The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Complaints Bulletin January - March 2009  

 

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of complaints recorded across the Court Service during the quarter Jan - Mar 2009.  For comparison purposes, data from the previous 12 months is  also provided.

 

Summary

A total of 51 complaints were recorded however 1 relating to a judicial decision [the Court Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions] falls outside the scope of this report.

Table 1 below illustrates that 50 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received has increased by 16% when compared with quarter ending Dec 08 [43] and has increased by 100% when compared with the same quarter last year [25].  This increase may be due to an improved system of recording complaints implemented over the last 12 months.

Table 1: Total Complaints Received

Total Complaints Received

Following investigation 27 complaints were upheld*. (54%)

* Further information on upheld complaints is included at para 11

 

Breakdown by venue

A breakdown of the complaints recorded by venue is illustrated in        Table 2 below.

Table 2: Breakdown of complaints received by venue

 Location

Jan - Mar 08

Apr- Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Total

Antrim

0

0

2

3

0

5

Armagh

0

3

2

0

1

6

Ballymena

0

2

1

0

0

3

Bangor

0

1

0

0

3

4

Coleraine

1

0

0

1

0

2

Craigavon

1

1

1

1

0

4

Downpatrick

0

0

0

1

0

1

Dungannon

0

0

0

1

0

1

Enniskillen

0

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

3

3

1

2

10

19

Larne

0

1

0

0

0

1

Limavady

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lisburn

2

0

0

0

0

2

Londonderry

2

0

1

3

0

6

Magherafelt

0

0

0

2

1

3

Newry

1

2

0

1

0

4

Newtownards

0

0

1

0

1

2

Omagh

0

0

0

0

1

1

Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ)

3

3

1

5

3

15

Strabane

0

0

0

0

1

1

Court Funds Office

1

0

0

0

1

2

Communications Group

0

2

1

1

3

7

Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO)

1

5

1

7

4

18

Coroners Service

0

0

0

1

0

1

Central Complaints
(Received in Communications Group)

4

13

14

14

16

61

Customer Service Centre (CSC)

0

2

1

0

1

4

Civil Processing Centre (CPC)

6

4

0

0

3

13

Human Resource Unit

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

25

42

27

43

50

187

The venues that recorded the most complaints were:  

 

Breakdown by Category of Complaint

A breakdown of complaints received by category over the last 12    months is illustrated in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Breakdown of complaints by category

 

Jan -Mar 08

Apr- Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Total

Summons Server

0

2

1

1

1

5

Court Service Staff

2

3

3

3

3

14

Delays

4

7

6

7

6

32

Administrative Error

5

3

5

5

6

24

Accommodation

6

6

1

5

6

24

Jury Service

2

6

0

0

2

10

Information Available

2

3

1

2

6

14

Telephone Manner

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

3

10

4

13*

12

42

Online Services

0

1

4

1

1

7

Security Staff

0

0

1

0

2

3

Fees

0

0

1

1

1

3

Catering

0

0

0

2

0

2

Website

0

0

0

3

4

7

Minor of Age Funds

0

0

0

0

0

0

Interest Rate of Investment

1

0

0

0

0

1

Investment of fund

0

0

0

0

0

0

ICOS

0

1

0

0

0

1

Total

25

42

27

43

50

187

The following 7 categories account for the majority [86%] of complaints recorded.

A breakdown of the 7 main categories of complaints recorded by venue can be found at Annex A.

 

Breakdown of Complaints Received Centrally (in Communications Group)

A breakdown of the complaints received centrally during this quarter, by category and location is illustrated in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Breakdown of complaints received centrally

Category of Complaint

Total No
Of Complaints

Business Area

Newtownards Court

Online Services

Website

Court Funds office

Magherafelt
Court

Civil Processing Centre

RCJ

Other

Delays

2

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

Website

4

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

Court Service Staff

2

1

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

Accommodation

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Jury Service

1

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

Online Services

1

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information Available

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

Security Staff

1

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

Other

3

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

2

Total

16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaints Upheld

Of the 50 complaints received a total of 27 (54%) were upheld.    

The main categories of complaints upheld related to:

 

Breakdown of complaints upheld by venue and category

A breakdown of the complaints upheld, recorded by venue and category, for this quarter is illustrated in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Breakdown of complaints received and upheld

Category of Complaint

Total No of Complaints
 Upheld

Business Area

Bangor

Civil Processing Centre

Court Funds Office

EJO

Laganside

Strabane

Magherafelt

Omagh

RCJ

Central Complaints (received in Communications Group)

Website

Delays

3

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Administrative Error

6

 

2

1

 

2

 

 

 

1

 

 

Court Service Staff

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

 

Accommodation

5

2

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

2

 

Summons Server

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Security Staff

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

Online Services

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

3

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

 

1

 

Total

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Up Action

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

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

 

Follow up Questionnaires

 

Breakdown of how complaints are received

Registering a complaint by letter continues to be the most popular method used by customers, during this quarter 44% [22] were made by letter. There has been an increase in the use of making a complaint by electronic means, with 42% of these complaints received through our website. A breakdown of how complaints were received is illustrated in Table 6 below.

