Quarterly Complaints Bulletin April – June 2013

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 to June 2013. 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; these tribunals have been identified with an asterisk in Table 1. This report includes complaints for those tribunals, whereas reports prior to April 2010 did not. In May 2012 administrative and governance responsibility for the Parole Commissioners Secretariat also transferred to the NI Courts and Tribunals Service.

Summary

A total of 32 complaints were recorded, however 4 related to judicial decisions [the Courts and Tribunals Service cannot deal with complaints against judicial decisions and 1 related to another organisation which falls outside the scope of this report.

The graph below illustrates that 27 complaints were received during this quarter. The number of complaints received shows a decrease of 23% when compared with the quarter ending March 2013 [35] and an increase of 8% when compared with the same quarter last year [25].

Following investigation 16 complaints (59%) were upheld.

Total Complaints Received

Graph showing complaint received

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 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13
Antrim 0 0 0 0 0
Armagh 0 0 0 0 0
Ballymena 0 1 0 0 0
Bangor 0 0 0 0 0
Care Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Central Complaints 1 0 1 1 0
Civil Processing Centre 1 0 1 1 0
Coleraine 0 0 0 0 0
Communications Group 0 0 0 1 0
Coroners Service 1 0 1 2 1
Court Funds Office 1 0 0 0 0
Craigavon 1 1 1 1 0
CICAP* 1 0 0 1 0
Customer Services Centre 0 0 0 0 0
Downpatrick 0 4 4 5 2
Dungannon 0 0 0 0 0
Enforcement of Judgments Office 5 3 8 10 6
Enniskillen 0 0 0 1 0
Human Resource Unit 0 0 0 0 0
Laganside Courts 8 3 14 7 6
Lands Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Larne 0 0 0 0 0
Limavady 0 0 0 0 0
Lisburn 0 0 0 0 0
Londonderry 1 0 1 0 1
Magherafelt 0 0 0 0 0
Mental Health Review Tribunal* 0 0 0 0 0
Newry 0 0 0 0 2
Newtownards 0 1 2 0 5
Northern Ireland Traffic Penalty Tribunal* 0 1 0 0 0
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal* 1 0 0 0 0
OSSC* 0 0 0 0 0
Omagh 0 2 1 0 0
Parole Commissioners Secretariat 0 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Commissioners* 0 0 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Tribunals* 1 0 0 0 1
Royal Courts of Justice 3 6 2 5 3
SENDIST* 0 0 0 0 0
Strabane 0 0 0 0 0
Total number of complaints 25 22 36 35 27

* denotes a NI departmental tribunal for which NICTS has assumed administrative responsibility.

Complaints received centrally, where possible, have been 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 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13
Accommodation 2 6 3 4 4
Administration Error 6 3 4 6 6
Catering 0 0 13 2 1
NICTS Staff 2 2 2 2 3
Delays 3 2 3 7 4
Driving Licence 0 0 0 0 1
Fees 2 1 0 0 1
ICOS 0 0 0 0 0
Information Available 0 1 2 0 0
Jury Expenses 0 0 0 0 0
Jury Service 6 0 2 4 1
Juryline 0 0 1 0 0
Online Services 0 0 0 0 0
Post Mortem 0 0 0 0 0
Resource Staff 2 1 0 1 1
Summons Servers 0 0 0 0 0
Telephone Manner 0 0 0 0 0
TV Licensing 0 0 0 1 0
Website 0 0 0 1 0
Other 2 6 6 7 5
Total 25 22 36 35 27

The following 3 categories account for the majority [70%] of complaints recorded.

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

Table 3: Breakdown of main categories of complaints received

Category of Complaint
Business Area Administration Error Other Delay Accommodation
Coroners 1 0 0 0
Downpatrick 0 0 1 1
Enforcement of Judgments Office 3 1 1 0
Laganside 0 2 0 2
Newtownards 1 1 0 1
Newry 1 0 0 0
Pensions Appeal Tribunal 0 0 1 0
Royal Courts of Justice 0 1 1 0
Total 6 5 4 4

The nature of the complaints included in the ‘Other’ category are as follows:

Complaints Upheld

Of the 27 complaints received a total of 16 (59%) were upheld. The NICTS were not found to be at fault for the remaining 11 complaints.

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

At the end of each quarter, 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 the quarter January - March 2013, 6 follow up questionnaires were returned. Questionnaires for the period April – June 2013 issued in July 2013 and will be reported on in the next bulletin.

How Complaints are Received

During this quarter registering a complaint by email (33%) was the most popular method used by customers, followed by letter (30%).

Table 4: Breakdown of how complaints were received

Apr-Jun 12 Jul-Sep 12 Oct-Dec 12 Jan-Mar 13 Apr-Jun 13
Comment Card 2 5 3 7 1
Complaints Form 5 1 13 0 2
Email 4 4 8 9 9
Fax 0 0 0 0 2
In Person 2 0 3 0 3
Letter 9 12 8 15 8
Telephone 3 0 1 4 2
Total 25 22 36 35 27

Response Time

During this quarter 22 (81%) complaints were answered within the 15 working day turnaround.

Communications Group
August 2013

Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
Laganside House
23-27 Oxford Street
Belfast
BT1 3LA
www.courtsni.gov.uk