Complaints made in writing

All complaints should be addressed to the Complaints Administrator who will acknowledge receipt within 2 working days and will log the correspondence as a formal complaint.

(A) If the complaint is about a direct Arts Council service:

Stage 1: The Complaints Administrator will pass the complaint to the Director of Operations, and a formal reply will be issued within 7 working days of receipt of the complaint from the Complaints Administrator.

We will ensure complaints are investigated thoroughly and fairly to establish the facts of the case, ensuring decisions are proportionate, appropriate and fair.

Stage 2: If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1, you may ask the Complaints Administrator, in writing, for the Chief Executive to review the response. Your request will be acknowledged within 2 working days and you will receive a response from the Chief Executive within 10 working days.

Stage 3: If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of the Stage 2 Review, you can contact the Ombudsman: Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO), Progressive House, 33 Wellington Place, Belfast, BT1 6HN

Freepost: Freepost NIPSO
Telephone: 028 90233821
Free phone: 0800 34 34 24
Text phone: 028 90897789

(B) If the complaint is about a third party organisation/individual funded by the Arts Council

The Complaints Administrator will pass the complaint to the Director of Operations who will decide whether or not the complaint is to be handled in-house or whether it needs to be passed to the third party organisation (TPO) for action.

  • If the Director of Operations decides that this is an in-house matter, the complaint will be responded to within 7 working days.
  • If the Director of Operations decides that this is a matter for the TPO to resolve then a copy of the letter of complaint will be forwarded to the TPO within 3 working days. The covering letter will ask the TPO to deal with the matter and reply directly to you, the original complainant. The Arts Council cannot dictate to another organisation the timeframe within which it should reply to complaints. However, if a copy of the reply is not received from the TPO within one month, the Complaints Administrator will issue a reminder. If the TPO fails to provide a copy of the reply following a reminder this will be brought to the attention of the Director of Operations who will contact the TPO directly to establish the position.

(C) Anonymous complaints

All written anonymous complaints will be logged as above. The Director of Operations will decide on the level of investigation into the complaint and the outcome will be recorded on file.

Complaints Reporting

A quarterly report will be provided to the Board of the Arts Council, (May, September, October and January) on the number of complaints received and their outcome within the period.

Continuous Improvement:

At the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, we consistently work towards seeking continuous improvement, as such, we will use your feedback to improve service design and delivery.

In the case that amendments to services, guidance and policies have been highlighted and can be adopted, you will be informed and thanked for your comments.

Informal Telephone Complaints

Informal complaints should be directed to the most appropriate member of staff connected with the subject of the complaint, eg the relevant Artform officer if the complaint is from or about a funded organisation; or, a member of the communications team if the complaint is about something that appeared in the press.

If you are unsure who to talk to, please refer to the staff list on our website.

The officer will try to resolve the issue immediately.

If you are not satisfied with the answer given by the officer the next step is to make a formal complaint in writing to the Complaints Administrator.

Complaints Procedure

The procedure applies to complaints about services supplied directly by the Arts Council or by third party organisations/individuals funded by the Arts Council. It does not apply to complaints from organisations/individuals who have been rejected for funding or who feel they have not received sufficient funding. Such complaints will be dealt with through the Funding Review procedure.

Complaints from members of the general public over funding decisions should be dealt with under this Service Complaints procedure.

Please note that the Arts Council will only consider complaints made in writing as formal complaints. The Arts Council will not record remarks/complaints made by telephone, or on social media as complaints.