Complaints Code of Practice

Consultation status
Conclusions published
Date of publication
Closing date

In August 2021 we launched a consultation on replacing our current guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders with a new Complaints Code of Practice (CoP).

In June 2022 we published our response to that consultation and launched a second consultation on a revised draft of the CoP, and on the draft Licence condition that would give effect to these changes.

We have now published our decision document which sets out a high-level summary of the views submitted by respondents to our June 2022 consultation, our response, and the changes we have made to the final CoP. 

Stakeholders were broadly supportive of the changes we made in the second draft of the CoP, meaning that the amendments we are making to the final CoP are small in number. The final CoP is published below. 

Our next step will be to publish a statutory consultation in which we will seek licence holders’ consent to amend their licences to give effect to these changes. We published the statutory consultation on 20 October.

Alongside our decision document we have published:

June 2022 consultation Collapse accordion Open accordion

These documents were published on 28 June 2022 as part of our second consultation on a revised draft of the CoP. 

August 2021 consultation Collapse accordion Open accordion

In this consultation we set out proposals to replace our current guidance on complaints handling procedures for licence holders with a new Complaints Code of Practice and amended licence condition.

This consultation delivers on our intent, as set out in our annual rail consumer report,  to review our current complaints handling guidance to ensure it remains fit for purpose and has kept pace with passenger expectations. 

Alongside this consultation, we have also published two research reports which have informed our proposals:

  • A review of good practice in complaints handling procedures and guidance, produced by Queen Margaret University Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre
  • ORR complaints handling survey: statistical analysis of the key drivers of satisfaction, produced by Critical Research

Related documents

Consultation on a draft complaints code of practice August 2021

A review of good practice in complaints handling procedures and guidance

Complaints handling survey 2021 statistical analysis

Complaints handling procedure guidance 2015

Publishing your response Collapse accordion Open accordion

We plan to publish all responses to this consultation on our website.

Should you wish for any information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that this may be subject to publication, or release to other parties or to disclosure, in accordance with the access to information regimes. These regimes are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Under the FOIA, there is a statutory code of practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, if you are seeking confidentiality for information you are providing, please explain why. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on ORR.

If you are seeking to make a response in confidence, we would also be grateful if you would annex any confidential information, or provide a non-confidential summary, so that we can publish the non-confidential aspects of your response.

Any personal data you provide to us will be used for the purposes of this consultation and will be handled in accordance with our privacy notice which sets out how we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.


In responding to this consultation you consent to us:

  • handling your personal data for the purposes of this consultation;
  • publishing your response on our website (unless you have indicated to us that you wish for your response to be treated as confidential as set out above.)

Your consent to either of the above can be withdrawn at any time. Further information about how we handle your personal data and your rights is set out in our privacy notice.

Format of responses

So that we are able to apply web standards to content on our website, we would prefer that you email us your response either in Microsoft Word format or OpenDocument Text (.odt) format. ODT files have a fully open format and do not rely on any specific piece of software.

If you send us a PDF document, please:

  • create it directly from an electronic word-processed file using PDF creation software (rather than as a scanned image of a printout); and
  • ensure that the PDF's security method is set to no security in the document properties.