Complaints handling procedures


Information on complaints handling procedures for train and station operators.

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).

​Prior to 1 April 2023, ORR approved licence holders’ CHPs with reference to its published guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders, 2015.  

​From 1 April 2023, ORR will no longer approve licence holders’ CHPs. Instead, licence holders will be required to establish and comply with a CHP that complies with ORR’s Complaints Code of Practice.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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​The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme in the rail sector (the Rail Ombudsman) required changes to rail companies'  Complaints Handling Procedures (CHPs) and licences. 

In 2020 we published a Review of the Rail Ombudsman.

Decision letters

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Prior to 1 April 2023 ORR approved licence holders’ CHPs. View related decision letters.  


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​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 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 Transport Focus, London TravelWatch, the Rail Ombudsman and other third parties including, for example, the results of mystery shopping exercises. 
  • Bespoke research conducted by ORR or in conjunction with Transport Focus and London TravelWatch.
  • Consumer insight gained by way of individual consumer complaints made to ORR.

In 2024 we published a review of disabled passengers' experiences of complaints handling by train operators and a commissioned research report.

2015 guidance on complaints handling procedures

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​In September 2015 we published guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders. This followed a lengthy period of consultation with stakeholders. 

​On 1 April 2023 this guidance was replaced by ORR’s Complaints Code of Practice

Contact us

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For further information please email