Complaining about States departments
The States of Jersey Complaints Panel deals with any complaint about a decision or administration process by any minister or department of the States.
This might include:
a decision by the Planning Department about a change you have wanted to make to your property
a decision by the Education Department regarding your child's school placement
Before you submit a complaint, you should always try to sort out the problem with the department concerned first.
You should only use the Complaints Board when you feel you have exhausted the complaints procedures available within the department concerned to sort out the problem.
The Complaints Panel
Your complaint will be listened to by people who are completely unbiased and impartial.
The people who sit on the Complaints Panel are all completely independent and give their services on a voluntary basis. They are not States employees or States Members.
If any member of the panel finds that they have a conflict of interest with a particular complaint, they will not participate in the hearing.
Submitting a complaint
You’ll need to send a letter explaining your complaint to the Deputy Greffier of the States, Lisa Hart.
You need to send the letter within 12 months of the incident and you should include any useful papers and all the evidence you think is important.
We will then ask the minister or department concerned to provide us with a response to the complaint within two weeks.
Once we receive the response, the Chairman of the Panel will review all of the paperwork from both sides and decide whether a public hearing should be arranged to investigate the matter further.
Sometimes the chairman will try and sort out the complaint informally.
However, if there is to be a hearing, we will ask the minister or department to provide a full report in response to the complaint. We may also ask you to provide extra papers.
If your application for a hearing is refused by the chairman, you can appeal this decision. You will need to do this within one month. Both of the Deputy Chairmen will then consider your case.
How a hearing works
If there needs to be a hearing, a board is chosen from the members of the panel. None of the board members will have any conflict of interest in the matter to make sure it’s fair.
You will need to tell us in advance who will be attending and speaking at the hearing on your behalf, as the only people allowed to speak at the hearing are those that you or the minister and department have already told us will attend.
All documents about the complaint are sent out to you, the minister, and department officers 10 days before the hearing.
What happens at a hearing
At the hearing, you or your representatives will explain to the board the most important points of your complaint.
The minister or officer of the department will then explain the most important points of their position, and they may also refer to documents that have already been circulated.
No new documents may be introduced at the hearing.
Members of the board will then ask any questions they may have.
You may also ask any questions to the minister / officer concerned and vice versa.
The hearing will then close and the board will consider its findings in private.
After the hearing
The Complaints Board will consider what they have heard, make their decision and publish their findings in a signed report.
This report will be sent to you, the minister / department involved in the complaint, the Privileges and Procedures Committee and the media (who may publish extracts).
If the board finds in your favour, they will ask the minister / department to reconsider their original decision.
They will also ask the minister / department to let the board know within a set time what action they have taken as a result.
If the board is not satisfied that the minister / department has properly considered or implemented the board's findings, they may publish a further report which will be presented to the States Assembly by the Privileges and Procedures Committee and be on public record.
If you are not happy with the outcome, you can ask the board to consider sitting again. If the board decides this is justified, they may ask you to provide further documents.
If you are still not satisfied, you may approach a States member or a legal representative to help you find another way of taking your complaint forward.
States Assembly website
States of Jersey Complaints Board information booklet
Administrative Decisions (Review) (Jersey) Law 1982
The hearings are normally open to the public, and are often held at a parish hall or in the States building.
The report of any hearing held in public may contain names and other information you may have supplied to us.
The media might be asked not to mention names or identifying material in their reports.
Some hearings can be held in private.
The report of any hearing held in private will have any names deleted.
If you have any concerns over whether a hearing should be held in private, you should raise this when you submit your complaint.
Complaints relating to property
For complaints relating to property, a site visit will usually be arranged at the start of the hearing. You, the board members, and minister will visit the property involved and you will be able to explain the problem you have.
The minister / department will also be given time to explain their position. Everyone will then return to the hearing and it will continue.