The Northern Ireland Court Service

Quarterly Review of the Complaints Process for the Northern Ireland Court Service October 2006 – December 2006

 

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the complaints received throughout the Court Service for the period October - December 2006.

During the period October - December 2006, there were a total of 45 complaints received throughout the Court Service.  Of the 45 received, 1 related to an organisation other than the Court Service reducing the total number to 44. 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 44 recorded complaints were received across 3 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 October - December 2006

In the 3 month period from October – December 2006, 95% 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 court service between October - December 2006

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

 

Courthouses

There are 20 courthouses throughout Northern Ireland (Banbridge Courthouse is no longer open to the public).  In the 3 month period from October - December 2006, there was a total of 31 complaints received at 10 courthouses throughout the Court Service.  The remaining 10 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 October - December 2006

97% 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 (35%) and by making the complaint in person (23%).    This was followed by making a complaint via email (16%) and by telephone (13%) and filling in a comment card (10%) and finally by completing a complaints form (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 October - December 2006

 

Breakdown of complaints received in courthouses by category

The total number of complaints received at courthouses was 31.  The court office that received the most complaints during this period was the RCJ which received a total of 16.  (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. (RCJ x7, Downpatrick x 2, Newry x 1, Laganside x 1)

There were 6 complaints received in this quarter relating to administrative errors.  These were broken down as follows: RCJ x 3, Omagh x 1, Newry x1, Ballymena x 1)

 

Corporate Complaints

During the period October to December 2006, there were a total of 8 complaints received centrally in the Information Centre.  87.5% of these were answered within the target time of 15 working days.

4 of the complaints were received via email, 3 received by letter and 1 was made by fax.

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

Category of complaints received centrally in the Information centre during the period October-December 2006

 

Enforcement of Judgments

The EJO received 5 complaints during this period.  All of the complaints were answered within the 15 day turnaround time.  2 complaints were made via letter, 1 via the telephone, 1 by email and 1 in person.

4 of the complaints received in the EJO related to administrative errors and the remaining complaint concerned delays.

 

Quarterly comparison

The following section shows a comparison of complaints received this quarter (October – December) with the previous quarters (July – September, 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 total number of complaints received at courthouses per quarter

Comparison of complaints received in the EJO quarter

Comparison of complaints received corporately by quarter

Comparison of category of complaints received by category per 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
20 Courthouses:

Banbridge Courthouse is currently closed to the public

 

Annex B

The following courthouses provided a “Nil Return”

Armagh
Bangor
Coleraine
Craigavon
Enniskillen
Larne
Lisburn
Limavady
Magherafelt
Strabane

 

Number of complaints received by courthouse

Ballymena: 4
Londonderry: 1
Newry: 2
Laganside Courts:
Downpatrick: 2
RCJ: 16
Antrim:
Omagh:
Newtownards: 1
Dungannon: 1