The ICO exists to empower you through information.

What happens when I submit my complaint to the ICO?

When you complain to us, if it is something we can help with one of our case officers will look into it.

The case officer will:

  • weigh up the facts of what’s happened, fairly and impartially;
  • ask you and the organisation for further information, if they think they need it; and
  • tell you the outcome.

If we think there’s been an infringement of the law, we will usually provide advice so the organisation can put things right and improve their information rights practices. We deal with most complaints in this way without the need to take further regulatory action.

How we consider complaints

We have considerable discretion when considering complaints.

We will put more resource into exploring an issue if the matter appears to give us an opportunity to improve information rights practice or there is significant harm or detriment to the individual(s) affected.

There are a series of factors case officers will consider to help them initially assess the complaint and consider the opportunity it may give us to improve information rights practice. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The severity of the potential infringement - the case officer will consider whether the matter is serious, in terms of the nature of the data affected, the number of people affected, and the effect (or likely effect) on the individual(s) concerned. The more serious the issue, the more likely it is we will invest more time in pursuing this with the organisation.
  • How an organisation has dealt with any related complaint raised -the case officer will consider how well the organisation engaged with the member of the public, whether and how well they explained what happened and whether they made reasonable attempts to rectify any problems.
  • The context - the case officer will also consider any other relevant information we may hold about the matter, the organisation, or the sector along with our own regulatory priorities.

In summary, we take a proportionate approach and invest the most time on those cases where we can have the most impact in line with ICO25.

How long will it take to deal with my complaint?

We aim to deal with complaints as soon as we can. Some complaints can be dealt with quickly but some may require more work and take longer.