Quarterly Complaints Bulletin
July – September 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 July to September 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 for the Parole Commissioners Secretariat also transferred to the NI Courts and Tribunals Service.

Summary

A total of 22 complaints were recorded, however 4 related solely to judicial decisions [the Courts and Tribunals Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions].

The graph below illustrates that 18 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received shows a decrease of 33.3% when compared with the quarter ending June 2013 [27] and a decrease of 18.2% when compared with the same quarter last year [22].

Following investigation 4 complaints (22.2%) were upheld.

Total Complaints Received

line graph showing the total number ofcompliants received during the reporting period and the previous four quarters
Period Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13 Jul-Sep 13
Total number of complaints 22 36 35 27 18

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 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13 Jul-Sep 12
Antrim 0 0 0 0 0
Armagh 0 0 0 0 2
Ballymena 1 0 0 0 0
Bangor 0 0 0 0 0
Care Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Central Complaints 0 1 1 0 0
Civil Processing Centre 0 1 1 0 1
Coleraine 0 0 0 0 0
Communications Group 0 0 1 0 0
Coroners Service 0 1 2 1 0
Court Funds Office 0 0 0 0 0
Craigavon 1 1 1 0 2
CICAP* 0 0 1 0 0
Customer Services Centre 0 0 0 0 0
Downpatrick 4 4 5 2 1
Dungannon 0 0 0 0 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 3 8 10 6 6
Enniskillen 0 0 1 0 0
Human Resource Unit 0 0 0 0 0
Laganside Courts 3 14 7 6 0
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 0 1 0 1 0
Magherafelt 0 0 0 0 0
Mental Health Review Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Newry 0 0 0 2 0
Newtownards 1 2 0 5 3
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal* 1 0 0 0 0
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
OSSC* 0 0 0 0 1
Omagh 2 1 0 0 1
Parole Commissioners Secretariat 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 6 2 5 3 1
SENDIST* 0 0 0 0 0
Strabane 0 0 0 0 0
Total number of complaints 22 36 35 27 18

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

Complaints received centrally, where possible, have been 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

  Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13 Jul-Sep 13
Accommodation 6 3 4 4 2
Administration Error 3 4 6 6 2
Catering 0 13 2 1 0
NICTS Staff 2 2 2 3 3
Delays 2 3 7 4 3
Driving Licence 0 0 0 1 0
Fees 1 0 0 1 0
ICOS 0 0 0 0 0
Information Available 1 2 0 0 1
Jury Expenses 0 0 0 0 0
Jury Service 0 2 4 1 1
Juryline 0 1 0 0 0
Online Services 0 0 0 0 1
Post Mortem 0 0 0 0 0
Resource Staff 1 0 1 1 0
Summons Servers 0 0 0 0 0
Telephone Manner 0 0 0 0 0
TV Licensing 0 0 1 0 0
Website 0 0 1 0 0
Other 6 6 7 5 5
Total 22 36 35 27 18

The following 3 categories account for the majority [61.1%] 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
Court Service Staff Delays Other
Armagh 0 0 1
Civil Processing Centre 1 0 0
Craigavon 1 0 0
Downpatrick 0 0 1
Enforcement of Judgments Office 0 2 1
Newtownards 1 0 0
OSSC 0 1 0
Omagh 0 0 1
Pensions Appeal Tribunals 0 0 1
Total 3 3 5

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

Complaints upheld

Of the 18 complaints received a total of 4 (22.2%) were upheld.  The NICTS were not found to be at fault for 13 complaints.  An investigation into the final complaint is on-going.
The main categories of upheld complaints related to:

Follow up action

The follow up action taken in respect of complaints upheld:

How complaints are received

During this quarter registering a complaint by letter (33%) was the most popular method used by customers, followed by email and telephone (both 22%).
Table 4: Breakdown of how complaints were received

  Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13 Jul-Sep 13
Comment Card 5 3 7 1 3
Complaints Form 1 13 0 2 1
Email 4 8 9 9 4
Fax 0 0 0 2 0
In Person 0 3 0 3 0
Letter 12 8 15 8 6
Telephone 0 1 4 2 4
Total 22 36 35 27 18

Response time

During this quarter 16 (88.9%) complaints were answered within the 15 working day turnaround.


Central Management Team
February 2014


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