Complaints procedure

How to complain about the service you get from the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

Our commitment

OPSS is committed to providing a high quality, accessible and responsive service.

We take all complaints very seriously and we welcome any comments or complaints about our service, including when we get things wrong.

Types of complaint we can help with

Any person or organisation affected by our activities is entitled to make a complaint to us. We will treat any expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for a response as a complaint.

We are unlikely to investigate a complaint relating to matters that took place more than a year ago unless there are particular circumstances that mean we judge it appropriate to do so.

This procedure covers complaints about:

  • the standard of service we provide
  • the behaviour of our staff
  • any action or lack of action by us that affects a particular individual, group or business sector
  • any unfair treatment of stakeholders by members of our staff
  • our policies and procedures, and any failure to follow these

The term ‘business’ is used throughout this procedure to refer to any legal entity that is regulated by OPSS, including any form of business, individual, charity, public sector body or other form of organisation.

This procedure does not cover:

  • Matters that have already been fully investigated through this complaints procedure. Your options in this situation are explained at If you’re not satisfied below.

  • Anonymous complaints. We will record information received anonymously and will consider whether it indicates a need to take any action.

  • Complaints about access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 or the General Data Protection Regulation. Information about your rights to access information is available in our Privacy notice.

  • Complaints about the content of legislation that we enforce but where we are not the policy owner. We will pass such complaints to the policy owner, whether within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy or another government department, and will let you know that we have done this.

  • Challenges to our regulatory actions by the business concerned. If your concern relates to regulatory action that we are taking in relation to your business, your rights to challenge our action or to appeal against it are explained in our Challenges and appeals guidance, available via this link or by calling 0121 345 1201.

  • Complaints, allegations or information about the behaviour or actions of businesses we regulate. The way in which we deal with complaints, allegations or information about a failure to comply with legal requirements is explained in our Service standards, available via this link or by calling 0121 345 1201.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our service, we recommend you try an informal approach to resolve your issue in the first instance as it could be quicker and might be all that is needed to conclude the matter to your satisfaction. You can make an informal approach by telling the member of staff you are dealing with in the first instance about your issue, or by contacting their line manager. To obtain contact details for the relevant line manager please call our Processing Team on 0121 345 1201. We should tell you what can be done to deal with your complaint and how and when we can respond.

If this informal route is not suitable for your particular complaint or you have already tried to resolve an issue this way you may choose to take a more formal approach.

Making a formal complaint

We have a two-stage complaints process. At each stage, it helps us to deal quickly with your complaint if you can:

  • state that you are making a formal complaint
  • provide the team and contact name (if you have one)
  • confirm whether this is a new complaint or a follow-up to a previous reply
  • set out clearly your concern
  • give us as much information as possible, including the names of any of our staff that you are complaining about
  • clearly explain your desired outcome
  • include any documents or correspondence in support of your complaint
  • provide your full postal address, phone number and email address (if you have one)

It is helpful if you can explain at this stage what you think we need to do differently.

Stage one: complaint

You can make your complaint by contacting the Processing Team Manager by email to opss.enquiries@beis.gov.uk, or in writing to:

Processing Team Manager (Complaints)
PO Box 17200
Birmingham B2 2YT

On receipt of your complaint, we will ask an appropriate manager in the relevant department or team to manage the case. It is likely that the manager will want to speak to you directly to confirm their understanding of the issue.

We aim to answer all complaints within 20 working days. When we can’t do this, we will explain why and give you a date by which you can expect a full reply.

We expect most complaints to be resolved at this stage.

What happens next

Stage two: Ask for a review

If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive after we have examined your initial complaint, you may request a review of the decision. You should do so within 28 days of receiving the response, by contacting the Processing Team Manager by email or letter.

Please explain clearly why you’re unhappy with our response so far and what you would like us to do to get your complaint resolved.

This review will be undertaken by an independent senior official within the department.

Our standards for handling formal complaints

  • We will accept complaints in writing – by email or letter – or by telephone.
  • We will treat all complaints seriously.
  • We will treat you fairly and courteously.
  • We will ensure, wherever possible, that staff tasked with investigating or dealing with your complaint have not been directly involved in any activities that may affect their objectivity or impartiality in respect of the subject of your complaint.
  • We will deal with your complaint promptly:
    • We will acknowledge initial receipt of a written complaint within 5 working days of receipt, using the contact details that you provide to us.
    • We will aim to provide a full response within 20 working days of receipt of the complaint.
    • If we cannot respond fully within 20 working days of receipt of your complaint, we will tell you, explain why and give you a date by which you can expect an update.
    • If you ask for our response to be reviewed in line with stage two of our complaints process, we will acknowledge this within 5 working days of receipt and aim to respond fully within 20 working days.
    • If we cannot respond fully within 20 working days of receipt of a request to review our response, we will tell you, explain why and give you a date by which you can expect an update.
  • All complaints will be logged so that we can monitor the types of complaints received and the time taken to respond to them and identify the best way of dealing with them.
  • We publish an annual delivery report and may include information in this report about complaints received about our enforcement and market surveillance activities. Any such information will be anonymised.

Your complaint will be treated with discretion and we will handle your personal information in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Details on how we will use your personal data, and your rights are set out in our Privacy notice.

If you’re not satisfied

If you’ve gone through both stages of our complaints process and you are still not satisfied, you can contact your Member of Parliament and ask for your complaint to be referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). The PHSO can carry out independent investigations into complaints that injustice has been caused by maladministration on the part of UK government departments.

You can find out who your MP is at www.parliament.uk or by calling the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

Further advice is available from the Ombudsman’s office:

The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman
Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
Millbank Tower
Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP

0345 015 4033

opca-enqu@ombudsman.org.uk