Quarterly Complaints Bulletin
January – March 2012

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of complaints recorded across the Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) during the quarter January to March 2012.  For comparison purposes, data from the previous 12 months is also provided.  The NICTS has assumed administrative responsibility for a number of NI departmental tribunals, these tribunals have been identified with an asterisks in Table 1.  This report includes complaints for those tribunals, whereas reports prior to April 2010 did not.

Summary

A total of 42 complaints were recorded, however 5 relating to judicial decisions [the Courts and Tribunals Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions] and 1 relating to another organisation fall outside the scope of this report.

The graph below illustrates that 36 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received shows an increase of 20% when compared with the quarter ending December 2011 [30] and has increased by 16% when compared with the same quarter last year [31].

Total Complaints Received

line graph showing the total number ofcompliants received during the reporting period and the previous four quarters
Period Jan-Mar 11 Apr-Jun 11 Jul-Sep 11 Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12
Total number of complaints 31 36 31 30 36

Following investigation 10 complaints (33.3%) were upheld.

Breakdown by venue

A breakdown of the complaints recorded by venue is illustrated in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Breakdown of complaints received by venue
Location Jan-Mar 11 Apr-Jun 11 Jul-Sep 11 Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12
Antrim 0 0 0 1 2
Armagh 0 0 0 0 0
Ballymena 0 0 0 0 2
Bangor 1 0 0 0 0
Care Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Central Complaints 5 5 0 1 5
Civil Processing Centre 3 3 3 1 0
Coleraine 3 0 0 0 0
Communications Group 0 2 0 0 1
Coroners Service 2 3 1 4 0
Court Funds Office 0 0 0 2 0
Craigavon 0 0 1 1 2
CICAP* 0 0 2 0 0
Customer Services Centre 0 2 1 0 1
Downpatrick 0 4 2 1 3
Dungannon 0 1 0 0 1
Enforcement of Judgments Office 5 3 7 3 11
Enniskillen 1 0 0 1 0
Human Resource Unit 0 0 0 0 0
Laganside Courts 3 3 6 2 2
Lands Tribunal* 0 1 0 0 0
Larne 0 0 0 0 0
Limavady 1 0 0 0 0
Lisburn 0 1 1 2 0
Londonderry 1 0 1 1 1
Magherafelt 0 0 0 0 0
Mental Health Review Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Newry 0 0 0 2 0
Newtownards 2 0 1 3 2
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal* 0 1 1 1 1
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
OSSC* 0 0 0 0 0
Omagh 0 0 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Commissioners* 0 0 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Tribunals* 0 0 0 1 0
Royal Courts of Justice 4 6 4 3 2
SENDIST* 0 0 0 0 0
Strabane 0 1 0 0 0
Total number of complaints 31 36 31 30 36

* denotes a NI departmental tribunal for which NICTS has assumed administrative responsibility.

Complaints received centrally through Communications Group, where possible, have now been broken down and allocated to the relevant office or courthouse.

Most complaints related to the following venues:

Breakdown by Category of Complaint

A breakdown of complaints received by category over the last 12 months is illustrated in Table 2 below.

  Jan-Mar 11 Apr-Jun 11 Jul-Sep 11 Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12
Accommodation 6 0 3 1 2
Administration Error 1 3 5 8 5
Catering 0 0 0 0 0
Court Service Staff 5 5 2 2 1
Delays 6 7 11 7 13
Driving Licence 0 0 1 2 1
Fees 1 1 0 0 0
ICOS 0 0 0 0 0
Information Available 2 4 1 2 2
Jury Expenses 0 1 0 1 0
Jury Service 0 3 0 0 1
Juryline 0 0 0 0 0
Online Services 3 2 0 0 2
Post Mortem 0 0 0 0 0
Resource Staff 0 0 0 0 1
Summons Servers 1 0 0 1 0
Telephone Manner 0 0 0 0 0
TV Licensing 0 0 0 0 0
Website 0 1 1 0 0
Other 6 9 7 6 8
Total 31 36 31 30 36

The following 3 categories account for the majority [72%] of complaints recorded.

A breakdown of the 3 main categories recorded by venue is illustrated in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Breakdown of main categories of complaints received
Business Area Category of Complaint
Delays Administration Error Other
Antrim 0 1 0
Ballymena 2 0 0
Central Complaints 2 1 1
Communications Group 1 0 0
Craigavon 1 0 1
Downpatrick 1 0 0
Dungannon 0 1 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 5 2 1
Laganside Courts 0 0 1
Londonderry 0 0 1
Newtownards 1 0 0
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal 0 0 1
Royal Courts of Justice 0 0 2
Total 13 5 8

The nature of the complaints included in the ‘Other’ category are as follows:

Complaints Upheld

Of the 36 complaints received a total of 17 (47%) were upheld.  The NICTS were not found to be at fault for the remaining 19 complaints.
The main categories of upheld complaints related to:

Follow Up Action

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

As a result of the complaints received, these are the actions we have taken:

Follow Up Questionnaires

The NICTS issues a follow up questionnaire to find out how satisfied our customers are with the way in which their complaint was handled.

During this quarter one follow up questionnaire was returned expressing satisfaction with the way the complaint was handled.

How Complaints are Received

During this quarter registering a complaint by letter (36%) was the most popular method used by customers, followed by email (33%).

Table 4: Breakdown of how complaints were received
  Jan-Mar 11 Apr-Jun 11 Jul-Sep 11 Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 11
Comment Card 0 2 0 2 0
Complaints Form 4 4 3 1 7
Email 9 10 7 10 12
Fax 0 0 0 0 1
In Person 3 0 1 1 0
Letter 13 15 16 12 13
Telephone 2 5 4 4 3
Total 31 36 31 30 36

Response Time

During this quarter 30 (83%) complaints were answered within the 15 working day turnaround.

Communications Group
June 2012


Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
Laganside House
23-27 Oxford Street
Belfast
BT1 3LA
www.courtsni.gov.uk