Complaints

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is committed to providing a high standard of service at all times. Your comments are important as the information you provide helps us to put things right if they have gone wrong and to improve the overall standard of our service over time. If you are unhappy with our service, please let us know why you are unhappy as soon as possible.

A ‘complaint’ is defined as:   “Any communication which expresses dissatisfaction with, or criticism of, the service provided to the community by the PPS.”  

Such complaints may relate to:  

  • The effectiveness and efficiency of the work of the prosecution service; for example, the time taken to process a prosecution case or the promptness of payment of witness expenses 
  • The manner in which a person was treated by a member of staff of the PPS or by someone acting on behalf of the PPS (for example, a barrister instructed by the PPS)
  • Any failure to adhere to the PPS Code for Prosecutors or Code of Ethics, that is, which does not relate to a prosecutorial decision. The PPS Code for Prosecutors, which includes the Code of Ethics, is available by clicking the link

It should be noted that the PPS complaints procedure is not the appropriate mechanism for defendants to seek to have the cases against them withdrawn or to overturn their convictions.

If you are a defendant in this situation your complaint will not be considered as part of our complaints procedure. You should instead seek independent legal advice. 

Where a complaint relates to ongoing criminal cases, we may only be able to provide limited information. We reserve the right not to deal with a complaint in relation to an ongoing case if it might prejudice the proceedings. 

How to make a complaint 

Our complaints procedure is easy to use and you can make a complaint if you are unhappy with our quality of service.

You can express your dissatisfaction in the following ways:

  • By letter:

    Information Management Team
    Public Prosecution Service
    Belfast Chambers
    93 Chichester Street
    Belfast BT1 3JR
  • by e-mail - complaints@ppsni.gov.uk
  • online  - PPS complaint form
  • by telephone to our Victim and Witness Care Unit (VWCU), which is located in our Belfast and Foyle offices.

    Belfast (028) 90544797 -  for complaints concerning Belfast & Eastern Region or any of the PPS Headquarters functions. 

    Foyle (028) 71340632 - for complaints concerning Western and Southern Region.

    VWCU staff will normally be available for telephone calls during office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). There will be an answering machine in operation outside of these hours.
  • for people who are deaf or hard of hearing an SMS service is available on 077 9567 5528
 

We will seek to make a full response within 20 working days. If it is not possible to make a full response within 20 days, we will inform you of the reasons and give you a new target date for a full response.

Read further information on how we deal with complaints

Independent Assessor of Complaints

The Independent Assessor of Complaints (IAC) can review a complaint where the complainant is not satisfied with the way in which the PPS has decided to deal with the matter.  The Independent Assessor operates with full independence from the PPS.

Read more about the Independent Assessor of Complaints.

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 (equivalent to Senior Assistant Director in the PPS). Please note this does not include the Director or Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, neither of whom are NICS Civil Servants.

The Department of Finance website provides further information on how to make a complaint about top management.

Complaints about partner organisations

We work in partnership with many organisations to provide a range of services, for example to victims and witnesses.

Complaints about the delivery of services by partner organisations should be directed in the first instance to these bodies.