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Complaints Procedure

If you are unhappy with the service you receive from the Department for Social Development you have the right to complain. You will find details on how to complaint below.

Complaints Policy

The Department for Social Development’s Complaints Policy is designed to deal with complaints in relation to the Department’s core functions.  Complaints in respect of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Child Maintenance Service and the Social Security Agency should be addressed to these organisations as they have their own individual complaints policies.
If you would like some further information on their complaints policies and procedure:
The aim of the Department for Social Development is to provide a high quality service to all of our customers all of the time. However at some time you may feel that the service delivered by our staff could be of a better standard and you wish to address an issue by way of a formal complaint.
The Department for Social Development aims to treat all of its customer's fairly and any complaints from customers will not affect the services provided to them.

Complaints Procedure

The Department’s complaints procedure is dealt with in a two stage process and is outlined below.

Stage One

Your complaint is received by the Department and passed to the relevant senior manager.  The business area will acknowledge the complaint within two working days of receipt and your complaint should be answered within ten working days of receipt. If there is a legitimate reason that your complaint cannot be answered within ten working days, the senior manager will write to you to outline the reason for the delay and the expected date of reply.

Stage Two

In the event that you are not satisfied with the response at stage one, you may contact the Department again and ask for your complaint to be re-examined. You will need to outline why you are dissatisfied with the initial response. The business area will acknowledge the complaint within two working days of receipt and your complaint will be addressed by the relevant Divisional Assistant Director. The Assistant director will answer your complaint within ten working days of receipt of the complaint, however if for any reason there is a problem with collating the response , the Assistant Director will inform you of the reason for a delayed response and will inform you of the expected date of reply.
Our Department will carry out a thorough investigation and will at the very least apologise if we have made a mistake or delivered a service that is below our expected standard.
However, if you are still not satisfied with the responses at stage one and stage two you may with the support of a Member of the NI Assembly (MLA) contact the Ombudsman, you may do this in the following ways:
By writing to:
The Ombudsman
Freepost BEL 1478
By telephone: 0800 343424 or 02890 233821
By fax: 02890 234912

Making a Complaint

To make a complaint you may telephone, fax,email or write to The Corporate Services Unit. Alternatively you may contact the business area that has necessitated your complaint.