Our Policy on Complaints
The Department of Justice (DoJ) is committed to providing high quality services to service users. The DoJ and its staff will always seek to act according to the principles of fairness, honesty, integrity and respect. We welcome comments on the quality of the services we provide and suggestions on how we can improve our services. We expect that if you wish to make a complaint you will also uphold these principles and remain factual and respectful. The DoJ will not respond to complaints which are abusive in nature, unfounded allegations against staff or repeated requests that, whether intended or not, only serve to burden the Department.
We will respond to all complaints within the timescales detailed in the process below. Our response to your complaint will be provided in written format via email or post. If you require a response in an alternative format you can request this by contacting the department using the details above.
If you have a complaint about any of our services please contact the DoJ Complaints Officer by;in writing to:
Corporate Engagement & Communications Division
Department of Justice
Room B5.16, 5th Floor
Belfast BT4 3SG;
- by telephone: 028 90523731; or
- by e-mail: Governance.Unit@justice-ni.gov.uk
Scope of this policy
This policy applies to the DoJ and its agencies. It does not apply to the Police Service Northern Ireland, or prisoner complaints about the Northern Ireland Prison Service, which are handled by their relevant Ombudsman.
1. All complaints sent to the DoJ Complaints Officer, by email, telephone or in writing, will be acknowledged within 3 working days. The acknowledgement will inform you when you should expect to receive a response to your complaint.
2. If the complaint has been made verbally you may be asked to document the complaint in writing, or by email, to the contact details above.
3. The complaint will be passed to the relevant part of the DoJ who will review it and prepare a response.
4. The Department will aim to issue a response to your complaint within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint. For complaints that require detailed investigation it will not always be possible to provide a response within 15 working days. If that is the case we will let you know. This is known as Stage 1 of the complaints process.
5. At this stage, if you are unhappy with the response, you may ask for the complaint to be escalated for a further review that will be overseen by a member of the Senior Civil Service.
6. We will issue you with the outcome of this review within 15 working days of receipt of the escalation. As above, for complaints that require detailed investigation it will not always be possible to provide a response within 15 working days. If that is the case we will let you know. This is known as Stage 2 of the complaints process.
7. If you still remain unsatisfied with the response following this second stage then you should raise the complaint with the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO). You can refer your case to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman in the following ways:
To submit an online complaint form visit the NIPSO website/online complaints (external link opens in a new window / tab)
In writing to:NIPSO
Freepost BEL 1478
Belfast BT1 6BR
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By telephone: 028 9023 3821 (or Free phone 0800 343424)
Text Phone: 028 9089 7789
In person at:
Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman
33 Wellington Place
Belfast BT1 6HN
8. The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman provides a free and independent service. It is expected that you will have exhausted the full extent of the Department’s complaints procedure before your case would be considered.
How we will handle your information
We will only use the personal information you provide to administer your complaint and to provide the services you have requested from us. The information you provide will also help us improve the services we provide.
The types of data that we collect are only those details necessary for the investigation of your complaint.
For further details of the Department's Privacy Notice visit the Justice-NI/privacy notice