Complaints procedure

How to make a complaint to Highways England

Complaints procedure

If you’re unhappy with any part of the service we provide, we want to hear about your experiences so we can learn from them and improve.

Before you begin

We operate, maintain and improve motorways and major A-roads in England. We can’t respond to queries about roads we don’t manage, so please check our responsibilities and the roads we manage before you begin.

Complaints regarding traffic and transport regulations, legislation and policy should be addressed to the Department for Transport (DfT).

We have a separate procedure for complaints about Freedom of Information releases and Environmental Information regulations.

We also have separate processes that fall outside our complaints procedure that include (but are not limited to):

  • potential claims made by third parties against us, for recovery of damages and losses incurred while using our road network
  • matters set out in UK law (for example, the process set out for dealing with blight notices)

If your complaint is not covered by our complaints procedure, we’ll let you know. We’ll also give you information about where you should go next for help.

To help us to deal with your issue as efficiently as possible, please provide us with the following information:

  • relevant dates
  • times
  • locations, for example road numbers or junctions, postcodes or marker posts
  • what you would like to happen next

Then send it to us at info@highwaysengland.co.uk or phone us on 0300 123 5000 (local rate call). We’re available 24 hours every day.

Our customer contact centre will always try to resolve your complaint at the first point of contact. We aim to respond to all queries within 15 working days. If we’re going to take longer, we’ll let you know why and when we can reply.

If you prefer to send a letter, the address is:

Highways England
National Traffic Operations Centre
3 Ridgeway
Quinton Business Park
Birmingham     B32 1AF

If our customer contact centre can’t provide an answer or you aren’t happy with their initial response, they’ll ask the relevant area of our business to investigate and respond to you.

If you’re unhappy with the response provided by the relevant business area, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed and investigated further.

We’ll aim to send a full response to you within 15 working days.

If you’re not happy with our review, you can ask us to refer your complaint to an Independent Complaints Assessor (ICA). Please be aware that the ICA can only review decisions in certain circumstances.

What the ICA can review

  • bias or discrimination
  • unfair treatment
  • poor or misleading advice
  • failure to give information
  • mistakes
  • unreasonable delays
  • inappropriate staff behaviour

What the ICA cannot review

  • disputes where the focus is on government, Department for Transport or Highways England policy
  • complaints arising from contractual and commercial disputes (for example, compulsory purchase)
  • complaints about the law
  • matters considered by Parliament
  • matters where only a court, tribunal or other body can decide the outcome
  • decisions taken by independent boards or panels
  • decisions taken by, or for, the Secretary of State
  • legal cases that have already started and will decide the outcome
  • an ongoing investigation or enquiry
  • how we handle requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
  • how we handle subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act
  • personnel and disciplinary decisions or actions
  • any professional judgement by a specialist (for example, traffic management decisions, or decisions by highway engineers)

An ICA can’t review your complaint if it’s being or has been investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. It can’t usually look at any complaint that:

  • hasn’t completed all stages of our complaints process
  • is more than three months old from the date of our final response

If you think we’ve not done everything possible to resolve your complaint, you can also ask a Member of Parliament to contact us on your behalf. Or you can ask them to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

The PHSO will expect you to have tried to resolve your complaint at the earlier stages of our complaints procedure before they look into it.

Our complaints procedure does not prejudice or prevent a referral of your complaint to the PHSO.

Unreasonable complaints

We’ll let you know if we believe your complaint is unreasonable and we may require you to contact us in a particular way.

A complaint may become unreasonable for any of the following reasons, for example if you:

  • refuse to follow our complaints procedure
  • refuse to be specific or continually change the basis of your complaint
  • make excessive demands on staff resource
  • submit repeated complaints on the same issue
  • use abusive language
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