Upheld complaints (FOI)
Upheld complaints (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey on behalf of the States Greffe and published on 16 January 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
My question is in relation to the Complaints Board.
Can you please tell me how many cases have been upheld against the States of Jersey over the last 10 years?
Can you please itemise those cases individually with a full analysis of how much fighting these cases has cost the taxpayer? Please itemise legal costs, labour costs and any other elements of cost.
Can you please tell me how many of the people who have won their cases have actually been compensated? Please itemise this.
The States of Jersey Complaints Panel assesses complaints in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Decisions (Review) Jersey Law 1982. During any hearing, the Board must determine whether it is of opinion that the decision, act or omission which was the subject matter of the complaint –
(a) was contrary to law;
(b) was unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory, or was in accordance with a provision of any enactment or practice which is or might be unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory;
(c) was based wholly or partly on a mistake of law or fact;
(d) could not have been made by a reasonable body of persons after proper consideration of all the facts; or
(e) was contrary to the generally accepted principles of natural justice.
Not all complaints received result in a full hearing and the Panel will attempt to informally resolve cases as much as possible. 20 of the 33 cases which went to a full hearing in the last ten years were upheld by a States of Jersey Complaints Board. In the remaining cases, the Board made recommendations to the Departments concerned, in order to avoid a repetition of the circumstances which had led to the complaint.
It is impossible to estimate the costs to the taxpayer associated with reviewing these cases. The main ‘cost’ will be in officer time, not just that of the staff at the States Greffe, who support the Complaints Panel, but also the staff in each of the Departments about which a complaint is submitted. Officers are required to prepare a summary of the case from the Department’s perspective, which can be quite involved if the case has been ongoing for some months. If the case then goes to a hearing, additional paperwork may be required and officers will also have to attend that meeting. Following the publication of the findings there may be a further response by the Minister, which will usually be prepared by an officer. In some cases, support is given to a Minister by the Law Officers Department, who may attend the hearing or provide legal advice in advance to those officers due to attend the meeting.
The benefit to the tax payer of the Complaints Panel’s work is invaluable. Any complaint invariably leads to an improvement in processes and procedures and ultimately in public service provision.
A Complaints Board does not have any powers to award compensation, but it can request that a Minister review a decision and this could result in some complainants being entitled to a benefit or sum which previously was not available to them. In some recent cases the complainants have gone on to seek compensation through the Courts after their complaints were upheld by a Complaints Board. Compensation rarely is the main focus for a complainant.
In the majority of cases complainants are seeking recognition and acceptance that their particular situation was not handled correctly and are ultimately seeking a genuine and heartfelt apology rather than any financial recompense.
This response has been issued on behalf of the States Greffe. The States Greffe is responsible for the information held by (and on behalf of) both itself and the States Assembly. Neither the States Assembly nor the States Greffe form part of the Government of Jersey and the Government was not involved either in the examination and retrieval of any information required for this response, nor in the drafting of the response itself