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COPFS

Responses we have made to FOI requests

Domestic Abuse cases (R012172)

Domestic Abuse cases (R012172)

Thank you for your e-mail of 22 January 2016 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

Data Protection Act 1998 (R012097)

Data Protection Act 1998 (R012097)

Thank you for your e-mail of 12 January 2016 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

Extradition (R012173)

Extradition (R012173)

Thank you for your request dated 22 January 2016 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:

Cost of telephone calls (R012044)

Cost of telephone calls (R012044)

Thank you for your e-mail dated 22 December 2015 for the undernoted information. This request is being considered under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

Witness tampering or intimidation (R012205)

Witness tampering or intimidation (R012205)

Thank you for your e-mail of 26 January 2016 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

Human Trafficking (R012092)

Human Trafficking (R012092)

Thank you for your e-mail of 11 January 2016 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):  

Cases notified to COPFS by SEPA (R011095)

Cases notified to COPFS by SEPA (R011095)

Thank you for your request dated 4 December 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information: 

 

Complaints to COPFS (R011909)

Complaints to COPFS (R011909)

Thank you for your e-mail of 7 December 2015 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA): 

1. The number of complaints received by COPFS from victims and witnesses between 7 December 2014 and 7 December 2015. Please break these down by date (or month), witness or victim, type of complaint, nature of complaint and resolution reached.

2. The same information for the dates between 7 December 2013 and 7  December 2014.

3. The number of complaints made under the Civil Service Code in the last three years.

4. Please break (3) down by type of complaint, nature of complaint and what resolution was reached.

5. Please provide COPFS internal guidance for dealing with complaints from the public, and from staff.”


Thank you also for your request dated 13 January 2016 for a review of our failure to respond to your request under FOISA for the above information. I am sorry that we were unable to provide you with a full response within the statutory time period on this occasion.  The delay was as a result of the extensive time spent initially interrogating our electronic system in an attempt to provide you with the level of information in your request and additionally undertaking a full review of our internal guidance. 


In relation to your request at points 1 and 2, recorded data of this type is held by COPFS in relation to complaints we receive from members of the public. These complaints are recorded and administered by the Response and Information Unit (RIU) in Crown Office.   The Response and Information Unit (RIU) was set up in June 2013.  RIU is a centralised team, based in Crown Office which responds to complaints, freedom of information requests and subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998 addressed to COPFS.  

COPFS aims to give the opportunity to comment on the service by contacting us in the most convenient way; to listen and record feedback and to respond to compliments, comments or complaints in a timely and helpful way.  We aim to use feedback to inform changes and improvements so that we can deliver a better service where possible.

While we do prefer to provide information where we can, the level of detail of the information you have requested is not recorded within our database in a way which can be reliably electronically searched.  Under section 12 of FOISA, public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12. A manual check of all complaints recorded on our system from 7 December 2013 until 7 December 2015 would be required to provide you with the level of information you have requested.  Given that the number of complaints received since inception of the unit in June 2013 to March 2015 when our first annual report was published totals 1363, I hope you appreciate that this exercise would, in terms of staff time, exceed the upper cost limit referred to above and as a result we are unable to assist with your request in its current form. We may be able to provide you with statistics relating to individual aspects of your request if you wish to resubmit a less detailed request. You may be interested to refer to the Response and Information Unit Annual Report for 2014/15 which is accessible on our website at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/images/Documents/Customer_Care/Annual%20Report%202014-2015%20-%20Complaints%20and%20Feedback%20Policy.pdf

In relation to points 3 and 4 of your request, we have received one formal civil service code complaint in the last three years. The complaint was in relation to the handling of COPFS Schemes designed to support victims of crime and nearest relatives of deceased persons. It was investigated internally, and no breach was found.

In relation to point 5, I can confirm that COPFS has internal guidance for staff regarding customer feedback.  We also have Grievance procedures for our staff to follow in the event that they have a concern, problem or complaint that they wish to raise formally. I attach a copy of both as requested.

 

ANNEX B

Customer Care Unit

The Customer Care Unit (CCU) is part of our Policy Division (National Federation). The Enquiry Point, formerly of the West Federation is now part of the new unit.  Morag Brown and Veronica Coyne remain as the Managers of the Enquiry Point.

The CCU will cover a diverse range of Customer Care functions.  It will deal with formal complaints made by customers under our revised two stage Customer Feedback Policy. Local offices will continue to deal with Quick Resolution complaints, comments, compliments or suggestions.  

The CCU will also deal with requests for information under the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  

The Unit will provide regular reports for Management Board by analysing the data produced on Respond.  This will identify National and Federation trends and help us to develop best practice. 

