Complaints

Your views are important to us. If you'd like to appeal against an assessment leading to a notice to remove content or the inclusion of a webpage on the IWF child sexual abuse content URL List please see our Content Assessment Appeal Process below. 

If you'd like to make a general complaint about our service delivery including the behaviour of our staff see our General Complaints Process below.

We take your views and complaints seriously, so please give us as much information as possible so that we can resolve any issue in the best possible way.

Content Assessment complaints and General complaints can be made here.

Content assessment appeal process

If you are unhappy about the IWF’s assessment of content regarding a notice to remove that content, or about the inclusion of a URL on the IWF’s URL List, you can make a complaint here.

The process will be as follows (see flow chart of process here, PDF 69KB):

  1. A member of our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is made aware of the appeal and a record is created in our system.
  2. The content is re-assessed (this will be undertaken by a senior member of the Hotline team not involved in the original assessment decision). See Process flow chart.
  3. If the URL is likely to or has triggered a significant risk (*3) then the URL will be temporarily removed from the IWF URL List.
  4. If the original assessment decision is reversed and the appeal is upheld the appellant is informed and appropriate remedial action is taken i.e. notice to takedown is repealed or URL is removed from the IWF URL List.
  5. If the original assessment decision is not reversed and the appellant wishes to continue their appeal, then the content is referred to the relevant lead police agency for assessment.
  6. The Board will be informed whenever an assessment decision is reversed following a referral to the relevant police agency. (It is not possible for the Board to make a decision relating to assessment of images as to do so would require Board members to view content that they are not trained to assess).
  7. The police agency’s decision will be communicated to a member of the IWF SLT who will act in accordance with the agency’s assessment. 
  8. The appellant is informed.

(1) Any appellant must within one month of notification of the decision of the lead policy agency give written notice of intention to appeal to IWF.

(2) IWF shall within 5 days acknowledge receipt of notice of intention to appeal.

(3) Within 14 days of receipt of such acknowledgement the applicant is to submit a written statement of case and any evidence upon which reliance is place.

(4) Within 14 days thereafter IWF shall submit a written answer and any evidence upon which reliance is placed.

(5) Within 7 days thereafter the appellant may submit any written observations on the answer.

(6) The appeal tribunal shall have power, whether of its own volition or on written application of either party, to make such direction as may be necessary for the just and expeditious disposal of the appeal.

(7) Within 2 months of the conclusion of the submission of written representations the appeal tribunal shall issue a decision in writing supported by reasons.

(8) The decision of the appeal tribunal shall be final

(*1) Only child sexual abuse content is listed for blocking and the assessment is in accordance with the UK Sentencing Council’s Sexual Offences DefinitiveGuideline

(*2) A party affected by the issue of a notice or blocked by the addition of a URL to the IWF URL List

(*3) See IWF URL List Policy and Procedures

To find out about the process for deciding on the listing or non-listing of URLs containing potentially criminal child sexual abuse content please see the .

To make a general complaint about our service delivery including the behaviour of our staff please see our General Complaints Process below.

General complaints process

Our General Complaints Process covers general complaints about our service delivery including the behaviour of members of staff.

If you’d like to make an appeal regarding the assessment of content which led to a notice being issued to take down potentially criminal content or the inclusion of a child sexual abuse content URL on the IWF URL List please see our Content Assessment Appeal Process above.

You can make a General Complaint here

General Complaints Process

  1. A member of the IWF's Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is made aware and a record of the complaint is made in our system.
  2. The complaint will be referred to the Manager of the relevant department (*1) to investigate (*2).
  3. The report of the investigation is reviewed by a member of SLT.
  4. If the complaint is upheld, remedial action is taken (*2) and the complainant informed.
  5. If the complaint is not upheld the complainant is informed of the outcome.

(*1): If the relevant line manager has been directly involved in the matter the complaint relates to, the complaint will be investigated by a member of SLT. If a complaint against a member of staff is made by a Director/Trustee, the investigation will be conducted by a member of SLT or the CEO. Any complaint against the CEO will be investigated by the Chair and two Vice-Chairs who will then report their findings to the Board.

(*2): This may include the application of disciplinary procedures as set out in the IWF Staff Handbook.

Please note that where any form of complaint is not upheld, any personal data stored to enable investigation will subsequently be automatically deleted from our system following 90 days. If a subsequent complaint was received by the same complainant, this retention period would start again from the date of receipt of the new complaint.