Guidance

Make a complaint about a multinational enterprise

How to make a complaint to the UK National Contact Point (UK NCP) if you think the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines have not been met.

Who can complain

Any interested party can file a complaint. The complainant may be, for example:

  • a community affected by a company’s activities
  • employees or their trades union
  • a non-government organisation (NGO)

A complainant may act on behalf of identified other parties.

When a complaint can be made

You can make a complaint if a company is breaching the OECD guidelines.

The guidelines are recommendations for responsible business conduct. Governments that adhere to the guidelines encourage their enterprises to observe them wherever they operate.

They cover a broad range of issues, including:

  • due diligence in the supply chain
  • disclosure
  • human rights
  • employment and industrial relations
  • environment
  • working to stop bribery
  • consumer interests
  • science and technology
  • competition
  • taxation

Raise a complaint

To raise a complaint with the UK NCP for initial assessment, your request should:

  • include the name of the complainant (or the lead complainant where a number of organisations or persons are involved), and:
    • full contact details (including email) of the complainant and their organisation (if relevant)
    • your identity and full contact details (if different)
  • explain your interest and mandate or reason for bringing the complaint, if you are bringing a complaint on behalf of others such as a local union or community
  • indicate the identity, structure and location of the company or organisation offices and why you consider this company is relevant to the UK NCP
  • provide detailed information on the alleged breaches including the chapter(s) and paragraph(s) in the guidelines that you consider the company to be breaching
  • provide detailed evidence and information that supports the allegations such as official documents, reports, studies, articles, witness statements to substantiate complaint; anecdotal statements or unsubstantiated allegations are not sufficient
  • provide details on dealings that you, or co-complainants have had with the company (including details of exchanges) relevant to the complaint
  • state what actions you consider the company should take to resolve the problem
  • state your objective in bringing the case
  • include any additional details that you wish to bring to the attention of the UK NCP and the company

In addition to the above you should also confirm that:

  • you are aware that all the information you provide to the UK NCP will be shared with the company; justification should be provided if you wish to make an exception and keep information confidential
  • you understand that the UK NCP’s approach to resolving complaints is in the first instance to facilitate conciliation or mediation between the complainant and the company

Complaint guidance

The OECD endorsed its latest guidelines on 25 May 2011. These were applied by the UK NCP with effect from 1 September 2011.

If your complaint is about actions that took place before 1 September 2011, you should refer to the version of the guidelines that applied before to confirm what requirements applied under the guidelines at that time.

The UK NCP’s guidance on bringing a complaint under the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises sets out the process for preparing a complaint and providing supporting material.

If the complaint includes issues relating to a company’s due diligence, you may also find it helpful to review the:

Complaint process

Find out about UK NCP’s complaint handling process.

Further guidance

The review procedure for dealing with complaints sets out the review process opened to the parties of a complaint when the UK NCP issues an initial assessment rejecting a complaint, or a final statement.

Contact UK NCP

For queries, complaints under the OECD guidelines, or inclusion on our mailing list, email us at UK.NCP@trade.gov.uk, or write to:

UK National Contact Point for the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises
Department for International Trade
3 Whitehall Place
London
SW1A 2AW

Published 12 December 2012
Last updated 22 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. Addition of link to OECD due diligence guidance for responsible business conduct.

  2. Added link to due diligence obligations - additional guidance under 'Raise a complaint' (with the UK NCP).

  3. Minutes of the 29th meeting of the UK National Contact Point steering board held on 17 September 2014 added.

  4. Added NCP steering board minutes for meetings held in Nov 2013, Feb 2014, May 2014.

  5. Added note of the 25th meeting of the UK National Contact Point (NCP) steering board.

  6. Added new case statement.

  7. A new initial assessment added to the 'what's new' February 2013

  8. Updated ''UK National Contact Point - what's new'' to add 2 initial assessment decisions

  9. First published.