Stages of Complaint Procedure 

Quick Resolution

The purpose of this stage is to attempt to resolve the customer’s issue(s) immediately, without having to go through the formal process.

Customers may contact you by e-mail, telephone or face to face and raise a complaint this way. It is also open to a customer to raise a Quick Resolution complaint in writing so if the matter is straightforward or the customer has mentioned Quick Resolution, it may be possible to resolve a written complaint by Quick Resolution. 

The Enquiry Point staff often field early stage queries and complaints.  If they find that they do not have sufficient information to answer the query, they will pass it to the appropriate office for assistance. Alternatively, the customer may attend at, or write directly to, the appropriate Procurator Fiscal’s Office. Most issues can be resolved straightaway and you should try to do so, wherever possible.  If you cannot deal with the matter personally, you should find out if there is someone else in your office who will be able to deal with it.

If the complaint is unclear, please do not hesitate to clarify matters with the customer.  It is essential we get this right at the outset.  In addition to this, you can summarise the key issues the customer has to ensure you have correctly understood their complaint.

We should try and resolve concerns immediately by Quick Resolution wherever possible. You should therefore only ask a customer who has telephoned or attended at the public counter to raise their concerns in writing if Quick Resolution has failed or if the matter is so complex that it cannot be resolved by Quick Resolution in person or over the telephone. If the customer is asked to write in having telephoned or attended in person, their complaint will ordinarily move to Stage one of the formal two-stage complaints policy.

If it is clear from your conversation that the complaint cannot be resolved immediately, you must advise the customer of our formal two-stage complaints policy.

Customers are encouraged to take action as soon as possible and within 6 months of the matter complained of.

Stage One

Complaints which have not been resolved through Quick Resolution should be directed to the Customer Care Unit at Crown Office. If you are dealing with a Quick Resolution and the customer wishes to move to a Stage One complaint, you should open a Respond record, provide the customer with their Respond reference and ask the customer to note this on their correspondence.

A checklist showing how to process complaints is attached at Annex A.

Stage Two

If a customer is dissatisfied with the response at Stage One and feels that their complaint remains unresolved, they can request that their complaint be reviewed at Stage Two. Customers are encouraged to note on their complaint that this is a Stage Two complaint and provide their Respond reference number. The customer needs to explain why they feel that their complaint needs to be reviewed and what issues they believe to be outstanding.   

Complaints at this stage are reviewed either by the Crown Agent or a senior manager nominated on their behalf.

Stage Two is the final part of the revised complaints process within COPFS. Any complaint received before 3 June 2013 will continue to be dealt with under the previous three stage Customer Feedback Policy. Where any such correspondence is received direct by the CCU, it will be logged on Respond and passed to the appropriate local office for action.  

Important:  Reference numbers are allocated to each complaint from the Respond Centerpoint system – this reference number is different from the case reference number.  The same reference number is used during the lifetime of a complaint – eg. at Quick Resolution, Stage 1, Stage 2 and, if applicable, Stage 3.


Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Customers who are dissatisfied with the way that we have handled their complaint are entitled to raise that with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).  This service is independent, free and confidential.  The SPSO will normally require a customer to have completed our internal complaints review process before they will consider it.

The SPSO has no power to investigate or overturn legal decisions made by COPFS.  It can, however, examine how we have handled a complaint. For example, whether we have followed our complaints procedure, whether we have responded within our published timescale etc. It is therefore very important that all complaints are properly considered in accordance with our published policy.

SPSO can be contacted by mail to:
Freepost SPSO 

This single-line address may look unusual, but this is all that should be printed on the envelope to ensure that it arrives safely with SPSO.

More information about the SPSO can be obtained from the Customer Care Unit page on the intranet or from the SPSO website: www.spso.org.uk.


Timescales

Ø    Acknowledge receipt of all complaints within 3 working days of receipt.

Ø    Respond to all complaints within 20 working days of receipt.

Ø    Where we are unable to provide a response within our timescales, keep customers informed of the progress within 20 working days and every 20 days thereafter until a final response issued.

Roles and responsibilities of staff

Ø    In accordance with our values, treat all customers with professionalism and respect;  

Ø    Actively listen to concerns raised about the level of service provided or their experience in dealing with us;

Ø    Attempt to resolve feedback via our Quick Resolution guide and ensure it is logged on Respond.  All staff can record basic details on Touchpoint Respond.  This can be found on PF Eye under – My Page – Touchpoint Respond;

Ø    Acknowledge receipt of compliments, suggestions and comments, but refer complaints to the Customer Care Unit; 

Ø    Advise your local Respond Co-ordinator of all compliments, suggestions and comments received;

Ø    Refer new Stage One and Two complaints and existing Stage Three complaints to the Customer Care Unit;

Ø    Where complaints are in the process of being dealt with by the Customer Care Unit, refer any new correspondence or information to the CCU;

Ø    Respond to requests for background information from the Customer Care Unit within the required deadline to assist in preparation of replies;

Ø    Complete the Customer Care e-learning package; and

Ø    If in any doubt or you have questions about Customer Care in general, get in contact with the Customer Care Team.


