbconsultation with stakeholders.
A good complaints handling procedure should:
- resolve individual complaints promptly and fairly, taking account of the reasonable interests of the complainant, including providing compensation as appropriate; and
- lead to continuous improvement, so that in the medium term the root causes of complaints are addressed and systemic solutions are put in place.
We want to see organisational cultures that support and encourage these objectives and embedded arrangements that effectively regulate themselves, minimising the need for our direct involvement.
Our guidance for licence holders provides direction on what ORR will look for when exercising our approval role and when monitoring for continuing compliance. The guidance is designed to support licence holders in: PDF, 337 Kb
- providing an easily accessible complaints handling service to customers;
- developing and maintaining sound customer-centric complaints handling protocols and practices;
- using empirical data and evidence relating to complaints to drive through service improvements; and
- understanding how we will regulate in this area.
Approval of CHPs for new franchises or new operators
Newly licensed operators or those with new franchise awards must establish and comply with a procedure to handle complaints.
For more in information please get in touch with us at CHP@orr.gsi.gov.uk.
Once we have given our approval to a CHP we will publish a decision letter summarising areas of good practice and innovation, alongside a copy of the final CHP.
- Approval of London North Eastern Railway Limited’s (LNER) CHP 17/08/2018
- Approval of West Midlands Trains Limited's CHP 08/12/2017
- Approval of First MTR South Western Trains Limited's CHP 10/08/2017 PDF, 965 Kb
- Approval of Locomotive Services (TOC) Limited's CHP 03/08/2017 PDF, 550 Kb
- Approval of Caledonian Sleeper CHP 04/05/2017 PDF, 1,852 Kb
- Approval of Eurostar CHP 27/03/2017 PDF, 187 Kb
- Approval of Heathrow Express CHP 24/02/2017 PDF, 1,606 Kb
- Approval of Grand Central CHP 14/02/2017 PDF, 1,329 Kb
- Approval of Glasgow Prestwick CHP 16/01/2017 PDF, 1,006 Kb
- Approval of London Underground CHP 09/11/2016 PDF, 309 Kb
- Approval of GWR CHP 07/11/2016 PDF, 2,799 Kb
- Approval of TfL Rail CHP 09/11/2016 PDF, 305 Kb
- Approval of Arriva Rail London (London Overground) CHP 07/11/2016 PDF, 292 Kb
- Approval of London Midland CHP 01/11/2016 PDF, 181 Kb
- Approval of Govia Thameslink Railway and Southern CHP 20/10/16 PDF, 268 Kb
- Approval of Greater Anglia CHP 06/10/2016 PDF, 809 Kb
- Approval of Virgin Trains East Coast CHP 03/10/2016 PDF, 6,392 Kb
- Approval of Chiltern Railways CHP 29/09/2016 PDF, 2,655 Kb
- Approval of South West Trains CHP 27/09/2016 PDF, 701 Kb
- Approval of Virgin Trains CHP 23/09/2016 PDF, 1,195 Kb
- Approval of Tyne and Wear Metro CHP 21/09/2016 PDF, 1,155 Kb
- Approval of Hull Trains CHP 19/09/2016 PDF, 607 Kb
- Approval of Stobart Rail CHP 22/08/2016 PDF, 1,595 Kb
- Approval of Arriva Trains Wales Limited 22/08/2016 Updated 01/10 to reflect changes to the consumer Rights Act. PDF, 3,744 Kb
- Approval of London Overground CHP 15/08/2016 PDF, 742 Kb
- Approval of Southeastern CHP 15/08/2016 PDF, 193 Kb
- Approval of Abellio Greater Anglia CHP 11/08/2016 PDF, 417 Kb
- Approval of Network Rail CHP 11/08/2016 - (Updated 21/09/2016) PDF, 767 Kb
- Approval of Rail Operations Group CHP 25/07/2016 PDF, 1,812 Kb
- Approval of CrossCountry CHP - 14/06/2016 updated 01/10 to reflect changes to the Consumer Rights Act PDF, 969 Kb
- Approval of Merseyrail's CHP - 18/03/2016 PDF, 2,039 Kb
- Approval of Northern's CHP - 17/03/2016 PDF, 503 Kb
- Approval of TransPennine Express CHP - 15/03/2016 PDF, 339 Kb
- Approval of ScotRail's CHP - 03/03/2016 PDF, 750 Kb
- Approval of East Midlands Trains CHP - 05/02/2016 updated 01/10 to reflect changes to Consumer Rights Act PDF, 843 Kb
- Approval of MTR Crossrail CHP and DPPP - 27/05/2015 PDF, 3,182 Kb
- Approval of Abellio ScotRail CHP and DPPP - 30/03/2015 PDF, 1,394 Kb
- Approval of Serco Caledonian's CHP and DPPP - 05/03/2015 PDF, 1,527 Kb
- Approval of c2c's CHP - 29/10/2014 PDF, 345 Kb
Full details of how ORR expects to monitor on-going compliance with licence holders' CHPs is set out in section 4 of the guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders 2015 . PDF, 337 Kb
To monitor for compliance and the effectiveness of individual CHPs we will use evidence such as:
- Core data sets, including information on the number, type, and underlying cause of complaints.
- The ease with which passengers can make complaints, for example the accessibility of website information, passenger information leaflets provided at stations and information made available through social media.
- Other relevant information published by licence holders such as the level of proactivity around communicating entitlements to compensation.
- Feedback from TF and LTW and other third parties including, for example, the results of mystery shopping exercises.
- Bespoke research conducted by ORR or in conjunction with TF and LTW.
- Consumer insight gained by way of individual consumer complaints made to ORR, TF and LTW.