Service Level Complaints about HSENI


Information on how to make a service level complaint (SLC) about HSENI can be found here.

Although our objective is to provide a top quality service, there may be occasions when you believe that you have not received the level of service you are entitled to. If this arises, we are keen to ensure that you bring such instances to our attention so that your concern can be addressed.

If we have made a mistake, you will receive an apology and we will take corrective action promptly.

A SLC is a complaint about:

  • the behaviour or conduct of a member of HSENI’s staff
  • the fairness of any action done on behalf of HSENI
  • the level of service (for example, avoidable delays where a detriment is suffered)
  • information, guidance or communications published by HSENI
  • failure to follow the appropriate administrative processes
  • maladministration
  • abuse of position

The following are NOT SLCs:

  • concerns about unsafe and unhealthy work activities
  • a routine first-time request for a service
  • issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or tribunal
  • disagreement with a decision where a statutory right of appeal or other procedure for review exists (for example, disagreement with an enforcement notice)
  • an attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision
  • matters of policy or legislation

If an issue falls into the above categories it will be acknowledged and redirected to the appropriate business area to respond to.

How to make a complaint

To make a complaint you should write in the first instance to the Head of HSENI’s Services Division at the following address or email:

Head of Services Division 
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland
83 Ladas Drive 
BT6 9FR 

Mark your envelope “Personal and Confidential”.


All complaints received will be dealt with confidentially and in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018, subject to the need to disclose information as required by statutory authorities, and/or as a result of statutory, legal or parliamentary obligations placed on HSENI.

All complaints will be thoroughly investigated.

Stage one

The Head of Services Division (HSD) will acknowledge your SLC within three working days.

The HSD will conduct an independent review of all relevant evidence in the case and reply to you within 20 working days.

If it is not possible to deal with your complaint within these timeframes, for example, because it involves complex matters or requires detailed investigation, we will explain why and let you know when you can expect a response.

Stage two

If you are still dissatisfied after receiving the stage one response you should write to HSENI's chief executive at the following address or email:

The Chief Executive
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland
83 Ladas Drive 

The chief executive will reply consider the case afresh and respond within 20 working days.


If you are still not satisfied you can complain to the Ombudsman in his role as Commissioner for Complaints.

The Ombudsman will expect you to have used our complaints procedure before referring a complaint to them.

You can find out more about making a complaint to the Ombudsman in writing or by telephone: 

The Ombudsman

Courtesy and respect

You can expect to be treated with courtesy, respect and fairness at all times. We expect that you will also treat our staff dealing with your complaint with the same courtesy, respect and fairness.

We will not tolerate threatening, abusive or unreasonable behaviour by any complainant. Such situations are rare, however, should they happen, we will cease communication with the complainant immediately in accordance with our vexatious complaints, enquiries, unreasonable and abusive behaviour policy and will inform the appropriate authorities as necessary.

Vexatious complaints, enquiries, unreasonable and abusive behaviour policy

A very small number of customers pursue the same issue repeatedly, even though HSENI feels it has done all it can to settle the matter. Under these circumstances we may decide that there is no purpose to be served by continuing to respond. We will ensure that the complainant has been offered the opportunity and been told how to escalate their complaint, including to HSENI’s complaints reviewer and the Northern Ireland Ombudsman where appropriate.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman and Health Service Commissioner defines unreasonably persistent complainants as “those who, because of the frequency or nature of their contact with an authority, hinder the authority’s consideration of their or other people’s, complaints”.

We have a policy which sets out how we will respond to these situations:

If we are satisfied that we have dealt with all aspects of the complaint or enquiry, we will write to the complainant explaining that we have nothing useful to add to earlier correspondence and that we will not therefore be responding to further communications on the matter unless there is new information for us to consider.

Raising Concerns Guidance

How a member of the public should raise a concern

Raising a concern relates to anyone, internal to or outside of HSENI, notifying HSENI about danger, wrongdoing or illegality that affects others (for example, taxpayers, customers, members of the public or their employer).

If you become aware of wrongdoing, malpractice, fraud or corruption, you can make a disclosure by contacting HSENI’s Raising Concerns Champion, the Head of Services Division, via email at:

What a member of the public should expect when they raise a concern:

  • a formal acknowledgement of receipt of their concern
  • an opportunity to meet with the organisation to fully discuss the issue and provide evidence, if desired
  • an indication of how the matter might be progressed
  • respect for their confidentiality when requested
  • an indication of when they might expect feedback, if they wish to receive feedback
  • provision of appropriate feedback

Once you have told us of your concern, HSENI will review the issue to assess initially what action should be taken. This may involve an informal review, an internal inquiry or a more formal investigation. Where it is decided that a formal investigation is necessary, the overall responsibility for the investigation will lie with a nominated ‘investigation officer’. HSENI will advise you who is dealing with the matter, how they can be contacted, and whether your further assistance may be needed. If you request, HSENI will write to you summarising your concern and setting out proposed handling arrangements. When you raise the concern you may be asked how you think the matter might best be resolved. If you do have any personal interest in the matter, we ask that you tell us at the outset.

We will give you as much feedback as we properly can, and if requested, we will confirm it in writing. However, we may not be able to tell you the precise action we take where this would infringe a duty of confidence owed by us to someone else.

Assurance for external stakeholders and members of the public

HSENI will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone who raises a genuine concern and we hope that this assurance enables you to raise your concern openly.

However, we recognise that there may be circumstances where you would prefer to speak to someone in confidence first. If this is the case, please say so at the outset.

If you ask us not to disclose your identity, we will not do so without your consent unless required by law. You should understand that there may be times when we are unable to resolve a concern without revealing your identity, for example where your personal evidence is essential. In such cases, we will discuss with you whether and how the matter can best proceed.

If you would prefer to raise your concern with an external body, The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) has published a public information leaflet which provides details on how members of the public can raise concerns with the NIAO. You can download the leaflet at the link below: