Complaints procedure

How to make a complaint about the Marine Management Organisation’s service.

Customer complaints process

We are committed to our customer charter and providing an exemplary service.

If you are not satisfied with any aspect of our service we encourage you to let us know and we will do our best to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

What you can expect from us

At each stage of the process we will acknowledge receipt of your concerns within five working days giving you a named contact point and telephone number for your complaint.

We will then strive to provide you with a full response to your complaint within 20 working days.

Stage 1

In most cases it is possible to resolve your complaint immediately by informing the person you are dealing with that you are not satisfied. So please make our staff aware of your complaint as soon as possible and we will do all we can to resolve it to your satisfaction.

Stage 2

If we have not resolved your complaint at stage one you can contact our Customer Manager by telephone, in writing or by email. Please explain the full details of your complaint, and the Customer Manager will carry out a thorough investigation into your concerns.

Customer Manager
Marine Management Organisation
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle upon Tyne

Telephone: 02080 265220


Stage 3

If after stage 2 you are not satisfied you can ask any Member of Parliament to refer complaints about administrative actions by the MMO to the Parliamentary Ombudsman (also known as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration).

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower

Complaints helpline: 0345 015 4033

Fax: 020 7217 4000



Serious misconduct by MMO staff and contractors

If you have a complaint or allegation that you consider to be so serious that it cannot be considered under the MMO’s customer complaints process, you should report it without delay to:

Claire Scutt (Board Secretariat and PA to Chair)
Marine Management Organisation,
Lancaster House,
Hampshire Court,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7YH

Telephone: 07766726517


Complaints against an MMO appointee to an Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (IFCA)

Complaints against an MMO appointee should be directed to the Chair of the IFCA (or MMO representative to the IFCA if the complaint is about the Chair).

In the first instance, the IFCA will deal with any complaint. If the IFCA Chair decides that the appointee has broken their terms and conditions of appointment the IFCA will contact the MMO, who will investigate, and if necessary, terminate the membership of the appointee.

If a complainant does not feel that the IFCA has addressed their concerns satisfactorily, they should contact the MMO at

Any evidence to support the concerns raised should be included. The MMO will then investigate, and if necessary, terminate the membership of the appointee.

Complaints against an IFCA

We are not responsible for the overall conduct of IFCAs. An IFCA is a committee of a local authority, or a joint committee of several local authorities. IFCAs also report against high level objectives set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Complaints against the overall conduct of an IFCA should be directed, in the following order, to:

  1. the Chair of the IFCA
  2. the sponsoring body in the relevant local authority
  3. the Local Government Ombudsman

The complainant should also inform the MMO of any complaint relating to structural or systematic issues with the IFCAs, which the Communications Team will pass on to the IFCA sponsorship team in Defra.

Service standards

These are the standards you can expect from us.

General enquiries

If you contact us by post or by email, we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your enquiry in writing within 5 working days
  • give you the name and telephone number for the person dealing with your enquiry
  • telephone or email you if we need more information to look at your request

If you have not given us a telephone number we will email or write to you, and try to provide you with a full response within 10 working days.

If your enquiry is classed as more complicated we will try to resolve it within 20 working days.

If you contact us by telephone:

  • the person you first speak to will try to resolve your enquiry - if they can not, they will try to transfer you to someone who can
  • we will try to return calls in response to messages by the next working day

If we can not transfer you, or the person you were transferred to can not resolve your query while you are on the line, we will send you a written acknowledgment of your enquiry with a named contact and telephone number within 5 working days. We will send you a full response within 10 working days. If your enquiry is classed as more complicated, we will try to resolve it within 20 working days.

If you make an enquiry in person:

  • we will try to resolve your enquiry at first point of contact
  • if we can’t, we will give you the name and contact number of the person who will deal with your enquiry

Other enquiries

We recognise that many of our customers’ requirements are not general enquiries, and we want you to be kept informed when you ask us to do something. We aim to work to the timeframes below when you send a request.

All timescales below are from when we receive a correctly completed and valid application or request or instruction.

Freedom of information requests and environmental information regulation requests

We will issue a full response either by providing the information requested, or by providing a full explanation as to why we can’t, within 20 working days.

In exceptional cases we may not be able to respond within 20 days. In these cases we will let you know as soon as possible and keep you fully informed on how your request is progressing. We will always respond within 40 working days.

Marine licensing

For projects that need an environmental impact assessment, we provide 95% of screening and scoping requests from our pre-application service within 6 weeks of receiving the request.

We provide a licence decision or application status update for 95% of applications within 10 weeks of receiving a validated application.

All other requirements

For anything not covered above, we’ll contact you within 10 working days of receiving your enquiry, telling you the name of the person who is dealing with your request and their contact details.