Quarterly Complaints Bulletin April – June 2010

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of complaints recorded across the Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) during the quarter April – June 2010.  For comparison purposes, data from the previous 12 months is also provided.  The NICTS has assumed administrative responsibility for a number of NI departmental tribunals.  This report includes complaints for those tribunals, whereas previous reports did not.

Summary

A total of 84 complaints were recorded, however 1 relating to a judicial decision [the Courts and Tribunals Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions] and 3 relating to other organisations fall outside the scope of this report.
The graph below illustrates that 80 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received has increased by 70% when compared with the quarter ending Mar 10 [47] and has increased by 63% when compared with the same quarter last year [49]. 

The NICTS has recently introduced new recording methods for registering both formal and informal complaints, which has had a bearing on the total number of complaints received.

Total Complaints Received

Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10 Apr-Jun 10
49 52 62 47 80

Following investigation 36 complaints (45%) were upheld.

Breakdown by venue

A breakdown of the complaints recorded by venue is illustrated in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Breakdown of complaints received by venue

Location Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10 Apr-Jun 10
Antrim 0 0 1 0 0
Armagh 0 3 0 0 0
Ballymena 0 0 0 0 0
Bangor 0 8 4 1 0
Care Tribunal         0
Central Complaints 17 21 26 11 5
Civil Processing Centre 4 0 0 1 0
Coleraine 0 0 0 1 1
Communications Group 2 0 0 0 0
Coroners Service 1 1 0 2 3
Court Funds Office 1 0 0 1 3
Craigavon 0 4 0 1 2
CICAP         1
Customer Services Centre 3 0 3 3 23
Downpatrick 1 2 4 4 2
Dungannon 0 0 1 2 1
Enforcement of Judgments Office 4 6 7 5 8
Enniskillen 0 0 0 1 1
Human Resource Unit 1 0 0 0 1
Laganside Courts 6 3 4 3 8
Lands Tribunal         0
Larne 0 0 0 0 0
Limavady 0 0 0 0 0
Lisburn 0 0 0 0 0
Londonderry 0 1 4 2 1
Magherafelt 2 0 0 0 1
Mental Health Review Tribunal         0
Newry 1 1 2 0 1
Newtownards 0 0 2 5 4
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal         0
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal         0
OSSC         0
Omagh 1 0 0 1 2
Pensions Appeal Commissioners         0
Pensions Appeal Tribunals         1
Royal Courts of Justice 4 2 4 3 11
SENDIST         0
Strabane 1 0 0 0 0
Total number of complaints 49 52 62 47 80

Complaints received centrally through Communications Group, where possible, have now been broken down and allocated to the relevant office or courthouse.

Most complaints related to the following venues:

Breakdown by Category of Complaint

A breakdown of complaints received by category over the last 12 months is illustrated in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Breakdown of complaints by category

  Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10 Apr-Jun 10
Accommodation 2 10 12 10 7
Administration Error 7 6 4 5 4
Catering 0 0 3 3 3
Court Service Staff 7 3 5 6 3
Delays 5 6 7 6 11
Driving Licence 0 0 0 0 11
Fees 0 0 0 0 1
ICOS 0 0 0 0 0
Information Available 2 1 2 3 0
Jury Expenses 0 0 0 0 7
Jury Service 2 2 2 1 4
Juryline 0 0 0 0 1
Online Services 0 5 1 0 2
Post Mortem 0 0 0 0 2
Resource Staff 2 1 1 0 3
Summons Servers 1 1 2 0 1
Telephone Manner 0 0 0 0 0
Tribunal Panel Member 0 0 0 0 0
TV Licensing 0 0 0 0 2
Website 1 2 9 0 0
Other 20 15 14 13 18
Total 49 52 62 47 80

The following 5 categories account for the majority [68%] of complaints recorded.

A breakdown of the 5 main categories recorded by venue is illustrated in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Breakdown of main categories of complaints received

Business Area Category of Complaint
Delays Driving Licence Accommodation Jury Expenses Other
Coleraine 0 0 0 0 1
Downpatrick 0 0 0 0 1
Enniskillen 0 0 1 0 0
Human Resource Unit 0 0 0 0 1
Londonderry 0 0 1 0 0
Pensions Appeal Tribunals 0 0 1 0 0
Central Complaints 0 0 0 0 3
Court Funds Office 0 0 0 0 3
Newtownards 1 0 2 0 0
Laganside Courts 2 2 0 0 1
Enforcement of Judgments Office 3 0 0 0 4
Royal Courts of Justice 5 0 2 0 2
Customer Services Centre 0 9 0 7 2
Total 11 11 7 7 18

Complaints Upheld

Of the 80 complaints received a total of 36 (45%) were upheld.

The main categories of upheld complaints related to:

Follow Up Action

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

As a result of the complaints received, these are the actions we have taken:

Follow Up Questionnaires

The NICTS issues a follow up questionnaire to find out how satisfied our customers are with the way in which their complaint was handled.During this quarter three follow up questionnaires were returned, with one customer expressing satisfaction with the way their complaint was handled.

How Complaints are Received

During this quarter, registering a complaint by telephone (34%) was the most popular method used by customers, followed by letter (31%).  The increase in complaints made by telephone may be due to new recording methods for registering both formal and informal complaints.

Table 4: Breakdown of how complaints were received

  Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10 Apr-Jun 10
Comment Card 1 3 8 5 0
Complaints Form 2 1 2 4 2
Email 12 12 19 9 14
Fax 0 0 0 2 0
In Person 3 12 5 2 12
Letter 24 16 21 20 25
Telephone 7 8 7 5 27
Total 49 52 62 47 80

Response Time

During this quarter 98% (78) of complaints were answered within the 15 working day turnaround with 2 complaints falling outside the timescale.

Communications Group
September 2010