Our standards and service levels
We have clear targets to respond to you within various times, depending on the service we are providing. Where we can we will always try to respond sooner.
Sometimes we may need longer to respond. For example, if you are asking for complex information or if we need to check something with a third party. And we may need to prioritise our resources if there is an emergency or an incident. But we will always get back to you.
We will do our best to:
- Respond to correspondence - Our target is to respond to correspondence within 10 working days, although we will respond sooner when we can. To speed things up we may call you to discuss your enquiry or arrange a meeting.
- Answer the telephone - If you telephone our Customer Contact Centre, one of our advisers will pick up your call within 15 seconds and try to answer your questions there and then. They will help you use the information or services on our web pages, or put you in touch with a member of staff to resolve your enquiry.
- Reply to Freedom of information (FOI) and data protection - Under the FOI Act we have a legal responsibility to respond to you within 20 working days. The Data Protection Act also requires us to provide full responses within 40 days.
- Keep in contact through social media - We use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Flickr to keep you informed on key issues, regulations or projects. We are also happy to answer your questions using Twitter and Facebook.
- Flood Information Service - If you telephone our Floodline service you can listen to the recorded flood warning information for your area or speak to an adviser. If you request an information pack we aim to send this to you by the next working day.
- Announce flood warnings - We aim to warn of flooding from rivers and the sea at least two hours before flooding occurs. You can register for our flood warning service to receive these warnings.
- Attend major incidents - We will attend major incidents (where there is a major risk to the environment and activity involves navigation, pollution or fisheries) as quickly as possible and normally within 2 hours. Out of hours and at times of multiple incidents response times may be longer – up to 4 hours. If you’ve reported an incident to us, we’ll ask you if you want feedback and if you do, we’ll provide it.
- Process permits and licences - We will process most permits within 13 weeks, or within the different statutory timescales. Where we can we will always process applications quicker. We will keep you informed about the progress of your application. You can apply for some of our simple licences and permits using our online services. For example if you want a rod licence you can go online and buy one immediately.
- Provide information on navigation locks - On rivers where we are the navigation authority, we will give you at least one month’s notice about planned closures for repairs and maintenance.