DfI complaints procedure

Our commitment to you

We place high importance on the provision of quality services, and we are committed to meeting the needs of all our customers.  When you contact us, you will be treated with courtesy and respect at all times. Officials will give their names in person, over the telephone and in correspondence.

Areas of responsibility

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is one of nine Northern Ireland Departments.  The main responsibilities of the Department are:

  • Regional strategic planning, planning policy and legislation;
  • Transport strategy and sustainable transport policy;
  • Public transport policy and performance;
  • Management of public roads;
  • Road safety, vehicle and driver testing, driver licensing and enforcement;
  • Watercourse and coastal flooding;
  • Policy on water, sewerage services and drainage.

Complaints

If things go well, please let us know.  If things go wrong, you can make a formal complaint by writing to us.

We will look at your complaint in a positive way and deal with it as quickly as possible.  In responding to and resolving complaints we aim to:

  • Be fair, open, clear, and give accurate information in all explanations;
  • Take appropriate responsibility and apologise when things go wrong, and;
  • Seek appropriate remedies to fix things and prevent reoccurrence.

Please note this complaints procedure does not include appeals about Departmental decisions nor does it include matters of policy or legislation which are the direct responsibility of the Minister.

Difference between Complaints and Enquiries

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about a service we provide.  An enquiry is a customer question, request for service or suggestion that does not satisfy the definition of a complaint. This includes such things as reporting a fault on the roads (eg. a pothole, defective street light), or a query about a proposed scheme or policy issue. It should also be noted that separate procedures are in place around the processing of roads related public liability claims and the challenging of Penalty Charge Notices.

How to make a complaint

You can make a complaint in person, by letter, e-mail or by telephone.  It is important when contacting us that you provide as much information as possible.  This will assist us in investigating your complaint quickly and efficiently.

The steps below outline the process involved when you make a complaint to the Department. To make a complaint you need to contact the business area which has provided the service about which you wish to complain. A full list of the Department’s business areas is provided in the Contacts section below.

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) operate their own separate complaints process. To make a complaint regarding DVA, please click here https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/publications/dva-customer-complaints-leaflet

Equality or Freedom of Information complaints, or complaints about senior management, operate slightly differently, and you can get more information on these by clicking on the relevant links below.

Complaints Process

Step 1 – Initial complaint

The first thing you should do is contact the officer you have been dealing with, or a local manager, and provide them with details of your complaint.  They are best placed to deal with your complaint quickly.

You may be asked to put your complaint in writing.  Your complaint will be acknowledged, you will be given a timescale in which to expect a full response, and you will be kept informed in the most appropriate way.

We aim to:

  • Respond to all verbal complaints by the end of the next working day;
  • Acknowledge all written complaints within three working days;
  • Issue substantive replies to 95% of written complaints within fifteen working days.

If it is not possible for us to meet these timescales, you will be informed and advised of an estimated response date.

Step 2 – Your initial complaint has been reviewed but you are still not satisfied

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your complaint, you have the right to escalate the issue to a member of the Senior Civil Service who will oversee an investigation of your complaint within six months of the date of our response to your complaint, or we will consider the matter closed. The reply you receive at Step 1 will tell you who to contact.

The Department’s timescale for issuing Step 2 responses is also 15 working days.

What to do if you are still not satisfied

If you remain dissatisfied with the response from the senior manager, you have the right to complain to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman.  You have six months from the date that the Department’s internal complaints procedure was exhausted (date of letter from senior manager) to refer your complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman.

Further details can be found on:

You can also contact the Ombudsman by:

Freephone: 0800 34 34 24

Freepost:
NIPSO
Progressive House
33 Wellington Place
Belfast
BT1 6HN

How to contact the Department

For a full list of Departmental contacts please go to: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/contact

If you are unsure who to contact in relation to your complaint the Department’s Coordination Unit will be able to help you reach the right person. 

Equality and Freedom of Information complaints

To make a complaint on the grounds of Equality or Freedom of Information, please select the relevant link below:

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: https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/making-complaint-about-top-management-northern-ireland-civil-service-nics

 

 

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