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Complaints procedure

Commitment to information access

BBSRC is committed to providing a high quality, responsive and accessible service to all the people and organisations with which it interacts. The Council vigorously pursues its service standards, in compliance with its Service First Statement, Freedom of Information Act (2000), Environmental Information Regulations (2004), Data Protection Act (1998), and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

Despite our commitment, we recognise that things can sometimes go wrong and, if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of BBSRC, we would like to know about it as soon as possible.

Complaints about BBSRC

Complaints which relate to the view that BBSRC has failed to follow stated policies and procedures, or has acted improperly are generally, but not exclusively, related to procedures for the award of research grants, studentships and fellowships, and their outcome. Complaints of this nature should, in the first instance, be handled by the members of the BBSRC Office who originally dealt with your application or enquiry.

If your concerns remain unresolved, you should register a formal complaint with the BBSRC Complaints Officer.

Freedom of Information

If you are dissatisfied with the processing or outcome of a request for information under Freedom of Information Act (2000), Environmental Information Regulations (2004) or Data Protection Act (1998) you should register a formal complaint with the BBSRC Complaints Officer.

How to register a complaint with BBSRC

If you have been unable to resolve your concerns by dealing with the BBSRC officers who were involved with your initial application or enquiry, or if your complaint is about other matters, you should register a formal complaint in writing with the BBSRC Complaints Officer (contact details below).

What to expect

We will give due consideration to all complaints or concerns that we receive. An acknowledgement will be sent to you within 5 working days, and a written response normally within 20 working days of your complaint being received. Where this is not possible, we will inform you what steps we intend to take and give you a date by which we hope to give you a full reply. You should note that any matter which is the subject of litigation or legal proceedings cannot be dealt with under BBSRC's Complaints Procedures.


If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint you may appeal in writing against the outcome. The appeal should set out the basis for the appeal and be sent to the BBSRC Chief Executive within 10 working days of receiving notification of the outcome of the investigation. The Chief Executive will assign someone who was not involved in your original complaint to look at your appeal. The outcome of the appeal will be provided within 20 working days. Please note that any appeal investigation will be based on the way that your complaint was handled against stated BBSRC Complaints Procedures and will not be a new investigation into your original complaint.

Still not satisfied?

If you have gone through each stage of our complaints procedure and are still not satisfied, you have the right to ask your MP to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman). This must be done through your local MP, whose address can be obtained from the Citizens' Advice Bureau, or the offices of your local authority.

If you are not satisfied with the handling of an appeal or complaint associated with the processing of an information request under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act, you can refer the matter to the Information Commissioner, the independent body who oversees this legislation.

Other circumstances

There may be a situation where others seem to have failed to follow agreed procedures or to have acted improperly, where the outcome may have relevance to BBSRC. In these circumstances employees are protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, and complaints of this nature must be directed to the employing institution, or if constituted, the independent body or person appointed to deal with complaints of malpractice. Once the procedures at the employing institution have been exhausted you may inform BBSRC through the Complaints Officer, but BBSRC will not be able to initiate an inquiry on your behalf. We will, however, ensure that all stated procedures have been followed.

The above deals with complaints from non-BBSRC employees. BBSRC employees should refer to the employment code.

The Whistleblowing Policy can also be found in the employment code.

Note: The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 may protect employees and certain other types of worker to enable them to disclose wrongdoing by their employer. Further information is available on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website.