The ICO exists to empower you through information.

I ddarllen y tudalen yma yn Cymraeg, dewiswch ‘Cymraeg’ ar y dewisydd iaith isod.

We are committed to providing high standards of customer service in line with our Service Charter. We aim to keep our promises, keep our customers informed and communicate clearly. 

Calls to our helpline – 0303 123 1113 

If you call us with a general enquiry about the matters we regulate, in most cases the first person you speak to will be able to deal with it. If we need to call you back, we will aim to do this within one business day or at a time more convenient to you.

If we are already dealing with a matter you have raised and you want to discuss it, please call the number given to you by your case officer.

We also welcome calls in Welsh.

Data Protection Complaints

We want to know how organisations are doing when they are handling information rights issues. We also want to improve the way they deal with the personal information they are responsible for. Reporting your complaints to us will help us to do that.

Before reporting a complaint to us, we expect you to give the organisation the opportunity to consider it first. In order for us to look at their information rights practices we need you to provide us with their reply.
Where appropriate, we will give you advice about how we think the law applies to your issue or complaint. We aim to reach an outcome in 90% of complaints cases within six months.

If you do want to raise complaints about an organisation then we suggest that you do so within three months of receiving their final response to the issues raised. Waiting longer than that can affect the decisions that we reach.

Our role is not to investigate or adjudicate on every individual complaint. We are not an ombudsman. But we will consider whether there is an opportunity to improve the practice of the organisations we regulate and we will share our decisions with you. Please note that in some cases, where there has been an undue delay in raising a complaint, we will not consider the matter at all.

It is up to us to decide whether we should take further action. Even where we decide that further action is not required at the moment, perhaps because the organisation has made a mistake but is working to put things right, we will keep complaints on file. This will help us over time to build a picture of an organisation’s information rights practices.

We may ask organisations to explain to us what they have done in response to issues or complaints raised. We will publish details of improvements and give you the opportunity to sign up to our newsletter, giving regular updates of the action we are taking.

If you are seeking personal redress or compensation for the way an organisation has dealt with your personal information, you will need to pursue this independently through the courts or with an industry's own ombudsman or regulatory body.

Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Complaints

We want to improve public authorities’ information rights practices and investigating your FOIA and EIR complaints will help us to do this.

We are the independent regulator of FOIA and the EIR. We handle complaints impartially and don’t act on behalf of individuals or public authorities. The Commissioner does not investigate cases personally and has delegated this responsibility to case officers.

If you want to raise a complaint with us about a public authority’s handling of your request for information, then we ask that you do so within six weeks of receiving your final response or last substantive contact with the public authority. Waiting longer than this can affect the decisions we reach. In most cases an undue delay will mean that we will not consider the matter at all. If the public authority has not provided you with an initial response to your request, then you are asked to provide us with evidence that you have attempted to resolve this issue directly with the public authority in the first instance.

We will adopt early resolution principles where possible, ensuring that investigations are proportionate to the issues raised in the complaint. We will also explore resolving cases informally without a decision notice if it could resolve the complaint more quickly, use our resources more proportionally and result in a better outcome for all parties.

If the complaint is not resolved informally we will issue a decision notice. This is a formal document that records the Commissioner’s decision in a particular case. It may require the public authority to take remedial steps. We aim to resolve 90% of FOIA and EIR complaint cases within six months of receiving an eligible complaint, and 99% of all complaints within twelve months of receipt.

During the investigation you can expect to be provided with updates and we will respond to your correspondence in line with the customer charter. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all we do. We will treat everyone with politeness and consideration, and expect the same in return.

We will use our formal powers in an impactful and proportionate way, in line with our Regulatory Action Policy. In particular we will issue information notices and decision notices, and will enforce these where required.


If you contact us to apply for, change or renew a registration under the Data Protection Act you can expect us to process your request within seven calendar days of receiving it. Your request is valid from the date it arrives in our office.

Service adjustments

We can provide information about our service in different formats and languages, and we can adapt the way we communicate with you depending on your needs - for example, by phone, live chat or large format print. Please let us know what your particular needs are and we will do our best to help. See our Reasonable Adjustment Policy for more information.

Service for individuals who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment

If you need to contact us via the phone and you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the free BT service Relay UK.

Install the free app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, which you can access on your app store. Then our advice line on 0303 123 1113, Mon - Fri, 9am-5pm.

The Relay UK service itself is free. You'll only pay your normal charges for the calls.

If you want to use your textphone to contact us, dial 18001 followed by 0303 123 1113.

Alternatively, you can also contact us using our livechat.

Treating our staff with dignity and respect

We are committed to providing excellent customer service to everyone who contacts us in a respectful, courteous and polite manner.

As an employer, we have a duty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our staff. The ICO does not expect its staff to tolerate abusive, threatening, demeaning or offensive behaviour either verbally or in writing.
Similarly, we do not expect our staff to deal with someone who, because of the frequency of their contact, places a strain on time and resources and causes undue stress for staff.

Where we identify this behaviour we may restrict your contact with us in line with our Unreasonably Persistent and Unacceptable Behaviour Policy.

Feedback about our service

All feedback about our service is valuable to us. Just as we want to hear about organisations that we regulate, your feedback about how you have been treated by the ICO helps us understand what we are doing well, need to put right or improve.

Complaints about the ICO

If you think we should have done something differently in how we have handled your complaints, or how we have treated you, you can complain.

If you make your complaint by telephone we will do our best to deal with it. However, it may be necessary to ask you to put your complaint in writing so we can consider it clearly.

If you do want to make a complaint then you should do so within three months of receiving our service. Waiting longer than that can affect our ability to look into the complaint that you raise. In some cases an undue delay will mean that we will not consider the matter at all. We will acknowledge your complaint within 14 calendar days. See our Service Complaints Policy for more information.

The Information Commissioner will not respond to your service complaint personally, even if you write directly to them. They have delegated responsibility for reviewing our service in specific cases to managers.

In most cases, the person who dealt with you will first check to see if they can resolve your complaint by providing you with some further information or clarification about any decisions they have reached. If they can't do that, they will share your complaint with an appropriate reviewing officer, who will look at what we have done and why.

Once a reviewing officer has considered your complaint they will tell you what they have decided. The officer should reply within 30 calendar days of the complaint being raised with them.

We will also share general information about the complaints we receive on our website. We will include what most complaints are about and where appropriate, how we have used those complaints to improve our service.

Complaining to the Ombudsman

If, after we have considered your complaint, you remain dissatisfied with our service, or you think we have not acted properly or fairly, you can take the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Complaints to the Ombudsman must be made through an MP. For further information about the Ombudsman please visit its website ( or call its Helpline on 0845 015 4033.

If your complaint is about the way we have interpreted the law then the Ombudsman cannot help you. If you want to challenge our interpretation of the law, you should consider seeking legal advice.

Disagreeing with freedom of information decisions

If you disagree with a decision notice we have issued about your Freedom of Information Act complaint, the law does not allow us to review our decision. Instead, you can appeal to the First–tier Tribunal (Information Rights).

First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights)
GRC & GRP Tribunals,
PO Box 9300,

Tel: 0203 936 8963

Email: [email protected]

Website: First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) 

Unless special circumstances apply a notice of appeal must be served on the Tribunal within 28 days of the date on which decision notice was served on or given to you.

Please note that the Tribunal does not consider complaints about decisions we have made under the Data Protection Act or the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

Freedom of Information Act requests to the ICO

If you made a request to the ICO under the Freedom of Information Act for information we may hold, and you would like us to review our response, please see our internal review policy.