Disability Act 2005

Complaints officers.

15

15.—(1) The Executive shall authorise such and so many employees of the Executive as it considers appropriate (referred to in this Part as “complaints officers”) to perform the functions conferred on complaints officers by this Part.

(2) A complaints officer shall be independent in the performance of his or her functions.

(3) Following the receipt by the Executive of a complaint under section 14 , he or she shall refer the matter to a complaints officer as soon as may be but not later than 10 working days after such receipt.

(4) Where a complaint has been referred to a complaints officer under subsection (3), he or she shall consider the complaint and, if he or she is of opinion that it is frivolous or vexatious, he or she shall not entertain the complaint and he or she—

( a) shall prepare a report in writing of the reasons for his or her opinion and furnish a copy of it to—

(i) the applicant concerned,

(ii) if appropriate, the assessment officer concerned and the liaison officer concerned, and

(iii) the Executive.

(5) ( a) Where a complaints officer is not of opinion that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, he or she shall, having made such inquiries (if any) as appear to him or her to be necessary, consider whether the complaint is suitable for informal resolution and, if it is, he or she shall undertake the resolution of the complaint.

( b) Where a complaint is resolved under this subsection, a record shall be kept of the resolution arrived at and of the manner of such resolution and a copy thereof shall be sent to the applicant, the Executive and, if appropriate, the assessment officer concerned, the liaison officer concerned and the head of the education service provider concerned.

( c) Where a complaint is not resolved under this subsection, the complaints officer shall keep a record of the matter and send a copy thereof to the Executive who shall refer the matter to another complaints officer for investigation.

(6) Where a complaints officer is of opinion that a complaint is not suitable for such resolution as aforesaid, he or she shall investigate the complaint and shall give the applicant concerned and, if appropriate, the assessment officer concerned, the liaison officer concerned, the education service provider concerned and any other person having an interest in the matter, an opportunity to be heard by him or her and to present to him or her any evidence relating to the complaint and shall prepare a report in writing in relation to it setting out his or her findings and recommendations and shall furnish a copy of the report to the applicant, the Executive and, if appropriate, the assessment officer concerned, the liaison officer concerned and the head of the education service provider concerned.

(7) In addition to any other matter to which a complaints officer may, as he or she considers appropriate, have regard to in the performance of his or her functions, he or she shall have regard to the matters referred to in section 11(7) .

(8) A report of a complaints officer may contain one or more of the following:

( a) a finding that the complaint was or, as the case may be, was not well founded whether in part or in whole;

( b) if the report contains a finding that the Executive failed to commence an assessment within the period specified in section 9(5) or to complete an assessment without undue delay, a recommendation that the assessment be provided and completed within the period specified in the recommendation;

( c) if the report contains a finding that the person may have a disability, a recommendation that the person be the subject of a further assessment under section 9 within the period specified in the recommendation;

( d) if the report contains a finding that the Executive failed to carry out an assessment under section 9 in conformity with the standards referred to in section 10 , a recommendation that the Executive cause the assessment or a specified part of it to be carried out in conformity with those standards within the period specified in the recommendation;

( e) if the report contains a finding that the contents of the service statement concerned are inaccurate or incorrect, a recommendation that the statement be amended, varied or added to by the liaison officer concerned within the period specified in the recommendation;

( f) if the report contains a finding that the Executive or an education service provider failed to provide or to fully provide a service specified in the service statement, a recommendation that the service be provided in full by the Executive or the education service provider or both as may be appropriate within the period specified in the recommendation.

(9) Proceedings under this section before a complaints officer shall be conducted otherwise than in public.

(10) By notice in writing to the parties, a complaints officer may correct any mistake (including an omission) of a verbal or formal nature in a recommendation under this section.