Complaints and appeals

The ESRC is committed to high standards of service in all its operations, explained in our Service First Statement.

Despite this we recognise that things can sometimes go wrong and we want you to have the opportunity to raise any problems or complaints with us. Any complaint will be taken seriously and treated in the strictest confidence.

How to make a complaint

In the first instance we ask you to try to resolve your complaint directly with the person dealing with the issue. If the matter is still not resolved please ask them for the name of their Section Head or contact the relevant Director directly.

The Directors and their responsibilities are: 

If you are still not satisfied

If your complaint cannot be resolved at Directorate level and you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, or if you wish to complain about one of the Directors, you should contact the Chief Executive:

  • Professor Jane Elliott 
    Economic and Social Research Council
    Polaris House
    North Star Avenue
    Swindon SN2 1UJ
  • Telephone: 01793 413004


You can make a complaint by letter, fax or email. Please provide the following information to help us deal with it promptly: 

  • the Directorate or section of ESRC and the name of the staff (if known) involved in your complaint
  • a clear description of the nature of the complaint 
  • an indication whether this is a first complaint or a follow-up to an earlier complaint which has not been resolved satisfactorily
  • your full contact details including a telephone number, fax and email address if you have them.

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within five working days and will aim to provide a full response within 15 working days. Where a full response is not possible within that time, we will send you a letter outlining progress and setting a target, usually within a further 15 working days, by which a full response will be made.

A complaint may relate to: 

  • failure to follow stated policies or procedures; 
  • unreasonable delay or inefficiency in responding to an enquiry, or our operating procedures; 
  • unhelpful or insensitive attitude of an ESRC employee.

Please note that the following types of complaints are excluded from this complaints procedure: 

  • complaints which involve a disagreement with a decision of Council or one of its Committees, or the advice of one of its advisory groups 
  • matters which are the subject of legal proceedings.

The number of complaints received will be monitored and published annually in the ESRC Annual Report.


The ESRC has appeals procedures which can be followed in the event of disagreement with funding or evaluation decisions. An appeal is defined as a request to vary a decision of the ESRC in light of available facts. Appeals may not be made against the judgements of ESRC Committees, Panels or other bodies taken under due procedures, unless it is argued that the judgement is perverse or that due procedure has not been followed. An appeal may be accompanied or succeeded by a complaint, but individuals making appeals against ESRC decisions should indicate separately in writing if they also wish to make a complaint.

Complaints and appeals will also be distinguished from critical comments. The last will not be treated as a complaint or appeal unless formally reported as such to the appropriate Director.


If you have gone through our complaints procedure and remain dissatisfied with the outcome you have the right to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman). You will have to make your complaint to the Ombudsman through your local Member of Parliament.

If you have any suggestions to help us improve our service or questions about our complaints procedure please contact:

  • Michelle Dodson
    Economic and Social Research Council
    Polaris House
    North Star Avenue
    Swindon SN2 1UJ 
  • Email: 
  • Telephone: 01793 444357 
  • Fax: 01793 413053