The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Complaints Bulletin April - June 2008

Introduction

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

Summary

A total of 51 complaints were received, however, 3 relating to   judicial decisions [the Court Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions] and 6 relating to other organisations fall      outside the scope of this report.

Table 1 below illustrates that 42 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received has increased by 68%   when compared with quarter ending Mar 08 [25] and by 10% when compared with the same quarter last year [38].

Table 1: Total Complaints Received

Total Complaints Received

A total of 31 complaints were upheld during this quarter.

Breakdown by venue

A breakdown of complaints received by location is illustrated in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Breakdown of complaints received by location

 Location

Apr -Jun 07

Jul -Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr- Jun 08

Total

Antrim

3

1

4

0

0

8

Armagh

2

0

0

0

3

5

Ballymena

0

2

2

0

2

6

Bangor

0

0

0

0

1

1

Coleraine

0

0

0

1

0

1

Craigavon

1

1

0

1

1

4

Downpatrick

0

0

1

0

0

1

Dungannon

0

1

1

0

0

2

Enniskillen

1

0

0

0

0

1

Laganside Courts

4

6

4

3

3

20

Larne

0

0

0

0

1

1

Limavady

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lisburn

0

0

0

2

0

2

Londonderry

1

0

0

2

0

3

Magherafelt

1

1

0

0

0

2

Newry

3

2

3

1

2*

11

Newtownards

1

0

2

0

0

3

Omagh

2

0

0

0

0

2

Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ)

4

3

2

3

3*

15

Strabane

0

1

0

0

0

1

Court Funds Office

2

2

0

1

0

5

Communications Group

1

1

0

0

2

4

Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO)

5

3

5

1

5*

19

Coroners Service

0

1

2

0

0

3

Central Complaints

7

10

8

4

13

42

Customer Service Centre (CSC)

-

1

0

0

2

3

Civil Processing Centre (CPC)

-

-

4

6

4

14

Total

38

36

38

25

42

179

1 complaint not upheld

7 complaints not upheld

The locations that recorded the most complaints were:

Limavady Courthouse has received no complaints during the past 27 months.

Complaints Received Centrally

A breakdown of the complaints received centrally during this quarter, by category and location is illustrated in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Breakdown of complaints received centrally

Category of Complaint

Total No
Of Complaints

Business Area

Coleraine

Craigavon

CSC

EJO

Laganside
Courts

Larne

Newtownards
Court

RCJ

Delays

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

Information Available

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Court Service Staff

2

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

Jury Service

2

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Error

3

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

2

Other

3

 

1

 

1

 

 

 

1

Total

13

1

1

2

1

1

1

2

4

 

Breakdown by Category of Complaint

A breakdown of all complaints received by category is illustrated in      Table 4 below.

Table 4: Breakdown of complaints by category

 

Apr - Jun 07

July - Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan -Mar 08

Apr- Jun 08

Total

Summons Server

2

0

2

0

2

6

Court Service Staff

5

8

4

2

3

22

Delays

4

9

7

4

7

31

Administrative Error

6

6

4

5

3

24

Accommodation

3

4

4

6

6

23

Jury Service

2

1

0

2

6

11

Information Available

6

3

2

2

3

16

Telephone Manner

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

5

0

3

3

10

21

Online Services

0

0

0

0

1

1

Security Staff

0

0

3

0

0

3

Fees

0

2

3

0

0

5

Catering

3

1

3

0

0

7

Website

0

0

3

0

0

3

Minor of Age Funds

1

0

0

0

0

1

Interest Rate of Investment

1

1

0

1

0

3

Investment of fund

0

1

0

0

0

1

ICOS

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

38

36

38

25

42

179

The following 6 categories continue to account for the majority [76%] of complaints recorded.

  1. Administrative Error        3
  2. Court Service Staff         3
  3. Information Available      3
  4. Delays                              7
  5. Accommodation              6
  6. Other                                 10

A breakdown of the 6 main categories of complaints received by location is illustrated in Tables 5 - 10 below.

Table 5: Administrative Error

Location

Apr - Jun 07

Jul –Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Ballymena

0

1

0

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Craigavon

0

1

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

1

0

1

0

0

Magherafelt

0

1

0

0

0

Newry

0

1

0

0

0

Newtownards

0

0

0

0

0

Omagh

0

0

0

0

0

RCJ

2

1

0

0

0

EJO

1

1

0

0

0

Coroners Service

0

0

0

0

0

Central Complaints

1

0

2

0

3

Information Centre

1

0

0

0

0

Civil Processing Centre

0

0

1

5

0

Total

6

6

4

5

3

 

Table 6: Court Service Staff

Location

Apr - Jun 07

Jul – Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan -Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Antrim

0

0

0

0

0

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

0

Enniskillen

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

0

2

0

0

1

Newry

2

0

1

0

0

Omagh

1

0

0

0

0

RCJ

1

2

1

0

0

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

0

Central Complaints

1

1

1

1

2

Dungannon

0

1

0

0

0

EJO

0

1

0

1

0

Customer Service Centre

0

1

0

0

0

Downpatrick

0

0

1

0

0

Total

5

8

4

2

3

 

