Quarterly Complaints Bulletin
October – December 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 October to December 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 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

The graph below illustrates that 36* complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received shows an increase of 64% when compared with the quarter ending September 2012 [22] and has increased by 20% when compared with the same quarter last year [30].

Following investigation 24 complaints (67%) were upheld.

*12 complaints related to one specific catering issue.

Total Complaints Received

Period Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12
Total number of complaints 30 36 25 22 36
line graph showing the total number ofcompliants received during the reporting period and the previous four quarters

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 Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12
Antrim 1 2 0 0 0
Armagh 0 0 0 0 0
Ballymena 0 2 0 1 0
Bangor 0 0 0 0 0
Care Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Central Complaints 1 5 1 0 1
Civil Processing Centre 1 0 1 0 1
Coleraine 0 0 0 0 0
Communications Group 0 1 0 0 0
Coroners Service 4 0 1 0 1
Court Funds Office 2 0 1 0 0
Craigavon 1 2 1 1 1
CICAP* 0 0 1 0 0
Customer Services Centre 0 1 0 0 0
Downpatrick 1 3 0 4 4
Dungannon 0 1 0 0 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 3 11 5 3 8
Enniskillen 1 0 0 0 0
Human Resource Unit 0 0 0 0 0
Laganside Courts 2 2 8 3 14
Lands Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Larne 0 0 0 0 0
Limavady 0 0 0 0 0
Lisburn 2 0 0 0 0
Londonderry 1 1 1 0 1
Magherafelt 0 0 0 0 0
Mental Health Review Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Newry 2 0 0 0 0
Newtownards 3 2 0 1 2
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal* 1 1 0 1 0
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal* 0 0 1 0 0
OSSC* 0 0 0 0 0
Omagh 0 0 0 2 1
Parole Commissioners Secretariat - - - 0 0
Pensions Appeal Commissioners* 0 0 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Tribunals* 1 0 1 0 0
Royal Courts of Justice 3 2 3 6 2
SENDIST* 0 0 0 0 0
Strabane 0 0 0 0 0
Total number of complaints 30 36 25 22 36

* 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
  Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 July-Sept 12 Oct-Dec 12
Accommodation 1 2 2 6 3
Administration Error 8 5 6 3 4
Catering 0 0 0 0 13
NICTS Staff 2 1 2 2 2
Delays 7 13 3 2 3
Driving Licence 2 1 0 0 0
Fees 0 0 2 1 0
ICOS 0 0 0 0 0
Information Available 2 2 0 1 2
Jury Expenses 1 0 0 0 0
Jury Service 0 1 6 0 2
Juryline 0 0 0 0 1
Online Services 0 2 0 0 0
Post Mortem 0 0 0 0 0
Resource Staff 0 1 2 1 0
Summons Servers 1 0 0 0 0
Telephone Manner 0 0 0 0 0
TV Licensing 0 0 0 0 0
Website 0 0 0 0 0
Other 6 8 2 6 6
Total 30 36 25 22 36

The following 3 categories account for the majority [64%] 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
Catering Other Administration Error
Central Complaints 0 1 0
Civil Processing Centre 0 1 0
Coroners’ 0 1 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 0 3 2
Laganside Courts 13 0 0
Omagh 0 0 1
Royal Courts of Justice 0 0 1
Total 13 6 4

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

Complaints Upheld

Of the 36 complaints received a total of 24 (67%) were upheld.  The NICTS were not found to be at fault for the remaining 12 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 (52%) was the most popular method used by customers, followed by email (23%).

Table 4: Breakdown of how complaints were received
  Oct-Dec 11 Jan-Mar 12 Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12
Comment Card 2 0 2 5 3
Complaints Form 1 7 5 1 13
Email 10 12 4 4 8
Fax 0 1 0 0 0
In Person 1 0 2 0 3
Letter 12 13 9 12 8
Telephone 4 3 3 0 1
Total 30 36 25 22 36

Response Time

The NICTS aims to respond to complaints within 15 working days.  During this quarter 29 complaints (81%) were answered within the 15 working day timeframe.

Communications Group
March 2013


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