March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Update (25 March)

Information for members of the public:

Our office is closed to walk-in visitors and our staff are working from home. We are still responding to emails and phone enquiries but our response times will be affected. Our ability to respond by phone in particular may be impacted significantly as we adjust to these new arrangements. We would encourage you to contact us by email (nipso@nipso.org.uk) or through our online complaints form.

We will do our best to respond to your enquiries as soon as we can and we appreciate your patience and understanding. Please be aware, however, that we may need not be able to provide the full range of services through this period and that our handling of your complaint may be affected.

Very importantly, given the extraordinary pressures facing our public services at this time we would ask those who are considering making a new complaint to reflect carefully on whether it is necessary to do so. This applies to both complaints to NIPSO and complaints to public bodies.

Information for organisations:

We recognise that the focus at present is on preparing for the escalation of the situation, minimising the health risks posed by the virus and on providing essential public services. We send our support to public bodies and their staff during this very difficult period.

We are looking at how best to prioritise our existing case work and how we deal with newly received complaints about public bodies. We will respond flexibly should responses to our enquiries create difficulties or unreasonable pressures on public bodies. Our complaints teams are available to discuss any issues on a case by case basis.

We will be reviewing our position regularly as this situation develops.