The following questions are answered on this page, you can quickly access them by pressing the appropriate question:
Our service is funded via the Department for Work and Pensions. We receive no direct funding from any of the Agencies or Businesses about which we accept complaints. Joanna Wallace, the Independent Case Examiner is not a civil servant and is employed under contract to provide an independent view on complaints of maladministration.
In keeping with every other Government department, the Independent Case Examiner's office recruits its staff from its own department (the Department for Work and Pensions), other Government departments and externally.
We provide a free, impartial complaint review service, to customers of:
Usually the quickest way to settle (resolve) a complaint is for an agreement to be reached with the Agency. Initially we will try and assist in this process. If we are able to resolve a complaint , we aim to do so with an average of 15 weeks from the date we accept them. If we are unable to assist in resolving your complaint, and need to undertake an investigation the process will almost certainly take longer. We aim to to respond to complaints about the businesses we investigate within an average of 40 weeks from the date we accept them.
We aim to ensure that complainants are kept updated of our action either by telephone or in writing. Details of our current performance against these targets can be viewed under "Our Service Standards".
Each of the Agencies/Businesses is committed to implementing the Independent Case Examiner's recommendations unless there are legislative or policy barriers. If the Independent Case Examiner's recommendations cannot be implemented, an explanation will be provided by the relevant Agency/Business.
The only people allowed access to details of complaint reviews are the complainant, any authorised representative, the Independent Case Examiner's Case Officers, and the relevant Agency/Business. The relevant Agency/Business has access to information to enable it to answer any allegations made and to use Independent Case Examiner's findings to improve its service to other customers.
In accordance with principles 3, 4 and 5 of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Independent Case Examiner will only retain information that is:
In the case of clerical data, we will securely destroy all paperwork relating to a complainant's complaint 14 months after our last action. This includes all correspondence sent out to, or received from, complainants, representatives, MP's, etc, that has been generated during the examination of a complaint. We will retain an electronic record of the case history for 3 years after the case is closed.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the examination you can, in the first instance ask the Independent Case Examiner to re-consider your complaint. If you still remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you can ask a Member of Parliament or a Member of the Legislative Assembly to refer your complaint to the relevant Ombudsman.
If you are unhappy with our service, you should ring or write to this office and we will respond to your complaint promptly and fairly. We aim to acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days of receiving it and to send you a full response within 4 weeks. If the reply is going to take longer we will let you know. You also have the right to ask your Member of Parliament or a Member of the Legislative Assembly to refer your complaint to the relevant Ombudsman.