Terms of reference

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is committed to providing an excellent service to our customers.

We demonstrate this in our communications with you. However, communication is a two way process and this document sets out what you can expect from us and what we expect of you.

What you can expect from MMO

How you will be treated

Our About our Services page outlines our Customer Charter, our 6-point customer promise and our commitment to delivering exceptional Customer service.

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
  • 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 cannot, 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 cannot transfer you, or the person you were transferred to cannot 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 via our social media channels, we may:

  • deal with your enquiry via social media if it is of a general nature
  • take your enquiry offline and respond to you by email, telephone or letter in line with the procedures above

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

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

The Marine licensing team has its own set of Service standards in addition to those outlined here.


At each stage of the complaints 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

What we expect from you

Our staff will always do their best to help customers and in return we expect you to behave appropriately and treat our staff with courtesy, consideration and respect as they carry out their work.

If you do not act appropriately it will make it difficult for us to deal with your complaint or query effectively.

Examples of inappropriate actions or behaviour

  • any form of physical violence towards our workers, including deliberate damage to property/vehicles or the use of animals to attack
  • verbal abuse
  • threatening emails
  • excessive volume of emails without permitting time for a response
  • inappropriate comments made on social media
  • negative references to individuals via social media
  • inappropriate banter, including innuendo
  • swearing and inappropriate language
  • malicious allegations
  • derogatory racial, sexual, ageist or homophobic remarks or comments relating to a disability, perceived gender, religion or belief or any other protected characteristic

This list is not exhaustive and included within the ambit of unreasonable behaviour is customer contact which because of its frequency, persistence, repetition, duration or content unreasonably hinders our ability to provide a service/deliver our work effectively.

Type of action we can take

In the event of inappropriate behaviour or actions we may need to limit your contact with us. We consider any decision to restrict contact with us very carefully and any action we take must be proportionate.

Prior to any action being considered, you will always be advised that your conduct was of concern. This will give you the opportunity to respond and change what was considered inappropriate. If the action/behaviour continues, the following measures may be taken:

  • telephone calls limited to specific named MMO individuals
  • telephone calls limited to days and/or times
  • blocking individual access to our social media channels and/or removing posting rights
  • contact limited to writing only
  • asking you to enter into a written agreement about the nature and/or content of your future contact
  • asking you to contact us through a third party of your choosing
  • all future communication on the issue ceases - any further correspondence on issues that have already been addressed, or that do not set out any new evidence issues, would be filed without response. Where contact is made by telephone, you would be informed that the call would be terminated
  • other action that could be taken includes reporting any threatening or abusive comments to the police
  • disengagement

Making you aware

We will always write to you setting out:

  • why your behaviour is considered inappropriate
  • what action is being imposed, and
  • if there is any particular time limit to our restrictions
  • how you can challenge the decision

Challenging the decision

You are able to challenge any decision we make to limit your contact by completing the form below and emailing it to info@marinemanagement.org.uk

Alternatively you are not able to use this method to appeal due to an impairment, disability or condition, we will accept an appeal submitted in an alternative format providing it contains all the information requested on the form.

You can appeal against a sanction once.

Appeal against sanction form

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