Making a complaint to the Education Authority
There are a number of ways you can make a comment or complaint to the Education Authority (EA)
- in person
- by telephone
- by letter or by email
- or online
It is recommended that you read the EA’s complaint leaflet before you contact them.
A complaint can be made to the EA about
- failure to provide a service;
- inadequate standard of service;
- treatment by or attitude of a member of staff;
- disagreement with a decision where no other remedial procedure exists (for example, a right to appeal)
- and/or EA’s failure to follow the appropriate administrative process or policy.
This list is not exhaustive
The EA’s complaints procedure will not be applied:
- if your issue is currently in court or has already been heard by a court or a statutory tribunal;
- to disputes with schools which fall under an individual school’s complaints procedures.
- if the issue can be dealt with by an independent tribunal for example, in relation to:
- school admissions – refer to School Admissions Appeal Tribunal
- expulsions – refer to Expulsion Appeal Tribunal or
- delivery of the curriculum – refer to Complaints Tribunal
- or certain decisions in relation to special educational needs – refer to SENDIST
How to make a complaint
When making a complaint you should provide as much information as possible and include the following:
- your name and contact details;
- what your complaint is about;
- what you have already done to try to resolve it;
- which EA services you have contacted;
- what you would like EA to do.
There are three levels in the EA Complaints Handling Procedure.
Level 1- Stage 1a
Contact your Local EA office for advice on who to contact on the team from the relevant service. A team member should get back to you within 5 days
Level 2 – Stage 1b
If your issue is unresolved at 1a contact the Complaints Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 028 8241 1553.
Your complaint will go the relevant Head of Service (you should receive acknowledgement within 5 working days). A response will be provided within 20 working days from when Stage 1b was started.
Level 3 – Stage 2
If your issue is unresolved at 1b contact the Complaints Office at email@example.com or on 028 8241 1553.
Your complaint will go to the Senior Management Team (you should receive an acknowledgement within five working days). A response will be provided no later than 25 working days from start of stage 2.
NOTE: Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the EA will only consider a complaint within six months of you becoming aware of the issue
Taking your complaint further
If you are not happy with the final response after Stage 2, you can contact the Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman.
In most instances, the Ombudsman will only investigate a complaint after all the organisation’s internal processes have been exhausted.
NOTE: The Ombudsman’s time limit for review of complaints is six months from the date of EA’s final response.