We are committed to providing high standards of customer service. 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.
Written requests for advice
Following the recent change to data protection law, there is currently a very high demand for our frontline services and it is taking us a significant amount of time to answer email enquiries. But if you provide us with a daytime telephone number we may be able to contact you sooner than if you don’t.
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 concerns to us will help us to do that.
Before reporting a concern 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 concern. We aim to reach an outcome in 90% of concerns cases within six months.
If you do want to raise concerns 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. In some cases an undue delay will mean that we will not consider the matter at all.
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.
It is up to us to decide whether or not 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 concerns 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 concerns 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.
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.
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, large format print or textphone. Please let us know what your particular needs are and we will do our best to help. See our service adjustment policy for more information.
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 concerns, 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 10 working days.
The Information Commissioner will not respond to your service complaint personally, even if you write directly to her. She has 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 manager, who will look at what we have done and why.
Once a manager has considered your complaint they will tell you what they have decided. The manager 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 (www.ombudsman.org.uk) 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
Fax: 0116 249 4253
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.