Grievance Redress Service

The Grievance Redress Service (GRS) ensures that complaints are promptly reviewed and addressed by the responsible units in the World Bank.

The objective is to make the Bank more accessible for project affected communities and to help ensure faster and better resolution of project-related complaints.

The GRS is open to all those who believe they have been affected by a Bank-financed project.

Scope

Process

Who and How

FAQ

Last Updated: Apr 07, 2017

Scope

Complaints are processed if they meet the following criteria:

  • The complaint relates to an active World Bank-supported project (IBRD or IDA)
  • The complaint is filed by individuals and/or communities, or their representative, who believe that they are or may be directly and adversely affected by the project.
  • Procurement related complaints received by the GRS will be forwarded to the appropriate Bank Staff and processed in line with the “World Bank Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers” .

The GRS cannot address the following matters:

  • Awarding of damages or provision of direct compensation
  • Issues not related to World Bank-supported projects
  • Matters already considered by the GRS unless the complainants have new evidence previously not available to them
  • Issues pertaining to a Bank-supported project that is closed
  • Complaints related to the adequacy or suitability of a Bank policy or procedure
  • Issues related to Bank personnel matters
  • Allegations of fraud or corruption in Bank-supported projects. For complaints involving fraud or corruption, please contact the World Bank Office of Institutional Integrity (INT).

Process

Review Process:

Upon receipt, the GRS team reviews and determines if the complaint meets the eligibility criteria.

Registration and Notification:

Within 2 business days of receipt of the complaint, the GRS notifies the complainant of receipt of the complaint and asks for additional information if needed.

Within 10 business days, the GRS reviews and evaluates the complaint. If the complaint is accepted it proceeds to the next phase.

Proposal and Resolution:

Within 30 business days of acceptance of the complaint, the GRS sends a proposal to the complainant(s) with an action plan and timeframe for its implementation. The GRS consults with the complainant(s) on the proposal. (For complex complaints, the time limit may be extended to 60 business days.)

If the complainant accepts the proposal, the project team implements it according to the process and timeframe set out in the proposal. The complaint is closed when the actions in the proposal are satisfactorily implemented.

Who and How

Who can submit a complaint?

The GRS accepts complaints that are:

  • Related to an active World Bank-supported project (IBRD or IDA)
  • Filed by a person or community who believes they are directly and adversely affected by a World Bank-Financed project
  • Filed by a bidder or potential bidder about the procurement process on a World Bank-financed contract. These complaints will be processed in line with Bank Procedure (BP) 11.00 (Annex D) and will not follow the GRS procedures.
  • Not filed anonymously. The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential if requested, but anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

How to file a complaint?

  • Complaints must be in writing and addressed to the World Bank Grievance Redress Service (GRS).

This GRS complaint form may be used.

  • Complaints will be accepted by email, fax, letter, and by hand delivery to the GRS at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington or World Bank Country Offices.

Email: grievances@worldbank.org
Fax: +1-202-614-7313
By letter:
The World Bank
Grievance Redress Service (GRS)
MSN MC 10-1018
1818 H St NW
Washington, DC 20433, USA

FAQ

Why use the Grievance Redress Service?
The GRS’ objective is to support the identification and resolution of legitimate project-related concerns. Resolving issues upstream will result in a faster and better resolution of complaints. 

Will a complaint to the GRS suspend the project?

No. Submitting a complaint does not suspend or otherwise affect the formulation, processing, or implementation of the project unless agreed to by the borrowing country concerned and the Bank.

Who can submit a complaint?
Any individual or community can submit a complaint if they believe that they are or are likely to be directly and adversely affected by an active World Bank-supported project. 

What constitutes an eligible complaint?

Complaints are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Related to an active World Bank-supported project (IBRD or IDA)
  • Filed by a person or community who believes they have been or may be directly and adversely affected by a World Bank-Financed project
  • Filed by a bidder or potential bidder about the procurement process on a World Bank-financed contract. These complaints will be processed in line with Bank Procedure (BP) 11.00 (Annex D) and will not follow the GRS procedures. The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential if requested, but anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

What types of complaints are not eligible for review by GRS?
The GRS does not review complaints involving issues related to fraud or corruption. For complaints involving fraud or corruption, please contact the World Bank Office of Institutional Integrity (INT). For more details see Scope.

Does the GRS accept complaints about IFC or MIGA projects?
No. Complaints related to IFC or MIGA projects should be submitted to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the IFC. 

What about complaints regarding projects that are funded by both IFC/MIGA and IBRD/IDA?
For projects that are funded by both IFC/MIGA and IBRD/IDA, the GRS will accept complaints related to the IBRD/IDA portion of the project and/or refer to the CAO.

Is it necessary to produce any evidence?
Supporting evidence is not necessary but may be helpful in reviewing and resolving the complaint.

Is confidentiality of identity available?
If requested, the complainant’s identity will be kept confidential beyond the GRS and project team. However, in order to effectively address complainants’ concerns, it is important for the GRS and project team to know the identity of the complainant.

Is there a statute of limitations on making complaints?
No. The GRS will attempt to help resolve every eligible concern in active projects; however, issues related to closed projects cannot be reviewed.

What languages are acceptable for submitting complaints?
The GRS accepts complaints in the official language of World Bank borrowers or in the language of the complainant(s). Complaints received in working languages other than English, however, will require translation, which will add time to the review process. 

How can complaints be submitted?
See Overview.

What is the GRS’s process for handling complaints?
See Process for more information. 

Can I submit complaints regarding procurement issues?
Yes. Procurement related complaints pertaining to Bank-financed operations can also be submitted by bidders or potential bidders (companies or individuals) to the Bank through the GRS. These complaints will be processed in line with BP 11.00 (Annex D) and will not follow the GRS procedures.

What is the GRS’ relationship to the Inspection Panel?
There is no formal relationship between the GRS and the Inspection Panel. The Inspection Panel is the Bank’s independent compliance mechanism which reports to the World Bank Board of Directors. If requested, and subject to approval by the Bank’s Board, the Panel may undertake a compliance audit to determine whether harm has occurred as a result of the Bank’s non-compliance with World Bank Policies and Procedures.

Does using the GRS restrict access to the Inspection Panel?
No, the use of the GRS does not restrict access to the Inspection Panel. In line with the Panel Resolution, project affected communities and individuals may submit their complaint to the Panel at any time after bringing their concerns directly to the World Bank's attention and giving Bank Management a reasonable opportunity to respond (per Inspection Panel’s eligibility criteria).

Is there a way to provide feedback on the GRS itself? 
Complainants are encouraged to provide feedback on the GRS. Feedback may be sent via the GRS’ email address: grievances@worldbank.org

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