In relation to customer feedback, the Customer Care Unit will:-


Ø    Record all feedback received direct to the Unit on the Respond Centerpoint database;

Ø    Log and acknowledge receipt of all complaints and other customer feedback received in the Unit;

Ø    Investigate all complaints in accordance with our policy;

Ø    Respond to the customer within our agreed timescales; and

Ø    Analyse emerging trends and provide feedback to Senior Management.



Letters from MSPs and MPs


Letters from MSPs and MPs which are addressed to the Lord Advocate or Solicitor General are logged on Respond as Ministerial Correspondence and are answered in Crown Office.

Letters from MSPs and MPs which are addressed to Procurators Fiscal and their staff are not considered to be Ministerial Correspondence.  Such letters should be logged on Respond under the name of the MSP or MP, and where the correspondence is on behalf of a constituent, the constituent’s name should be added to the record.  This correspondence will, where appropriate, be treated as a complaint, general correspondence, FOI etc, depending on the nature of the request.  Complaints, Subject Access Requests and FOIs should be forwarded to the Customer Care Unit for attention.

You can e-mail our unit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are based at Crown Office,

25 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LA.  Legal Post is LP1 – Edinburgh 30.


The e-mail address and postal address can be given to members of the public. 

For telephone enquires, customers should continue to be directed to the Enquiry Point in the first instance (0844 561 3000). 

If in doubt, please contact a member of our team for assistance.

Annex A

Checklist for Staff - Action for dealing with Customer Feedback

Telephone Calls

Enquiry Point

Ø  Determine type of feedback;

Ø  If it is a compliment, acknowledge verbally then log on Touchpoint Respond and advise local Respond Co-ordinator so that they can action as appropriate before closing off the record;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion (relating to a matter other than customer care), acknowledge verbally then log it on Touchpoint Respond and pass to local Respond Co-ordinator to action as required within Federation;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion about customer care, acknowledge verbally then log on Touchpoint Respond and pass to the Customer Care Unit to action as appropriate;

Ø  If it is a complaint, try to deal with it as a Quick Resolution and log it on Touchpoint Respond;

Ø  If more information is required, pass it on to the local office to action as Quick Resolution if possible; 

Ø  If Quick Resolution unsuccessful, treat as a Stage One complaint

Ø  Advise the customer of the terms of our Customer Feedback Policy, which can be accessed via our public website. If caller wishes, a copy can be printed and sent to them;

Ø  Advise the customer that, if they wish, they can make their Stage One complaint direct to the CCU by email or in writing. If the customer wishes to make their complaint over the telephone, take details of the complaint, including a summary and the customer’s contact details and e-mail these immediately to the CCU mailbox;

Ø  If appropriate, forward the call to the CCU for attention;

Ø  A Stage One response will ask the customer to direct a request for a Stage Two review in writing to the CCU so you should not ordinarily receive calls regarding these. However, if the customer wishes to speak to someone within the CCU to log their Stage 2 complaint, please transfer the call to the CCU. 



Federation Office

Ø  Determine type of feedback;

Ø  If it is a compliment, acknowledge verbally then log on Touchpoint Respond and advise local Respond Co-ordinator so that they can action as appropriate before closing off the record;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion, (relating to a matter other than customer care), acknowledge verbally then log it on Touchpoint Respond and pass to local Respond Co-ordinator to action as required within Federation.;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion about customer care, acknowledge verbally then log on Touchpoint Respond and pass to the Customer Care Unit to action as appropriate;

Ø  If it is a complaint, try to deal with it as a Quick Resolution and log it on Touchpoint Respond.  Then advise your Respond Co-ordinator so that they can complete the record;

Ø  If Quick Resolution is unsuccessful, advise caller of the terms of our Customer Feedback Policy, which can be accessed via our public website. If caller wishes, a copy can be printed and sent to them;

Ø  Take responsibility for calls from the Enquiry Point. If the Enquiry Point has passed a call to a local office this is because it is hoped that the matter can be dealt with by Quick Resolution but further information is required from the office. If Quick Resolution is not possible, the matter will proceed to Stage One where further investigations and background reports will be required;

Ø  Advise the customer that, if they wish, they can make their Stage One complaint direct to the CCU by email or in writing. If the customer wishes to make their complaint over the telephone, take details of the complaint, including a summary and the customer’s contact details and e-mail these immediately to the CCU mailbox;

Ø  If appropriate, forward the call to the CCU for attention;

Ø  A Stage One response will ask the customer to direct a request for a Stage Two review in writing to the CCU so you should not ordinarily receive calls regarding these.  However, if the customer wishes to speak to someone within the CCU to log their Stage 2 complaint, please transfer the call to the CCU. 


