Complaints procedure

How to make a complaint about Natural England’s services.

Natural England aims to provide an excellent and consistent service to all our customers through our customer promise. If you’re not satisfied with any aspect of our service, let us know so we can resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

The complaints procedure is set out in 3 stages below. We will contact you by letter, email or telephone, so please provide us with your preferred form of contact details.

How to complain

You can complain directly to the customer.feedback@naturalengland.org.uk mailbox, or call our Enquiries team on 0300 060 3900.

You can also use our online complaints form.

We will record your complaint and ensure it’s dealt with by the most appropriate team or person.

If you’re unhappy with the response you receive at this stage, you can escalate your complaint to the relevant area or team manager.

If your complaint is about a Countryside Stewardship or Environmental Stewardship payment, please contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

What happens next

We will investigate your complaint. If we’re at fault, we will try to put things right. If not, we will give you a full explanation.

If you escalate your complaint to stage 1, we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 2 working days
  • confirm to you the response date

We’ll work to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible. If it’s going to take longer, we’ll let you know.

We’ll do all we can to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction. This may depend on the complexity of the complaint.

If you’re not satisfied

If you’re unhappy with the response you receive at stage 1, you can request escalation of your complaint to a team manager / leader at stage 2.

We will:

  • acknowledge your request to escalate the complaint to stage 2
  • advise you of the response date
  • pass the complaint to the team manager / leader of the person who originally investigated at stage 1

If you’re unhappy with the response you receive at stage 2, you can request escalation of your complaint to a director or manager at stage 3.

We will:

  • acknowledge your request to escalate the complaint to stage 3
  • advise you of the response date
  • appoint a handler to examine your complaint on behalf of our Chief Executive

The complaint handler may contact you to discuss your complaint. The response at stage 3 will be our final response.

If you feel Natural England has not resolved the issue at stage 3, you can refer your complaint to:

Exceptions to this process

Natural England may apply flexibility in determining the appropriate first stage for dealing with a complaint.

If you are not satisfied with your response at a stage, but do not wish to escalate to the next stage, Natural England will close your complaint.

If your complaint relates to an access to information request, you should contact the individual named in the original response you received or email foi@naturalengland.org.uk.

Further information

If we do not hear from you after sending the complaint response, we will close your complaint at the current stage.

If you come back to us with a complaint we have previously dealt with, we will reopen your complaint and escalate it to the next stage.

If you have already gone through all 3 stages of our complaints process, we will direct you to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (tel: 0345 015 4033)

In extreme circumstances, Natural England may decide to apply sanctions and / or partially or fully disengage with you. You will have the opportunity to make a complaint about this decision, which we will review at stage 3.

See Natural England's unacceptable customer behaviour policy (PDF, 168KB, 6 pages) for further information.