The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Review of the Complaints Process for the Northern Ireland Court Service July 2006 – September 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 July – September 2006.

During the period July – September 2006, there were a total of 36 complaints received throughout the Court Service.  Of the 36 received, 1 related to an organisation other than the Court Service reducing the total number to 34. For the purpose of this report our statistical analysis will only include those complaints which relate directly to the Court Service.

There are 5 main groups from which we receive quarterly complaints returns for statistical analysis (Annex A). The 35 recorded complaints were received across all these groups, Corporate Complaints, Information Centre (local complaints) Courthouses, Court Funds Office and the EJO.   A breakdown of the number of complaints received by location can be seen below. 

Note: HRU no longer wish to contribute to this analysis as they do not directly receive complaints from the public.

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

In the 3 month period from July – September 2006, 94% 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 July - September 2006

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 July - Sep 2006

 

Courthouses

There are 21 courthouses throughout Northern Ireland.  In the 3 month period from July – September 2006, there was a total of 16 complaints received at 7 courthouses throughout the Court Service.  The remaining 14 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 July - September 2006

All of the 16 complaints were answered within the 15-day timescale. 

The most frequently used methods of making a complaint was over the phone (25%) and by filling in a complaints form (25%).     This was followed by making a complaint via letter (19%) and by filling in a comment card (19%).  Making a complaint via email (12%) was the least frequently used method. A breakdown of the methods used to make a complaint can be seen below.

Method of making a complaint at courthouses during the period July - Septemner 2006

 

Breakdown of complaints received in courthouses by category

The total number of complaints received at courthouses was 16.  The court office that received the most complaints during this period was the RCJ which received a total of 8.  (A full breakdown can be found at Annex B).

The category which received the highest number of complaints in courthouses was regarding accommodation – 5 complains in total were received.  These were all received in the RCJ.

There were 3 complaints received in this quarter relating to Information available.  These were broken down as follows: Coleraine 1, Newry 1 and RCJ 1.

There were 2 complaints received in this quarter relating to administration errors: Coleraine 1 and Magherafelt 1.

2 complaints received during this period relating to Maybin Staff: Belfast 1 and RCJ 1.

Delays (Ballymena), summons servers (Ballymena), judicial decisions (Londonderry) and court service staff (RCJ) each received 1 complaint during this period.

 

Corporate Complaints

During the period July to September 2006, there were a total of 6 complaints received centrally in the Information Centre.  All of these were answered within the target time of 15 working days.

3 of the complaints were received via email, 2 received by letter and one was made using the complaints form.

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

Category of corporate complaints received in the Information Centre during the period July - September 2006

 

Enforcement of Judgments

The EJO received 8 complaints during this period.  All of the complaints were answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  5 complaints were made via letter, 2 via the telephone and one using the complaints form.

4 of the complaints received related to delays, 2 related to online services and 2 regarding administration errors.

 

Court Funds Office

This office received 2 complaints within this period.  Both were answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  1 complaint was made in the form of a letter and related to information available and the other was received via email, regarding delays.

 

Information Centre

The information centre received 3 complaints during the period July – September 2006.  Only one of these was answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  2 complaints were received via email and 1 over the phone.

 

Information Centre

The information centre received 3 complaints during the period July – September 2006.  Only one of these was answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  2 complaints were received via email and 1 over the phone.

1 of the complaints related to court service staff and the other 2 (from the same complainant) were regarding information available.  (Due to the introduction of ICOS in Laganside, a journalist wasn’t able to get the required information by his deadline.)

 

Quarterly comparison

The following section shows a comparison of complaints received this quarter (July – September) with the previous quarters (April – June & January – March).

Comparison of total number of complaints received by quarter

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

Comparison of category of complaints received by category per quarter

Comparison of the 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

 

Annex A

The 5 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
21 Courthouses:

 

Annex B

The following courthouses provided a “Nil Return”

Antrim
Armagh
Banbridge
Bangor
Craigavon
Downpatrick
Dungannon
Enniskillen
Larne
Lisburn
Limavady
Newtownards
Omagh
Strabane

 

Number of complaints received by courthouse

Ballymena: 2
Coleraine: 2
RCJ: 8
Londonderry: 1
Magherafelt: 1
Newry: 1
Belfast: 1