Table 6: Method of making a complaint

 

Jan – Mar 08

Apr – Jun 08

Jul – Sep 08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Total

Letter

10

22

16

24

22

94

In Person

0

0

1

3

2

6

Telephone

4

3

2

2

6

17

Email

5

9

6

9

12

41

Complaints Form

1

2

1

0

4

8

Fax

0

0

0

0

0

0

Comment Card

5

6

1

5

4

21

Total

25

42

27

43

50

187

 

Response Time

During this quarter 94% (47) of complaints received were answered within the 15 day turnaround time, with 3 complaints falling outside this timescale.     

 

Annex A

A breakdown of the 6 main categories of complaints recorded by venue is illustrated in Tables A - G below.

Table A: Administrative Error

 

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Antrim

0

0

0

2

0

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Coroners

0

0

0

1

0

Craigavon

0

0

0

0

0

Dungannon

0

0

0

1

0

Laganside Courts

0

0

1

1

2

Londonderry

0

0

1

0

0

Magherafelt

0

0

0

0

0

Newry

0

0

0

0

0

Newtownards

0

0

0

0

0

Omagh

0

0

0

0

0

RCJ

0

0

1

0

1

EJO

0

0

1

0

0

Coroners Service

0

0

0

0

0

Court Funds Office

0

0

0

0

1

Central Complaints

0

3

0

0

0

Communications Group

0

0

0

0

0

Civil Processing Centre

5

0

1

0

2

Total

5

3

5

5

6

 

Table B: Accommodation

 

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Antrim

0

0

0

0

0

Armagh

0

3

0

0

0

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

0

Bangor

0

0

0

0

2

Coleraine

0

0

0

1

0

Coroners

0

0

0

0

0

Craigavon

1

0

0

0

0

Dungannon

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

1

1

1

0

1

Londonderry

1

0

0

1

0

Lisburn

2

0

0

0

0

Magherafelt

0

0

0

2

0

Newry

0

0

0

0

0

Newtownards

0

0

0

0

0

Omagh

0

0

0

0

0

Strabane

0

0

0

0

1

RCJ

1

2

0

1

1

EJO

0

0

0

0

0

Coroners Service

0

0

0

0

0

Central Complaints

0

0

0

0

1

Communications Group

0

0

0

0

0

Civil Processing Centre

0

0

0

0

0

Total

6

6

1

5

6

 

Table C: Court Service Staff

 

Jan -Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Antrim

0

0

2

0

0

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

0

Enniskillen

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

0

1

0

0

0

Newry

0

0

0

0

0

Omagh

0

0

1

0

1

RCJ

0

0

0

0

0

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

0

Central Complaints

1

2

0

1

2

Dungannon

0

0

0

0

0

EJO

1

0

0

2

0

Customer Service Centre

0

0

0

0

0

Downpatrick

0

0

0

0

0

Total

2

3

3

3

3

 

Table D: Delays

 

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Antrim

0

0

1

1

0

Armagh

0

0

2

0

0

Ballymena

0

0

1

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

0

0

1

0

0

Lisburn

0

0

0

0

0

Londonderry

0

0

0

0

0

Magherafelt

0

0

0

0

0

Newry

1

1

0

0

0

RCJ

1

0

0

1

0

EJO

0

4

1

3

2

CFO

0

0

0

0

0

Information Centre

0

0

0

0

0

Central Complaints

2

2

0

2

2

Civil Processing Centre

0

0

0

0

1

Coroners Service

0

0

0

0

0

Communications Group

0

0

0

0

1

Total

4

7

6

7

6

 

Table E: Information Available

 

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Antrim

0

0

0

0

0

Armagh

0

0

0

0

0

Ballymena

0

0

0

0

0

Bangor

0

0

0

0

0

Coleraine

0

0

0

0

0

Coroners

0

0

0

0

0

Craigavon

0

0

0

0

0

Dungannon

0

0

0

0

0

Laganside Courts

0

0

0

0

2

Londonderry

0

0

0

0

0

Lisburn

0

0

0

0

0

Magherafelt

0

0

0

0

0

Newry

0

0

0

0

0

Newtownards

0

0

0

0

0

Omagh

0

0

0

0

0

RCJ

0

0

0

0

0

EJO

0

0

0

1

1

Customer Service Centre

0

0

0

0

1

Central Complaints

1

1

1

0

1

Communications Group

0

1

0

1

1

Civil Processing Centre

1

1

0

0

0

Total

2

3

1

2

6

 

Table F:  Website

 

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Website

0

0

0

3

4

Total

0

0

0

3

4

 

Table G: Other

 

Jan - Mar 08

Apr - Jun 08

Jul – Sep  08

Oct - Dec 08

Jan –Mar 09

Laganside Courts

0

0

1

0

4

Newtownards Courthouse

0

0

0

0

0

Royal Courts of Justice

1

1

1

3

1

Central Complaints

0

3

0

6

3

Craigavon

0

0

1

0

0

Enforcement of Judgments Office

0

1

1

1

1

Coleraine Courthouse

1

0

0

2

 

Human Resource Unit

0

0

0

0

1

Londonderry Courthouse

1

0

0

0

0

Communications Group

0

0

0

0

1

Ballymena Courthouse

0

1

0

0

0

Larne Courthouse

0

1

0

0

0

Civil Processing Centre

0

3

0

0

0

Total

3

10

4

12

12