Quarterly Complaints Bulletin
January – March 2013

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 2013.  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 asterisk in Table 1.  This report includes complaints for those tribunals, whereas reports prior to April 2010 did not.  In May 2012 administrative and governance responsibility of the Parole Commissioners Secretariat transferred to the NI Courts and Tribunals Service.

Summary

A total of 39 complaints were recorded, however 3 related to judicial decisions [the Courts and Tribunals Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions] and 1 related to another organisation which falls outside the scope of this report.

The graph below illustrates that 35 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received shows a decrease of 3% when compared with the quarter ending December 2012 [36] and has also decreased by 3% when compared with the same quarter last year [36].

Following investigation 15 complaints (43%) were upheld.

Total Complaints Received

line graph showing the total number ofcompliants received during the reporting period and the previous four quarters
Table 1: Breakdown of complaints received by venue
Period Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13
Total number of complaints 36 25 22 36 35

Breakdown by venue

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

Location Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13
Antrim 2 0 0 0 0
Armagh 0 0 0 0 0
Ballymena 2 0 1 0 0
Bangor 0 0 0 0 0
Care Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Central Complaints 5 1 0 1 1
Civil Processing Centre 0 1 0 1 1
Coleraine 0 0 0 0 0
Communications Group 1 0 0 0 1
Coroners Service 0 1 0 1 2
Court Funds Office 0 1 0 0 0
Craigavon 2 1 1 1 1
CICAP* 0 1 0 0 1
Customer Services Centre 1 0 0 0 0
Downpatrick 3 0 4 4 5
Dungannon 1 0 0 0 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 11 5 3 8 10
Enniskillen 0 0 0 0 1
Human Resource Unit 0 0 0 0 0
Laganside Courts 2 8 3 14 7
Lands Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Larne 0 0 0 0 0
Limavady 0 0 0 0 0
Lisburn 0 0 0 0 0
Londonderry 1 1 0 1 0
Magherafelt 0 0 0 0 0
Mental Health Review Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Newry 0 0 0 0 0
Newtownards 2 0 1 2 0
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal* 1 0 1 0 0
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal* 0 1 0 0 0
OSSC* 0 0 0 0 0
Omagh 0 0 2 1 0
Parole Commissioners Secretariat - - 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Commissioners* 0 0 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Tribunals* 0 1 0 0 0
Royal Courts of Justice 2 3 6 2 5
SENDIST* 0 0 0 0 0
Strabane 0 0 0 0 0
Total number of complaints 36 25 22 36 35

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

Complaints received centrally, where possible, have 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.

Table 2: Breakdown of complaints by category
  Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13
Accommodation 2 2 6 3 4
Administration Error 5 6 3 4 6
Catering 0 0 0 13 2
NICTS Staff 1 2 2 2 2
Delays 13 3 2 3 7
Driving Licence 1 0 0 0 0
Fees 0 2 1 0 0
ICOS 0 0 0 0 0
Information Available 2 0 1 2 0
Jury Expenses 0 0 0 0 0
Jury Service 1 6 0 2 4
Juryline 0 0 0 1 0
Online Services 2 0 0 0 0
Post Mortem 0 0 0 0 0
Resource Staff 1 2 1 0 1
Summons Servers 0 0 0 0 0
Telephone Manner 0 0 0 0 0
TV Licensing 0 0 0 0 1
Website 0 0 0 0 1
Other 8 2 6 6 7
Total 36 25 22 36 35

The following 3 categories account for the majority [57%] 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 Other Administration Error
Civil processing Centre 0 1 0
Coroners 0 2 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 4 2 3
Enniskillen 1 0 0
Laganside 0 1 2
Royal Courts of Justice 2 1 1
Total 7 7 6

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

Complaints Upheld

Of the 35 complaints received a total of 15 (43%) were upheld.  The NICTS were not found to be at fault for the remaining 20 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:

How Complaints are Received

During this quarter registering a complaint by letter (43%) was the most popular method used by customers, followed by email (26%).

Table 4: Breakdown of how complaints were received
  Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13
Comment Card 0 2 5 3 7
Complaints Form 7 5 1 13 0
Email 12 4 4 8 9
Fax 1 0 0 0 0
In Person 0 2 0 3 0
Letter 13 9 12 8 15
Telephone 3 3 0 1 4
Total 36 25 22 36 35

Response Time

During this quarter 35 (100%) complaints were answered within the 15 working day turnaround.

Central Management Team
April 2013


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