Complaints procedure

How to complain if you’re unhappy with the service you get from the Department for Transport or one of its agencies or other bodies.

Making a complaint to the Department for Transport’s agencies or other bodies

Each of our agencies and other bodies has its own complaints procedure. Please click on the appropriate link below for further details.

Other public bodies in the DfT family operate their own separate complaints procedures. If you have a complaint about the service provided by one of those bodies, please contact the organisation direct.

Making a complaint to the Department for Transport

Step 1

To make a complaint about our service, use the complaints form.

Or you can write to:

Maladministration Complaints
Department for Transport
D/04, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

Telephone: 0300 330 3000

The responsible policy division will consider the complaint and respond in writing within 20 working days of the complaint being received in the department.

Data protection

Each part of DfT has its own separate complaints handling process. The personal data and other information you provide will be passed to the relevant part of DfT or to the relevant DfT family delivery body (eg DVLA, DVSA or Highways England) so that your complaint can be investigated and responded to by the appropriate team or body. The personal data you provide will be used only in relation to the handling of your complaint. Where the complaint is for the central DfT to respond to, your data will be held for up to 4 years and then deleted. Where your complaint is for a DfT agency or other delivery body to respond to, your data will be held in accordance with that body’s retention policy for complaints.

Find out more about DfT’s privacy policy.

Step 2

If you have been through step 1 and are not happy with the outcome, then you can ask that your complaint be passed to the head of the division you have been dealing with. You can ask that your complaint is passed onto their line manager if the complaint is about the head of division themselves or if the head of division considered your complaint at step 1.

You will receive an acknowledgment of your complaint within 5 working days and the department will aim to send you a full response within 20 working days. Please note that the central department is not able to consider complaints that relate to the Department for Transport’s agencies or other bodies. Each agency and public body has its own separate complaints procedure which you will need to follow.

The Independent Complaints Assessor

If you feel your complaint is still unresolved after going through the above complaints procedure, and your complaint is about the quality of the service we have provided or a member of our staff, you can ask us to refer your complaint to a Department for Transport Independent Complaints Assessor (ICA).

Details of how to ask for your complaint to be referred to an ICA will be included with the step 2 complaint response.

Find out more information about what the ICAs cover and how to complain to them.

Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

There may be times when you’ve tried to resolve the complaint with us direct, including having received an independent review by the ICA, and you’re still dissatisfied.

If so, you may want to ask a Member of Parliament to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

You can find out more on the PHSO website.

It’s important to follow the steps in the complaints process as set out above for the central department, or for the agency or other body that you’ve been dealing with. The ICA and PHSO will both expect you to have tried to resolve your complaint at the earlier stages of our complaints procedure before they look into it.

Complaints about legislation or government policy

This page tells you how to complain if you’re unhappy with our service to you.

This complaints procedure does not cover complaints about government policies or laws. If you want to complain about a policy or a law you should contact the department or your local MP.

Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, Data Protection Act

Step 1

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request for information (ie an FOI request or a request handled under the Environmental Information Regulations), or with the decisions made in relation to your request, you may complain in writing to:

FOI Team
Zone D/04
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
East Sussex TN37 7GA


An independent DfT official who was not involved in making the original decision will then carry out an internal review of our department’s handling of your request. We aim to complete internal reviews within 20 working days, although in complex cases we may occasionally need longer. The independent reviewer will write to you setting out their decision.

You should also write to the same address if you have a complaint about our publication scheme.

Step 2

If you are unhappy with the results of DfT’s internal review, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner.

If you have a question about the outcome of a Data Protection Act query please contact the Data Protection Officer.