Core complaints data

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We are responsible for the collection, monitoring and publication of rail customer complaints. ORR took on the data collection responsibility from the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2010.

ORR are responsible for monitoring compliance with how train operators handle customer complaints, this is known as the ‘Complaints handling procedure (CHP)’. The data we publish is used to monitor train and station operator’s compliance towards these policies.

Complaints data we publish

Every quarter we publish the following complaints data, at both national level and by train operator.

  • Complaints rate per 100,000 journeys
  • Complaints by category - detail about the type of complaints made
  • Complaints by contact method - the method customers use to make a complaint
  • Complaints responded to within 10 and 20 working days and the train operators own target - the response to the complaints

The complaints data can be accessed on our Data Portal, with statistics made available by quarter and financial year.

Complaints data submission

Train operators must use the complaints template (found within the related documents) to submit data to ORR from April 2016.

We have produced guidance to explain the requirements for the data collection (also within the related documents section).

Guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders is available.

For further information regarding complaints data or if you have any comments, please email rail.stats@orr.gov.uk.

ORR core data compliance reporting

Train operating companies (TOCs) are required to provide us with performance data in relation to their passenger-facing activities. This data provides a way for these companies to demonstrate they are complying with their obligations to passengers in relation to complaints handling procedures (CHPs), Disabled people's protection policies (DPPPs), and other consumer-related areas. It also allows us to monitor operators' progress in these areas over time and improves transparency and accountability for passengers.

As part of these arrangements we also require TOCs to sign a letter at the outset of each reporting year to provide assurance that the data they provide has been submitted following the consistent approach set out in the ORR core data guidance and is an accurate reflection of their performance.

Core data compliance reporting assurance from train companies - 2019-20

Background to complaints data
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In 2010, following an agreement with DfT, we took responsibility for collecting the complaints data directly from the train operating companies (TOCs).

Some of the benefits of the change in process were:

  • We received the data on a more frequent basis so were able to carry out more quality assurance on the data.
  • We were able to identify any data quality issues earlier in the process and liaise directly with TOCs to clarify these rather than contact them through DfT.
  • We provided TOCs with guidelines on how complaints data should be collected and processed, ensuring any methodological inconsistencies between TOCs were addressed.
  • We were aware of any delays in the data supply chain and could contact TOCs directly to ensure data would be delivered and there would be no delay to the publication of the National Rail Trends (NRT) official statistics.

In addition, as part of this transfer, we agreed to be responsible for undertaking a project with the aim of improving the quality of complaints statistics we publish. We are actively working with the TOCs to achieve this through focus groups with the data producers and visits to TOCs to get a better understanding of their systems and processes.