STFC is committed to establishing and applying appropriate standards of regularity and propriety, including applying appropriate cultures and behaviours. We uphold high standards of integrity in all areas of the Councils operation, in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
STFC operates a code of conduct for all of our staff and for Council members but recognises that we need to be responsive where these standards are challenged.
It is important that we guard against the perception of impropriety as well as the reality. We must be able to withstand both internal and external scrutiny. In particular, we will:
In this context we aim to deliver the following standards of service.
We will send an acknowledgement to applicants within four working days of receipt of their applications. In addition, we will inform all applicants of the period within which they can expect to receive a decision on their application.
We will answer correspondence (which requires a response) whether by letter, fax or e-mail, within 15 working days. On occasions where it may take longer to provide an answer, we will give a clear indication of when a response can be expected within the 15 day period.
We will provide contact details (address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address and web site address) on all external correspondence and on our website.
We will consult users regularly as part of our normal business processes, through our system of peer review and advisory committees and occasional town meetings.
We will operate a transparent and fair complaints procedure.
We comply fully with the requirements of current data protection legislation, in particular that personal data will only be used for stated, agreed purposes and that it will not be disclosed to a third party without the data subject’s consent.
We follow the guidelines set down in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information in providing information to external sources on request.
The Research Councils are committed to high standards of service in all their operations.
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.
A complaint may relate to:
A complaint will not be considered when:
Where a complaint is related to Research Conduct, please refer to the RCUK Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct, which provides detailed guidance.
In order to allow a complete review of any complaint, we request that any complaint is submitted within 6 months of the issue/problem.
In the first instance we ask you to try to resolve your complaint directly with the Research Council officer dealing with the issue. If the matter is not resolved and you wish to escalate your complaint please follow the individual escalation procedures for the relevant Research Council. For STFC the following details should be used for escalation.
General Counsel & Director Corporate Services
c/o Head of Governance
North Star Avenue
Tel: 01793 442128
Fax: 01793 442002
If you are still not satisfied with the response you should write to:
Professor John Womersley STFC Chief Executive
North Star Avenue
Tel: 01793 442000
Fax: 01793 442106
The complaint must be made in writing, by either email or letter. Any telephone complaints will need to be followed up in written form to be formally investigated.
In order for the Research Councils to investigate the complaint in a timely and effective manner we request that the following information is provided:
The complaint will be acknowledged within 5 working days with a full response made within 20 working days thereafter. If a full response is not possible within this time we will provide details of progress made and a target date for resolution or further point of contact.
The following standards will be applied when considering any complaint:
Any whistleblowing complaints received will be handled in line with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Please see RCUK Whistleblowing Policy.
If you have gone through the 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.