Complaints about Ofcom


We always do our best to meet the needs of businesses, customers, viewers and listeners.

But sometimes things can go wrong – or we can fall short of our own high standards.

If you think Ofcom colleagues have failed to correctly follow procedure or that we didn’t handle our contact with you appropriately, we have a two-stage process for handling your complaint, which is outlined below.

The Corporation Secretary’s investigation is not an appeals process. They cannot reinvestigate the outcome of any original decision by Ofcom, nor can they make decisions on behalf of other Ofcom departments.

Examples of what can and cannot be investigated

  1. Somebody has complained to Ofcom by email and thinks Ofcom has been rude in its response. This concerns how Ofcom colleagues have handled contact and so can be investigated under the Corporation Secretary process.
  2. Somebody has submitted a licence application and has concerns that Ofcom has not handled their application in line with the relevant guidance or procedures. This concerns whether Ofcom colleagues have correctly followed Ofcom procedure and so can be investigated under the Corporation Secretary process.
  3. Somebody disagrees with Ofcom’s decision regarding whether a television programme was in breach of the Broadcasting Code. This concerns a decision made by Ofcom, as opposed to whether Ofcom colleagues correctly followed procedure or handled their contact with the complainant appropriately. This cannot be considered under the Corporation Secretary process as it does not fall within the remit of that process.

Stage one

Under stage one, we first ask that you contact the Ofcom team your complaint relates to, outlining your concerns. This gives them the chance to look into your concerns and, where needed, to put things right. In these cases, our colleagues will need to understand, as clearly and as concisely as possible, how you believe they have failed to meet the above criteria.

If you contact the Corporation Secretary without having completed stage one, but your complaint falls within remit, the Corporation Secretary’s Team may refer your email to the relevant Ofcom team for an initial response.

Stage two

If, after you have completed stage one, you believe your complaint has not been handled appropriately, you can ask the Corporation Secretary to review the issue. As stated above, you will need to outline clearly and concisely how you believe Ofcom colleagues have failed to follow Ofcom procedure and/or handle their contact with you appropriately. The Corporation Secretary’s decision is final and there is no recourse for further escalation within Ofcom.

Further escalation

Ofcom is an independent regulator and we are accountable to Parliament. If you have completed the full Ofcom complaints process and do not think your complaint has been resolved, you may be able to submit your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman which makes final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved. You will need your MP to sign your complaint.

Contacting the Corporation Secretary

You can contact the Corporation Secretary by email at corporationsecretary@ofcom.org.uk. Other ways to contact us are available on our website. Should you wish to make your complaint to the Corporation Secretary by phone, please specify this when you contact Ofcom. The Ofcom colleagues handling your contact will take a note of your request and arrange for the Corporation Secretary’s office to call you back.

We recognise that sometimes stakeholders make a complaint to us as a last resort. We also understand that people might act out of character when they are upset or distressed, or that people might have special requirements according to personal circumstances, for instance due to reasons of disability or illness.

We aim to make our service accessible to everyone. Please therefore feel free to make us aware of anything that might be relevant to, or which you consider might impact on, our contact with you and any additional steps that you think we may be able to take to support you. We will aim to make reasonable adjustments to our approach to communicating with you and our handling of your case to take account of such circumstances.