What is The Independent Examiner of Complaints Service?
In today’s blog, we will be outlining the procedures for filing a complaint with the IEC and the types of complaints the body can process.
But before that, let’s understand why IEC was formed.
Recently, the Home Office launched a new independent complaint investigation service for immigrants. The service named Independent Examiner of Complaints (IEC) will allow customers of immigration services an opportunity to have their case reviewed separately if they are not satisfied with the Home Office’s final response to a complaint.
IEC is the Home Office’s effort to fulfil one of the many recommendations of Wendy Williams’ Windrush Lessons Learned Review, published in March 2020. IEC also aligns the Home Office in line with a few other public service delivery departments like Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The IEC will not have any authority over immigration decisions, which will follow the existing appeal processes. Yet, it will apply more scrutiny and help in enhancing public confidence in the customer services delivered by the Home Office. Which ultimately will benefit to manage the departments’ reputational risk.
Now, back to the functions of the Independent Examiner of Complaints (IEC).
The IEC is neither a civil nor a Home Office employee. It is an independent job post, hired under a contract. This setting allows them to make independent decisions based on the merits of an individual complaint.
The Home Office announced recently that after a fair and open recruitment process, they have appointed Moi Ali as the new IEC. She will be supported by an Office for IEC in Stoke-on-Trent. Her role will be to understand the journey and perspective of the complainant and help the staff to deliver a complainant-centric service.
Ms Ali has extended her services as an independent complaints reviewer, in her current role as the Independent Assessor of Complaints for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). She will continue to work in this role for the CPS on a part-time basis.
The structure of the IEC complaint review system is as follows:
The IEC will handle complaints on behalf of the Home office for people unsatisfied with its services. The IEC will determine if the Home Office has worked according to its procedures and guidelines.
The IEC will be examining complaints regarding the following business areas:
- UK Visas and Immigration
- Immigration Enforcement
- Border Force
- HM Passport Office
- Detention and Escorting Service
The nature of the complaints may be about a delay, error, poor services, inadequate advice or information and a failure to follow the proper procedures.
The IEC, however, can only review complaints if:
- The complainant has received a final response stating to bring the complaint to the office in case the applicant is unhappy with the results
- The complainant contacts the department within the three-month window after receiving the final complaint response.
The IEC will not look at the following complaints:
- That is about the Home Office’s decision on the review or appeal rights
- That is about Home Office policy or legislation
- That is about the way the Home office has acted as an employer
- That are or have been examined by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
- That are or have been under judicial review or subjected to other court proceedings
- Which are at the remit of the Windrush Compensation Scheme
- About misconducts under review by the Professional Standards Unit
- About Home Office’s data protection regulations
You can submit a complaint to the IEC by filling out an online form or writing to the service or by phone using the contact details on the website linked in the description.
The IEC has a set process for handling every complaint they receive. The Business Support Team will register every complaint and decide if it can be reviewed. The complainant may be asked for more information and if the IEC cannot review the complaint, they will inform the applicant in 5 days.
The IEC may take the following actions once it decides to look into your complaint:
- Resolving the complaint by asking the business to take the right actions
- Settling the complaint which may result in the business giving you an apology or financial reimbursement
- Carrying an investigation report sent to the complainant with the details of the outcome.
This is the end of today’s blog update. We hope you found this blog useful. Please don’t forget to support us by subscribing to our newsletter and sharing this blog with your friends and family on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter.