The procedure set out below explains how you can make a complaint about the quality of our services. Please note that there are separate complaints procedures in place for any dealings with health and social care organisations.
Details of these procedures can be found on the nidirect website.
If your complaint is about the NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) follow these procedures.
If your complaint is about Top Management, you should use the following procedures.
(Top Management is defined as the Head of the Civil Service, Permanent Secretary and Grade 3 or equivalent levels directly below Permanent Secretary level.)
Making a complaint
The Department of Health (DoH) Complaints Procedure is designed to address any specific concerns our customers have that relate to the quality of customer service provided by DoH staff.
For example this might include:
- delays in receiving information/responses within accepted timeframes (excluding Freedom of Information and Data Protection requests)
- difficulty in contacting the correct office, branch or person
- incorrect information or guidance issued by the Department
- attitude and conduct of DoH staff
Our aim is to resolve any complaint quickly and you are invited initially to bring any matter of concern to the attention of the Departmental official with whom you have been dealing. However, if you still feel dissatisfied after this approach, you may initiate a formal complaint in writing.
Formal Procedures – Step 1
All formal complaints should be in writing. Please provide as much information as possible along with contact details, such as your name, telephone number and postal address. We will handle any personal data you provide in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
You can write to us at the following address:
Corporate Management Directorate
Department of Health
Or email us at email@example.com
In all cases the Department will:
- acknowledge receipt of your complaint. We will normally issue a letter of acknowledgement within two working days of receiving your complaint
- treat your complaint in a confidential manner
- refer your complaint to the relevant Director
- carry out a thorough investigation
- aim to provide a written reply to your complaint with a full explanation of the outcome of our investigations within 20 working days and, where this is not possible, let you know when a reply can be expected
- apologise if we have made a mistake or if a problem has been caused by us
- let you know what we have done to put things right
Formal Procedures – Step 2
If you are still not satisfied with our response, you can write to the Complaints Officer giving your reasons. The Complaints Officer will ask another Senior Official to undertake a review. The official will aim to reply within 20 working days. If this deadline cannot be met, we will advise you when you can expect a full response. At this stage you will be advised that you have used all the steps in Department’s complaints procedures.
Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman
Our complaints procedure is not a substitute for your right to complain to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman's Office.
You should note, however, that the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman will generally expect you to have used all the steps of the Department’s internal Complaints Procedure before accepting your complaint.
Details of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman's procedures can be found on the NIPSO Website.