Complaints procedure

How to complain about the service you get from the Department for Work and Pensions or from an organisation that provides its services.

If you are unhappy with the service you get from the Department for Work and Pensions or from an organisation that provides services on behalf of DWP, there are different ways you can complain.

If you think we’ve got something wrong, please let us know as soon as possible. If you are still unhappy after you have spoken to us, we will explain what you need to do next.

Complaining about our service

Each of our businesses has its own complaints procedure for its customers:

Complaints and appeals are different

We cannot treat a complaint as an appeal against a benefit decision.

Complaining about an organisation that provides a service for DWP

Other organisations sometimes provide DWP services, for example Work Programme providers. If you are unhappy with the service you have received from an organisation like this, you should complain to them first and give them a chance to put the matter right. If you are unhappy with their response they must tell you how you can take your complaint further.

If you remain unhappy with their final response to your complaint, you can ask the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) to investigate your complaint.

Appeals – if you think our benefit or child maintenance decision is wrong

If you think our decision is wrong, you can ask us to explain it. If you still think it is wrong after we have explained, we will look at it again.

For some decisions, you may also be able to appeal to an independent tribunal, which can change the decision if it agrees that it is wrong.

There are time limits for asking us to look at decisions again and for appealing.

There is more information about appeals and time limits in our appeals guide.

The Tribunals Service

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is an independent organisation that arranges and hears appeals against decisions on:

  • social security

  • child support

  • vaccine damage

  • tax credit

  • compensation recovery

Appeals process changes

We are changing the appeals process so that more DWP decisions that claimants disagree with can be resolved without being sent to HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

We want to prevent disputes. But if disputes occur, we want to resolve them as simply as possible and learn from them. From April 2013, we began to introduce changes which were part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

Complaining about the department

We want to give a good service to everyone who deals with us.

Each of our businesses has its own complaints procedure. To complain about one of our businesses, use the links in the Complaining about our service section.

If you are dissatisfied with anything we, as a department, not our businesses, have done or not done, please let us know this either in writing – by post, email or fax – or by phoning, to the manager of the part of the department concerned.

We will investigate your complaint fully and objectively. We will aim to get back to you within 2 weeks to tell you whether we accept it and, if so, what we are doing to put matters right. If we do not accept your complaint we will give you our reasons.

If you are still dissatisfied, you can ask us to take a second, and final, look at the issue. This will be done by a member of our staff who is more senior to the person who reviewed the complaint originally.