The Department of Justice is committed to providing a high standard of service at all times. However, if you are not happy with the service you receive from staff in the Department of Justice, we will try to address your complaint in a professional and timely manner.
Making a complaint
The Department’s Complaints Procedure is designed to address any specific concerns you may have that relate to the quality of customer service provided by our staff. For example, these may include:
- Delays in receiving information/responses within accepted timeframes;
- Difficulty in contacting the correct office, branch or person;
- Incorrect information or guidance issued by the Department; or
- Attitude and conduct of staff.
The procedure set out below explains how you can make a formal complaint about the quality of our services. Some complaints can be resolved informally and you may wish to contact the relevant business area in the first instance to discuss your complaint.
Please note there are separate complaints procedures in place for Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service, Youth Justice Agency, Forensic Science NI, Access NI, Legal Profession and for Prisoners and Operational issues within the NI Prison Service. If you wish to contact any of them directly you can use the following links:
- Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service
- Youth Justice Agency
- Forensic Science
- Law Society Northern Ireland
- Legal Services Agency
In cases where a body related to the Department e.g. Agencies, Arms’ Length Bodies (ALB’s) and Non Departmental Public Bodies etc. determine that a complaint should not be handled by them, and where the Department concurs, then such complaints may be handled under the DOJ Complaints Policy and Procedures.
Making a complaint about top management in the department
If you are a member of the public or an external stakeholder and your complaint is about a staff member in top management of the department, there is a different procedure for making a complaint.
Top Management in the NI Civil Service and its agencies means the Head of the Civil Service, Permanent Secretaries and anyone in a Grade 3/Deputy Secretary position (or equivalent level).
Find out more about how to make a complaint about top management on the Department of Finance website at the link below.
- Making a complaint about top management in the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) – Department of Finance website
Formal procedure step 1
If you wish to make a formal complaint about the service provided by the Department of Justice, you should write to us giving full details of the complaint. We will arrange for your complaint to be investigated and provide you with a full written reply within 15 working days of receipt. If a full reply cannot be given within this timescale, you will be advised of progress and told when you can expect a full response.
When making a complaint please provide as much information as possible along with contact details, such as your name, telephone number, email address and / or postal address.
Writing to:Standards Unit
Information Services Division
Block 5, Knockview Buildings
Belfast BT4 3SL
Formal procedure step 2
If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you may contact the Department’s Complaints Officer and ask for your complaint to be escalated. The matter will be reviewed by a Line Manager of higher rank than the investigating officer, within the relevant business area who was not involved in the previous investigation. The line manager will investigate the complaint fully; taking note of any additional comments raised by the complainant, and will provide a full response within the timescales set out in Step 1.
Formal procedure step 3
If you are still dissatisfied with the response to your complaint, you can ask that your complaint be escalated to the final stage. At that point your complaint will be reviewed by a Line Manager of higher rank than the investigating officer at step 2 within the relevant business area who was not involved in the previous investigation. Once again a full response will be provided within the timescales set out in Steps 1 and 2.
Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO)
If you remain dissatisfied with the Department’s final response to your complaint, you can refer your case to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman, in any of the following ways;
Freepost BEL 1478
Belfast BT1 6BR
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
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.