The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Review of the Complaints Process for the Northern Ireland Court Service January 2006 – March 2006

Complaints statistics

Introduction

The Purpose of this report is to provide an overview on the complaints received throughout the Court Service for the period January – March 2006.

During the period January – March 2006, there were a total of 49 complaints received throughout the Court Service.  Of the 49 received, 6 related to an organisation other than the Court Service reducing the total number of complaints recorded to 43. For the purpose of this report our statistical analysis will only include those complaints which relate directly to the Court Service.

There are 6 main groups from which we receive quarterly returns for analysis (Annex A).   The 43 recorded complaints were received across 3 groups, the Information Centre, Human Resource Unit and Court Funds Office provided a nil return for this period.  A breakdown of the number of complaints received by location can be seen below.

Breakdown by location of the number of complaints received in the Northern Ireland Court Service between January - March 2006

In the 3 month period from January – March 2006, 93% of the complaints were answered within the 15 day turnaround time.

Number of complaints answered within the 15 day turnaround time

Complaints can be made by various methods, a breakdown of which can be seen in the chart below.

Breakdown of how complaints were received in the Northern Ireland Court Service between Jan-March 2006

Complains received relate to a variety of issues.  A breakdown of the categories of complaints received can be seen below.

Category of complaints received in the Northern Ireland Court Service during the period Jan-Mar 2006

 

Courthouses

There are 21 Courthouses throughout Northern Ireland.  In the three-month period from January – March 2006, there were a total of 31 complaints received at 11 courthouses throughout the Court Service.  The remaining 10 courthouses provided a ‘Nil Return’ within this time period.  (A list of these courthouses can be found at Annex B).

Number of complaints received in each Courthouse between Jan-Mar 2006

All of the complaints received were answered within the 15-day timescale.

The most frequently used method of making a complaint was by putting it in writing (42%), followed by filling out a comments card (26%).  A full breakdown of the format in which the complaints were received during this quarter can be found below.

Format complaints were received in throughout the courthouse during the period Jan-Mar 2006

The court office that received the most complaints during this period was the RCJ, which received 10 complaints in total, then Craigavon which received 4, followed by Laganside Courts, Antrim and Newtownards which each received 3.  (A full breakdown can be found at Annex B)

 

Breakdown of complaints received in Courthouses by category

The category which received the highest number of complaints in Courthouses was regarding accommodation – 12 complaints in total were received in this category.  These were broken down as follows: The RCJ and Newtownards both received 3 complaints, Ballymena and Antrim received 2 each and finally, Laganside Courts and Limavady each received 1.

There were 6 complaints received in this quarter relating to delays (Downpatrick 1, Belfast 1and RCJ 4).  These ranged from the length of time waiting at the counter to be served to delays in the listing of cases.

There were 4 complaints which were the result of administration errors. 2 were received in the RCJ and one each in Downpatrick and Laganside Courts.

 

Central complaints

During the period Jan – March 2006 there were a total of 10 complaints received centrally in the Information Centre: 70% of these were answered within the target time of 15 working days.  The remaining 30% were not answered due to the complex nature of the complaints.

4 complaints each were received via letter and email, 1 using the complaints form and lastly, 1 complaint was made over the telephone.

There were 3 complaints made regarding Judicial Decisions.  The categories ‘Administrative Error’ and ‘Delays’ each received 2 complaints.  (A full breakdown of the categories can be found at Annex C).

Enforcement of Judgments Office

The EJO received 2 complaints during this period.  Both complaints were answered with the 15-day turnaround time.  One complaint was made via the telephone and the other was made in writing.  The 2 complaints were regarding administration errors.

Court Funds Office

This office recorded a ‘Nil’ return within this period.

Information Centre

This office recorded a ‘Nil’ return within this period.

Human Resources Unit

This office recorded a ‘Nil’ return within this period.

 

Annex A

The 6 main groups from which we receive complaints returns for statistical analysis are listed below:

Enforcement of Judgments Office
Court Funds Office
Central
Human Resource Unit
Information Centre
21 Courthouses:

 

Annex B

The following courthouses provided ‘Nil’ returns

Armagh
Banbridge
Dungannon
Enniskillen
Lisburn
Londonderry
Magherafelt
Newry
Omagh
Strabane

 

Number of complaints received by Courthouse