At Reception Desk

Ø  Determine type of feedback;

Ø  If it is a compliment, acknowledge verbally then log on Touchpoint Respond and advise local Respond Co-ordinator so that they can add any paperwork and action as appropriate before closing off the record;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion, acknowledge verbally then log it on Touchpoint Respond and advise local Respond Co-ordinator so that they can action as required within Federation before closing off the record;

Ø  If it is a complaint, try to deal with it as a Quick Resolution and log it on Touchpoint Respond.  Then advise your Respond Co-ordinator of the record, forwarding any paperwork to be scanned into the record;

Ø  Where Quick Resolution fails, advise customer of the terms of our Customer Feedback Policy which can be accessed via our public website. Advise them that if the matter has not been resolved through Quick Resolution they can make a formal Stage One complaint which will be investigated and responded to by the Customer Care Unit;

Ø  Advise the customer that, if they wish, they can make their Stage One complaint direct to the CCU using our email address or website or by telephoning the Enquiry Point and asking to be transferred to the CCU;

Ø  If customer wishes their Stage One complaint to be made in person, agree terms of the complaint with customer before acknowledging receipt of complaint verbally, then taking particular care, prepare a summary and contact details for written communications – by letter or email – and forward it immediately to the CCU mailbox;

Ø  A Stage One response will ask the customer to direct a request for a Stage Two review to the CCU so you should not ordinarily receive counter queries regarding these.  However, if the customer wishes to speak to someone within the CCU regarding their Stage 2 complaint, please contact the CCU directly.



Correspondence Received By Letter or E-mail

Ø  Determine type of feedback;

Ø  If it is a compliment, log it on Touchpoint Respond and advise local Respond Co-ordinator so that they can acknowledge, add the correspondence, action as necessary and close off the record on Respond Centrepoint;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion, log it on Touchpoint Respond and pass to your local Respond Co-ordinator to add to Respond Centrepoint, send out an acknowledgement and action as required within Federation;

Ø  Consider whether the complaint is straightforward and can be dealt with immediately by Quick Resolution. Liaise with Customer Care Unit, if necessary. You should log the details on Touchpoint Respond and pass it to your Respond Co-ordinator to scan the correspondence into the record,

Ø  If the complaint cannot be resolved straightaway,forward it to the CCU mailbox for attention;

Ø  CCU will log and acknowledge receipt of the complaint and action as appropriate;

Ø  A Stage One response will ask the customer to direct a request for a Stage Two review to the CCU so you should not ordinarily receive these.  However, if you do, scan it and pass it immediately to the CCU mailbox;

Ø  Respond in good time to any requests you receive from the CCU for background information which will assist in preparation of timely replies.



Respond Co-ordinators

Ø  Determine type of feedback;

Ø  If it is a compliment, log it on Respond Centrepoint, adding a scan any correspondence. If not acknowledged verbally, write to customer acknowledging receipt. Action as necessary before closing off the record;

Ø  If it is a comment or suggestion, log it on Respond Centrepoint, scan any correspondence, send out an acknowledgement and action as required within Federation;

Ø  If it is a Quick Resolution complaint, ensure that all appropriate fields have been completed and close off the record;

Ø  Consider whether the complaint is straightforward and can be dealt with immediately by Quick Resolution. Liaise with Customer Care Unit, if necessary. If not, scan the correspondence into the record, and advise the CCU via the CCU mailbox;

Ø  CCU will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and action as appropriate;

Ø  If you receive any correspondence related to on-going or closed complaints, forward it immediately to the CCU mailbox;

Ø  A Stage One response will ask the customer to direct a request for a Stage Two review to the CCU so you should not ordinarily receive these.  However, if you do, scan it and pass it immediately to the CCU mailbox;

Ø  Manage requests for background information from CCU by forwarding to appropriate member of staff for attention, ensuring that a response is provided in time.                                                                             



ANNEX C
pdfAnnex C - Grievance Policy.pdf1.23 MB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death by Dangerous/Careless Driving (R011888)

Death by Dangerous/Careless Driving (R011888)

Thank you for your request dated 3 December 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information: From December 5 2014 to December 4 2015, how many a) charges of causing death by dangerous driving were issued in Scotland.

PF payments and bonuses (R012142)

PF payments and bonuses (R012142)

Thank you for your e-mail of 27 December 2015 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA): “Please supply a breakdown of the how a Procurator Fiscal (PF) is paid.