The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Review of the Complaints Process for the Northern Ireland Court Service January 2007 – March 2007

Complaints Statistics

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the complaints received throughout the Court Service for the period January –March 2007.

During the period January – March 2007, there were a total of 64 complaints received throughout the Court Service.  Of the 64 received, 5 related to an organisation other than the Court Service reducing the total number to 59. 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 complaints returns for statistical analysis (Annex A). The 59 recorded complaints were received across 4 of these groups. The Information Centre (local complaints) and Court Funds Office received no complaints during 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 Jan-Mar 2007

In the 3 month period from January – March 2007, 92% of the complaints were answered within the 15 day turnaround time.

Number of complaints answered within the 15 day target 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 Court Service between Jan-Mar 2007

Complaints 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 Court Service during the period Jan-Mar 2007

 

Courthouses

There are 20 courthouses throughout Northern Ireland (Banbridge Courthouse is currently not open to the public).  In the 3 month period from Jan – March 2007, there was a total of 40 complaints received at 13 courthouses throughout the Court Service.  The remaining 7 courthouses provided a “Nil Return” within this period.  (A list of these courthouses can be found at Annex B).

Number of complaints received in each courthouse between Jan-Mar 2007

90% of the complaints received at courthouses were answered within the 15 day timescale.

The most frequently used methods of making a complaint was by letter (29%) and by completing a complaints form (27%).    This was followed by making a complaint via a comment card (18%) and by telephone (15%), by telephone (8%) and via email (3%).  A breakdown of the methods used to make a complaint can be seen below.

Method of making a complaint at courthouses during the period Jan-Mar 2007

 

Breakdown of complaints received in courthouses by category

The total number of complaints received at courthouses was 40.  The court office that received the most complaints during this period was Laganside Courts which received a total of 12.  (A full breakdown can be found at Annex B).

The category which received the highest number of complaints in courthouses was regarding accommodation– 11 complaints in total were received. (Bangor x 6,  Ballymena x 1, Laganside Courts x 4)

There were 10 complaints received in this quarter relating to administrative errors.  These were broken down as follows: RCJ x 3, Coleraine x 1,  Laganside Courts x 4, Ballymena x 2)

Category of complaints received at courthouses during the period Jan-Mar 2007

 

Corporate Complaints

During the period January – March 2007, there were a total of 16 complaints received centrally in the Information Centre.  94% of these were answered within the target time of 15 working days.

7 of the complaints were received via letter, 5 received by email and 4 were made by phone.

A breakdown of the categories of complaints received in the Information Centre can be seen below.

Category of corporate complaints received Centrally during the period Jan-Mar 2007

 

Enforcement of Judgments Office

The EJO received 2 complaints during this period.  Both of the complaints were answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  1 complaint was made via letter and the other was made via the telephone.

1 of the complaints received in the EJO related to delays and the remaining complaint fell into the category of other.

 

Coroners Service

 The Coroners Service received 1 complaint during this period and it was answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  The complaint was made via letter and concerned an administrative error.

 

Quarterly comparison

The following section shows a comparison of complaints received this quarter (Jan – Mar 2007) with the previous quarters (April – June, July – September & October – December 2006).

Comparison of total number of complaints received by quarter

Comparison of complaints that were answered within the target time of 15 days

Comparison of total number of complaints received at courthouses per quarter

Comparison of complaints received in the EJO per quarter

Comparison of complaints received corporately by quarter

Comparison of category of complaints received by category per quarter

 

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
Corporate Complaints
Information Centre
Coroners Service
20 Courthouses:

Banbridge Courthouse is currently closed to the public

 

Annex B

The following courthouses provided a “Nil Return”

Armagh
Craigavon
Downpatrick
Enniskillen
Larne
Limavady
Magherafelt

 

Number of complaints received by courthouse