Complaints procedure

Part of: About the Executive Office

If you are unhappy with the quality of service you receive from staff in the department, we will endeavour to set things right.

Making a Complaint

The Executive Office Complaints Procedure is designed to address any specific concerns our customers have that relate to the quality of customer service provided by Executive Office staff.  For example this might include:

  • Maladministration
  • 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
  • Attitude and conduct of Executive Office staff

Step One

You may raise your complaint with Machinery of Government Branch, who will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days and assign your case to the appropriate business area. Business areas will provide a full response within 15 working days. If this deadline cannot be met, you will receive an explanation that will inform you when you can expect a full response.

Please provide as much information as possible along with contact details, such as your name, telephone number and postal address. (Under the Data Protection Act (DPA), we have a legal duty to protect any information you provide to us.  We will handle appropriately any personal data you provide in accordance with the DPA.)

You can express your dissatisfaction in the following ways;

In writing to:

Machinery of Government
Room BD20
Stormont Castle
Belfast
BT4 3TT

Email: info@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk
Telephone: 028 9037 8055

Note: If you choose to send your complaint in writing, you should clearly state the reason for your complaint in the ‘Subject’ bar of your email, or at the top of your letter.

Step Two

If you are not satisfied with the response you have received, you can refer your complaint to a Line Manager in the relevant Branch who has not been involved in the previous investigation. Contact details for the relevant official will be provided along with the response you received from Step One. The manager will aim to reply within 15 working days.  If this deadline cannot be met, you will receive an explanation that will inform you when you can expect a full response.

Step Three

If you are still not satisfied with our response, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed by the Head of the Division concerned with your complaint. If the Head of Division had been involved with the handling of your complaint at Step Two, the appropriate Director will review the complaint. Contact details for the relevant official will be provided along with the response you received from Step Two. The official will aim to reply within 15 working days. If this deadline cannot be met, you will receive an explanation that will inform you when you can expect a full response.

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsmen

If you remain dissatisfied with the Department’s handling of your complaint, you can ask the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman to investigate your complaint. Previously a complainant would have required an MLA to take their complaint forward but this was amended by the recent Public Services Ombudsman Act (Northern Ireland) 2016. The Ombudsman provides a free and independent service, though customers will usually be expected to have exhausted the full extent of the Department’s Complaints Procedure before their case will be considered.

If you wish to contact the Ombudsman, you can do so in a number of ways:

Telephone: 028 9023 3821
Text phone: 028 9089 7789
Email: nipso@nipso.org.uk

Via post:

The Ombudsman
Freepost RTKS-BAJU-ALEZ
Belfast BT1 6BR.

In Person, by calling between the hours 9.30am - 4.00pm at the address below:

The Ombudsman
33 Wellington Place
Belfast
BT1 6HN

Freephone: 0800 34 24 24.

You can also visit the Ombudsman’s Office website.

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