We take your complaints, suggestions and concerns seriously. Here is some recent feedback you gave us, and how we responded. Contact us to make an enquiry or to give your comments and suggestions.

Comments and requests updated May 2014

  • What you said What we have done
  • Breakfast served on a Saturday was not available as advertised at 08.30 hrs We spoke with our caterers and they changed their process to ensure breakfast items are available from the advertised time
  • Clear plastic bags used to carry items into the reading rooms were splitting and allowing items to fall on to the floor We checked the specification of the bags with our suppliers and agreed to increase the quality to a stronger more durable bag
  • You asked why it was so difficult to contact the Bookshop The Bookshop now has a direct line, which is 0208 392 5394
  • Documents sent to print only stay in the queue for two hours - can this be increased? The time documents remain in the queue has been extended from two hours to 11 hours
  • Can you clarify the rules about bags on the poster at the foot of the staircase?

    We have amended the poster to point users to the free lockers on the ground floor where they may store bags, coats and so on


We receive complaints in a number of ways, including emails, feedback forms and letters, as well as telephone calls and in person. You can also read previous months' complaints.
  • Summary of complaint and date received Background information Action taken
  • Complainant did not receive a reply from us relating to a Freedom of Information request within 20 working days 1 April - reference: 4928

    Users can submit a FOI request to get closed records' statuses reviewed We investigated and found that the request had not been received due to email address used, which was treated as spam. We informed the complainant and logged their FOI request.
  • The complainant has not received all of their Record Copying estimates or an explanation as to why they cannot be completed 1 April - reference: 4292

    Users can order copies of our records from Document Services We explained what was happening with the requests we had received and explained that some estimate requests had not been received.
  • Complainant would like us to reassess a recent decision regarding the use of magnifying glasses with built in lights in the Map and Large Document Room 7 April - reference: 4967

    Users can enquire if certain types of equipment are permitted in the reading room - we will assess the equipment and either allow access or refuse We checked the equipment and it was decided that it was not suitable to be taken into the Reading Rooms. We explained why this decision had been made.
  • Complainant was given inconsistent records information from our advice service 7 April - reference: 4969

    Users can ask for guidance or advice on their research We apologised for the inconsistent level of service received from us and the poor customer service. We offered advice on their research and sent links to online documents. We discussed the case with service managers so they were aware of the issues and could learn lessons.
  • Food served at a conference was alleged to have caused a case of food poisoning 7 April - reference: 4790

    The National Archives contracts out its catering to Genuine Dining who supplies food for events as well as in the restaurant After a full investigation, no evidence was found to support the assumption that the illness was caused by consuming food while at a National Archives event. There were no other reported cases by staff or the public, which we explained to the complainant.
  • Websense blocking perfectly good sites 8 April - reference: 4993

    Websense is The National Archives' filter that manages what websites are available to access on our public network We apologised that the site was not available and explained that if a site is blocked it can be reported and we will check the content and allow access if appropriate. The site that the complainant wanted to access was subsequently un-blocked.
  • Staff were not very helpful during first visit 10 April - reference: 5009

    Users can ask for guidance or advice on their research We apologised that the complainant did not receive a high level of customer service consistently throughout their visit. We requested further information so that we could investigate further, but received no response.
  • Complainant unhappy that the scan from film service had been stopped 10 April - reference: 5016

    Users can order copies of our records from Document Services We apologised to the complainant for not giving them advance warning that the service was stopping. We had contacted most of the regular users in advance so they could place orders and complete projects before the service was withdrawn. We were able to resolve their complaint.
  • Complainant requested an estimate for the cost of copying a record - which was abandoned. They were disappointed as they had been told it could be completed 16 April - reference: 5047

    Users can order copies of our records from Document Services We confirmed that we can carry out an estimate of record copying in our collection, but explained the limitations of the service, eg. how the arrangement of different records, size and time restraints can affect the outcome of a request. We offered the complainant advice on getting the most out of the service.
  • Complainant has used A4 laminated sheets to help photograph records - laminated sheets are no longer allowed in the Reading Room 29 April - reference: 5133

    Supplied materials can be used to aid photography of records The use of laminated sheets has been stopped in the reading room and this meant the complainant could no longer use their own material. The Collection Care Department have supplied new tyvek sheets that can be used by all our users. This was explained to the complainant.