The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Complaints Bulletin July - September 2008  

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of complaints recorded across the Court Service during the quarter July - Sept 2008. For comparison purposes, data from the previous 12 months is also provided.

Summary

A total of 33 complaints were recorded however 3 relating to     judicial            decisions [the Court Service cannot deal with complaints against         judicial decisions] and 3 relating to other organisations fall outside the     scope of this report.

Table 1 below illustrates that 27 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received has decreased by 36% when compared with quarter ending June 08 [42] and has decreased by 25% when compared with the same quarter last year [36].

Table 1: Total Complaints Received

July 07 - September 08

Following investigation 15 complaints were upheld. (56%)

Further information on upheld complaints is included at para 11

Breakdown by venue

A breakdown of the complaints recorded by venue is illustrated in        Table 2 below.

Table 2: Breakdown of complaints received by venue

 Location

Jul –Sep  07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr- Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Total

Antrim

1

4

0

0

2

7

Armagh

0

0

0

3

2*

5

Ballymena

2

2

0

2

1

7

Bangor

0

0

0

1

0

1

Coleraine

0

0

1

0

0

1

Craigavon

1

0

1

1

1

4

Downpatrick

0

1

0

0

0

1

Dungannon

1

1

0

0

0

2

Enniskillen

0

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

6

4

3

3

1*

17

Larne

0

0

0

1

0

1

Limavady

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lisburn

0

0

2

0

0

2

Londonderry

0

0

2

0

1*

3

Magherafelt

1

0

0

0

0

1

Newry

2

3

1

2

0

8

Newtownards

0

2

0

0

1

3

Omagh

0

0

0

0

0

0

Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ)

3

2

3

3

1

12

Strabane

1

0

0

0

0

1

Court Funds Office

2

0

1

0

0

3

Communications Group

1

0

0

2

1*

4

Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO)

3

5

1

5

1*

15

Coroners Service

1

2

0

0

0

3

Central Complaints
(Received in Communications Group)

10

8

4

13

14

49

Customer Service Centre (CSC)

1

0

0

2

1

4

Civil Processing Centre (CPC)

-

4

6

4

0

14

Total

36

38

25

42

27

168

* 1 complaint not upheld

7 complaints not upheld

The venues that recorded the most complaints were:

* 1 complaint not upheld

7 complaints not upheld

 

Breakdown by Category of Complaint

A breakdown of complaints received by category over the last 12    months is illustrated in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Breakdown of complaints by category

 

July - Sep 07

Oct-Dec 07

Jan -Mar 08

Apr- Jun 08

Jul – Sep 08

Total

Summons Server

0

2

0

2

1

5

Court Service Staff

8

4

2

3

3

20

Delays

9

7

4

7

6

33

Administrative Error

6

4

5

3

5

23

Accommodation

4

4

6

6

1

21

Jury Service

1

0

2

6

0

9

Information Available

3

2

2

3

1

11

Telephone Manner

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

0

3

3

10

4

20

Online Services

0

0

0

1

4

5

Security Staff

0

3

0

0

1

4

Fees

2

3

0

0

1

6

Catering

1

3

0

0

0

4

Website

0

3

0

0

0

3

Minor of Age Funds

0

0

0

0

0

0

Interest Rate of Investment

1

0

1

0

0

2

Investment of fund

0

1

0

0

0

1

ICOS

0

0

0

1

0

1

Total

36

38

25

42

27

168

The following 5 categories account for the majority [76%] of complaints recorded.

A breakdown of the 5 main categories of complaints recorded by venue can be found at Annex A.

 

Breakdown of Complaints Received Centrally (in Communications Group)

A breakdown of the complaints received centrally during this quarter, by category and location is illustrated in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Breakdown of complaints received centrally

Category of Complaint

Total No
Of Complaints

Business Area

Antrim

On-line Services

CSC

EJO

Laganside
Courts

Larne

Omagh

RCJ

Delays

3

1

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

Information Available

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Court Service Staff

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Administrative Error

2

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

Refund of Fees

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Online Services

3

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

3

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

1

Total

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaints Upheld

This report includes a breakdown of complaints that were upheld.  This information was not previously recorded and therefore comparative figures for the previous 12 months are not available. 

Of the 27 complaints received a total of 15 were upheld.

