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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research

Making a complaint

We work hard to ensure that you have a positive experience when you contact us, and try to resolve your queries promptly and courteously. 

We accept that things sometimes go wrong, and value your feedback in the event of a problem occurring.

The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation with responsibility for setting and delivering its strategy and use of resources.  For logistical reasons it operates under the umbrella of the Medical Research Council (MRC), and is not a separate legal entity. The NC3Rs complaints process follows the principles of the MRC process. 

We always aim to resolve your complaint internally, if you are unhappy with our response, the complaint will then be handled by the MRC Complaints Officer. 

Definition, inclusions and exclusions

Our definition of a complaint is: "an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the NC3Rs". 

Complaints could generally include the following:

  • failure to follow the MRC's, and therefore the NC3Rs, legal obligations (including under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act and Environmental Information Regulations)
  • failure to follow the NC3Rs agreed policies and/or procedures
  • an unhelpful NC3Rs employee
  • neglect or unreasonable delay in answering a query or responding to a request for service.

The following types of complaint are excluded from the procedure:

  • a disagreement with a decision of the NC3Rs Board or one of its funding panels
  • a matter which is currently the subject of litigation or legal proceedings.

The complaints process does not cover:

  • relations between the NC3Rs and staff working in MRC establishments or holding other MRC appointments
  • any complaints by members of NC3Rs staff which are covered by the MRC grievance procedure.

What to do if you have a complaint

If you are unhappy with our service, you can let us know by telephone, in writing or by e-mail. Initially please contact the person you have been dealing with who will initially address the issues you have raised.  If this person cannot resolve your issue to your satisfaction they will refer you to the Information Officer to make a formal complaint.  The Information Officer will work with senior NC3Rs staff to investigate and will respond to your complaint in writing.

If your complaint is about a response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act or Environmental Information Regulations please contact the NC3Rs Information Officer:

Information Officer
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road

Tel: 020 7611 2233

How we will deal with your complaint

Your complaint will be acknowledged immediately and you will be given the timescale for our full reply. All complaints will be thoroughly investigated and you will be sent a full written response, normally within 20 working days of your complaint being received. If, however, we are unable to send a final response within that timescale, we will send you an interim reply explaining why and when you may expect to know the outcome.

Next steps

If you remain unhappy, or if you are unsure whom you should contact, you may write to the MRC Complaints Officer:

MRC Complaints Officer
Medical Research Council
14th Floor
One Kemble Street

If your complaint is about a response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act or Environmental Information Regulations you may contact the MRC Freedom of Information Officer at the above address ( and request an internal review.

If you remain dissatisfied, we will invite you to write directly to:

Chief Operating Officer
Medical Research Council
Polaris House
North Star Avenue
The MRC Chief Operating Officer will arrange for a further formal investigation to be carried out and will reply directly to you with their findings. They will also, at this stage, advise you of your right, if you remain dissatisfied, to contact any Member of Parliament who may agree to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Parliamentary Ombudsman).
If your complaint is about a response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act or Environmental Information Regulations, the next step is to contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). For details of how to take your complaint further, visit the ICO website or contact the Information Commissioner outlining your complaint, at:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane, Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Main helpline: 01625 545745
Notification helpline: 01625 545740
Switchboard operator: 01625 545700