492. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the customer complaints received by his Department in each of the years since 2016; if the complaints are grouped into categories; the nature of the complaints; the resolution of these; and the number progressed to the relevant ombudsman in each of the years since 2016. [1876/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Department of Justice and Equality is committed to delivering high quality customer service. My Department aims to provide its customers with a complaints procedure that is accessible, efficient, effective, standardised and fair. The Customer Service Charter and our Customer Service Action Plan 2016 – 2018 set out the commitments and standards of service that customers can expect in their dealing with the Department. A new Customer Service Charter and Customer Service Action Plan for 2019 – 2021 is currently being finalised.
The Department defines a customer service complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction concerning the provision of a service or services. This does not cover requests for reviews or appeals against decisions taken in the operation of a scheme or service.
If a customer is not happy with the standard of service received, they are advised to contact the Division of the Department that they were dealing with to have the matter resolved in the first instance. If this does not resolve the issue customers may contact the Department’s Customer Service Officer directly who will investigate the complaint. If the complaint is concerning the standard of service provided by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), customers are advised to contact the Quality Customer Service Officer for that area.
In the event that a customer is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, he/she has the right to pursue the matter further with the Office of the Ombudsman. In some circumstances people contact the Ombudsman directly with their complaint, who if deemed appropriate may then refer the matter back to my Department. It should be noted that in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of the Ombudsman Act, 1980 the remit of the Ombudsman’s Office does not extend to naturalisation or immigration matters. However, INIS do engage with the Ombudsman’s’ Office on matters raised with that Office.
Figures shown in the table below reflect the number of complaints received by the Customer Service Officer since 2016. This does not include any complaints that have been resolved by a Division directly . The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) have provided figures in relation to complaints received by email to the INIS customer service mailbox.
This Department does not categorise complaints or record the other information sought by the Deputy, but this matter will be reviewed in the context of the forthcoming Customer Service Action Plan. Once the Customer Service Officer has investigated a complaint and the customer has been advised of the outcome the matter is recorded as closed.

Complaints received by the Customer Service Officer 2016 2017 2018
1 4 2
Complaints received by email to INIS Customer Services 2016 2017 2018
29 170 298