IWM is committed to offering our visitors and supporters the highest standards of service and experience. If you feel that we have failed to adhere sufficiently to these standards we want to hear from you.

This procedure sets out how IWM will handle complaints. It should be read in conjunction with our Complaints Policy document, available on the IWM website. Complaints can be an opportunity to improve quality of service and we welcome constructive feedback of any sort.

When dealing with complaints and feedback IWM will handle your communication:

  • Promptly.
  • With courtesy and respect.
  • In a fair and impartial manner.
  • Considering any reasonable requirements that you may have.

Making a complaint

Feedback and informal complaints

If you believe we can improve any aspect of our museums or our service, please let us know in a way that is convenient. This might be face to face with museum staff, over the phone, or in writing by email or post. For general feedback and informal complaints, we will aim to resolve the problem immediately, or let you know what we plan to do to put it right at the point that you contact us.

To get in touch with us, you can contact us in the following ways:

Formal complaints

If, for any reason, you are unhappy with our response to an informal complaint, or if your complaint relates to a more serious matter, then you should raise a formal complaint with us.

Formal complaints tend to be more serious matters that require investigation and a formal reply.

Formal complaints will tend to fall into the below categories:

  • Health and safety;
  • Museum policy;
  • The behaviour of museum staff, volunteers, partners or contractors;
  • Unfair treatment;
  • Contravention of laws or regulations.

If something sent to the formal complaints email address does not fit into the above categories, it will still be treated as a formal complaint unless the Governance team feel that it would be more appropriate to resolve the matter informally. For example, if an email is sent to formal complaints which is a simple request to resolve a minor issue or an enquiry, it would be forwarded to the Customer Service team to resolve.

We may also decide to escalate less formal feedback to the status of a formal complaint if we believe it is serious enough to warrant formal investigation. We will only be able to respond to such a complaint if we have the contact details of the person who raised the matter, but the procedure will otherwise be followed.

Raising a formal complaint

Formal complaints should be submitted in writing to [email protected] or write to: Governance Team, IWM London, Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ

They should include:

  • Your name and contact details (email or postal address);
  • A telephone number in case we wish to discuss the matter verbally as part of our investigation;
  • A full description of the complaint including details (where appropriate) of location and any members of staff involved where known;
  • An indication, where appropriate, of what you think we could do to remedy the situation.

Our response to a formal complaint

Upon receipt of a formal complaint, we will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 working days;
  • Make a formal log of your complaint;
  • Carry out a full investigation of the matter, led by a Head of Department or Assistant Director.
  • Respond to you in writing with our findings within one month of our acknowledgement. This will outline what findings we have made, and what we will do to rectify any issues that we find. Occasionally investigations might take a little longer, in which case we will let you know, and keep you informed about the progress of the investigation. 

We will keep a record of your complaint, including your personal details, for a minimum period of two years after the complaint has been resolved. After this time, we may continue to store the details of your complaint for the purposes of monitoring, but unless there is a good reason to keep your personal details (for example if the information is required by law, or if necessary, for a particular function such as health and safety or the management of our collections), the record will be anonymised, and your personal details deleted.

If an individual threatens to harm themselves or others, we will consider disclosing this to a relevant health professional. 


If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint you can appeal to the Director-General.

Appeals should be made in writing and addressed to: Director-General, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ or by email to [email protected].

Appeals will be investigated by the relevant member of the senior staff. The final decision by IWM will be sent to you in writing in the timescales outlined above.

Further unresolved complaints will be referred for investigation by a panel of the Board of Trustees.

In the unlikely event that you are unhappy with the outcome of this final investigation, you may wish to take up the matter with one of the following:

  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport - IWM is a non-departmental public body (NDPB), with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as our sponsoring body.
  • The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman make decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by UK government departments or UK public organisations.
  • The Fundraising Regulator - IWM is registered with the Fundraising Regulator. They investigate complaints regarding charitable fundraising that are not resolved by the organisation concerned.

Checks and monitoring

Feedback and complaints are monitored and evaluated regularly to assist IWM in understanding the views of its users, to identify trends and to improve services wherever possible.

Governance Team, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ

These revised procedures were issued in September 2023 and will be reviewed every two years or more frequently if necessary. The next review is scheduled for September 2025.