Table 7: Information Available

Location

Apr - Jun 07

Jul- Sep  07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Bangor

0

0

0

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Craigavon

1

0

0

0

0

Londonderry

1

0

0

0

0

Newry

0

0

0

0

0

RCJ

0

0

0

0

0

EJO

4

0

0

0

0

CFO

0

0

0

0

0

Information Centre

0

1

0

0

1

Central Complaints

0

2

0

1

1

Ballymena

0

0

1

0

0

Civil Processing Centre

0

0

1

1

1

Total

6

3

2

2

3

 

Table 8: Delays

Location

Apr - Jun 07

Jul-Sep  07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

0

3

1

0

0

Lisburn

0

0

0

0

0

Londonderry

0

0

0

0

0

Magherafelt

1

1

0

0

0

Newry

1

1

1

1

1

RCJ

0

0

0

1

0

EJO

0

2

3

0

4

CFO

0

0

0

0

0

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

0

Central Complaints

2

2

1

2

2

Coroners Service

0

0

1

0

0

Total

4

9

7

4

7

 

Table 9: Accommodation

Location

Apr - Jun 07

Jul-Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Antrim

1

1

3

0

0

Laganside Courts

1

0

0

1

1

Central Complaints

1

1

0

0

0

Ballymena Courthouse

0

1

1

0

0

Strabane Courthouse

0

1

0

0

0

Craigavon Courthouse

0

0

0

1

0

Lisburn Courthouse

0

0

0

2

0

Londonderry

0

0

0

1

0

Royal Courts of Justice

0

0

0

1

2

Armagh Courthouse

0

0

0

 

3

Total

3

4

4

6

6

 

Table 10: Other

Location

Apr - Jun 07

Jul-Sep 07

Oct -Dec 07

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Laganside Courts

1

0

1

0

0

Newtownards Courthouse

1

0

0

0

0

Royal Courts of Justice

1

0

1

1

1

Central Complaints

2

0

0

0

3

Enforcement of Judgments Office

0

0

1

0

1

Coleraine Courthouse

0

0

0

1

0

Londonderry Courthouse

0

0

0

1

0

Ballymena Courthouse

0

0

0

0

1

Larne Courthouse

0

0

0

0

1

Civil Processing Centre

0

0

0

0

3

Total

5

0

3

3

10

 

Breakdown of how complaints are received

Registering a complaint by letter continues to be the most popular method used by customers, during this quarter, 52% [22] were made by letter. A breakdown of how complaints were received is illustrated in Table 11 below.

Table 11: Method of making a complaint

 

Apr - Jun 07

Jul-Sep 07

Oct-Dec 07

Jan – Mar 08

Apr – Jun 08

Total

Letter

16

16

22

10

22

86

In Person

2

2

7

0

0

11

Telephone

5

6

3

4

3

21

Email

8

7

3

5

9

32

Complaints Form

4

4

2

1

2

13

Fax

0

0

0

0

0

0

Comment Card

3

1

1

5

6

16

Total

38

36

38

25

42

179

 

Response Time

During this quarter 90% (38) of complaints received were answered within the 15 day turnaround time. A breakdown of complaints answered within the target time of 15 days is illustrated in Table 12 below.

Table 12: Complaints answered within 15 Days

 

Apr -Jun
07

Jul-Sep
07

Oct -Dec
07

Jan –Mar
 08

Apr - Jun
08

Yes

35

34

35

23

38

No

3

2

3

2

4

 

Follow up Action

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

 

Follow up Questionnaires

The Northern Ireland Court Service routinely encloses a copy of a follow-up questionnaire with each response to a complaint.  The purpose of the follow-up questionnaire is to find out how satisfied our customers are with the way in which their complaint was handled.

A breakdown of the number of follow up questionnaires received is      illustrated in Table 13 below.

Table 13: Number of Follow up Questionnaires received

Apr -Jun 07

Jul – Sep
07

Oct- Dec
07

Jan – Mar
08

Apr – Jun
08

1

1

1

1

1

The follow up questionnaire received this quarter indicated that the customer was in the main very satisfied with the way his complaint was handled under the formal complaints process.

A number of complainants opted not to use the follow up questionnaire and provided feedback on our complaints handling arrangements by e mail. A breakdown of the number of responses received using email is illustrated in Table 14 below.

Table 14: Number of feedback messages received by e mail

Apr -Jun 07

Jul – Sep
07

Oct- Dec
07

Jan – Mar
08

Apr – Jun
08

-

-

-

1

4

The feedback from complainants corresponding by email included the following statements:

No action was deemed appropriate or necessary as a consequence of feedback received in relation to our complaints handling arrangements.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the content of this report, please contact;
 
Denise McCluskey
N I Court Service
Communications Group
Windsor House
9 -15 Bedford Street
Belfast
BT2 7LT

Telephone: 028 9041 2388
Text phone: 028 9041 2920
E mail communicationsgroup@courtsni.gov.uk