The main categories where complaints were upheld related to:

 

Breakdown of complaints upheld by venue and category

A breakdown of the complaints upheld, recorded by venue and category, for this quarter is illustrated in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Breakdown of complaints received and upheld

Category of Complaint

Total No of Complaints
Upheld

Business Area

Antrim

Armagh

Ballymena

Craigavon

Newtownards

Communications Group (central complaints)

Laganside

Customer Service Centre

RCJ

On Line Services

Summons
Server

1

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

Court Service
Staff

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delays

3

 

1

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

Administrative Error

3

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

1

 

Refund of Fees

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

On-line Services

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Other

2

 

 

 

1

 

1

 

 

 

 

Total

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Up Action

The follow up action taken in respect of the complaints upheld has been categorised into three areas below:

As a result of the complaints received and upheld, we have:

Follow up Questionnaires

 

Breakdown of how complaints are received

Registering a complaint by letter continues to be the most popular method used by customers, during the quarter 59% [16] were made by letter. A breakdown of how complaints were received is illustrated in Table 6 below.

Table 6: Method of making a complaint

 

Jul-Sep 07

Oct-Dec 07

Jan – Mar 08

Apr – Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Total

Letter

16

22

10

22

16

86

In Person

2

7

0

0

1

10

Telephone

6

3

4

3

2

18

Email

7

3

5

9

6

30

Complaints Form

4

2

1

2

1

10

Fax

0

0

0

0

0

0

Comment Card

1

1

5

6

1

14

Total

36

38

25

42

27

168

 

Response Time

During this quarter 96% (26) of complaints received were answered within the 15 day turnaround time, with only one complaint falling outside this timescale.

 

 

Annex A

A breakdown of the 6 main categories of complaints recorded by venue is illustrated in Tables A - E below.

Table A: Administrative Error

 

Jul –Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Ballymena

1

0

0

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Craigavon

1

0

0

0

 

Laganside Courts

0

1

0

0

1

Londonderry

0

0

0

0

1

Magherafelt

1

0

0

0

 

Newry

1

0

0

0

 

Newtownards

0

0

0

0

 

Omagh

0

0

0

0

 

RCJ

1

0

0

0

1

EJO

1

0

0

0

1

Coroners Service

0

0

0

0

 

Central Complaints

0

2

0

3

 

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

 

Civil Processing Centre

0

1

5

0

1

Total

6

4

5

3

5

 

Table B: Court Service Staff

 

Jul – Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan -Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Antrim

0

0

0

0

2

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

 

Enniskillen

0

0

0

0

 

Laganside Courts

2

0

0

1

 

Newry

0

1

0

0

 

Omagh

0

0

0

0

1

RCJ

2

1

0

0

 

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

 

Central Complaints

1

1

1

2

 

Dungannon

1

0

0

0

 

EJO

1

0

1

0

 

Customer Service Centre

1

0

0

0

 

Downpatrick

0

1

0

0

 

Total

8

4

2

3

3

 

Table C: Delays

 

Jul-Sep  07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Antrim

0

0

0

0

1

Armagh

0

0

0

0

2

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

1

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

 

Laganside Courts

3

1

0

0

1

Lisburn

0

0

0

0

 

Londonderry

0

0

0

0

 

Magherafelt

1

0

0

0

 

Newry

1

1

1

1

 

RCJ

0

0

1

0

 

EJO

2

3

0

4

1

CFO

0

0

0

0

 

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

 

Central Complaints

2

1

2

2

 

Coroners Service

0

1

0

0

 

Total

9

7

4

7

6

 

Table D: On Line Services

 

Jul-Sep
07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep
 08

Business Development Group

0

0

0

1

4

Total

0

0

0

1

4

 

Table E: Other

 

Jul-Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Laganside Courts

0

1

0

0

1

Newtownards Courthouse

0

0

0

0

 

Royal Courts of Justice

0

1

1

1

1

Central Complaints

0

0

0

3

 

Craigavon

0

0

0

0

1

Enforcement of Judgments Office

0

1

0

1

1

Coleraine Courthouse

0

0

1

0

 

Londonderry Courthouse

0

0

1

0

 

Ballymena Courthouse

0

0

0

1

 

Larne Courthouse

0

0

0

1

 

Civil Processing Centre

0

0

0

3

 

Total

0

3

3

10

4