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Making a complaint about a government department

| 12/04/2016 | 15 Comments

Who can I turn to for assistance at the labour office. A certain officer has had my case now going on to 9 weeks, give or take a few days. Every time I go to the office or call for her, I get the lame duck excuses such as “in a meeting”…….”busy”………”not seeing clients today”…….Please help a desperate and unemployed person to get what is rightfully and hopefully lawfully mine.


Auntie’s Answer: The question I’m going to answer here is, who do I complain to about my case officer? Every government entity is required to have an internal complaints process (ICP) and one of the responsibilities of the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC) is to make sure that they are functioning properly. Now, in its most recent report, the OCC did find issues with the ICP for the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP) and made a number of recommendations regarding training for staff and, notably, access to their complaints process through their website.

The DLP does have the relevant information, process, forms and contacts online but these are not very helpfully on the National Pensions Office website, which you would probably not find if you were looking for a website for the Labour Office — which does not appear to exist anyway, but that’s another issue.

However, this is where you find it.

You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to find a link marked “Complaints”, through which there are several more links that provide more information about making your complaint. Also not very helpful is the fact that the actual form does not seem to be in the complaints section but is in the form section, and the link for that is at the top right corner of the website.

Anyway, here is the link to the correct form (don’t worry that it says National Pensions Office at the top), though you don’t necessarily need to use the form.

To be fair to DLP Director Bennard Ebanks, he’s only been in the job since the beginning of the year and no doubt has a number of issues to tackle. When I asked him about their ICP, he did say that they were reviewing the website and complaints process “in order to enhance the effectiveness of both mediums” and they that would “inform the public of our new website and revised process in due course”.

According to Acting Complaints Commissioner Bridgette von Gerhardt, the person responsible for complaints procedure for the Department of Labour and Pensions is Mrs Loval Linwood and her email address is Loval.Linwood@gov.ky.

Mr Ebanks also said that if you want to deliver your complaint by hand, you can write it down and deliver it at the DLP in a sealed envelope addressed to him and mark it as ‘confidential’.

If you are not satisfied with the way that the DLP handles your complaint – and this is the same for any government entity – you can go to the Office of the Complaints Commissioner on 4th Floor, Anderson Square in George Town or email caymancomplaints@occ.gov.ky. You can also lodge a complaint about a government department via their website here www.occ.ky, where making a complaint online is pretty straight forward.

However, you must first have tried to resolve the issue using the department’s internal complaints process.

For the record, according to the acting commissioner, last year the OCC received 133 complaints from the public. Of those, 28 were referred immediately to ICP managers within government entities because “they were premature with other avenues of resolution available to them”; 96 were investigated  and 9 investigations were brought forward into the fiscal year, as investigations had not been completed by the end of the end of the fiscal year.

Hopefully, the complaints process should resolve the issue, which for you is that your case officer was taking too long. However, it may be that the office is chronically understaffed and she really was busy, which means the problem lies more with politicians and budgets than DLP staff.

Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard this same story from other people. How do they get away with it???

    My story… As I was discussing my case with the officer, his phone kept going off with texts. He actually stopped to read and reply several times. I stopped talking on each occasion waiting on him to finish. After the 3rd time I asked if I should come back at a better time. He stopped. However!! A fellow staff member came in w/o knocking to give him $25. What the..!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Really?? It was that urgent??? I’m sitting in tears in from of this man and this is going on around me. Like from a comedy or something.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All of Government Departments need more people like the young receptionist that the Labour Department as i think she is from Bodden Town she is always smiling, very helpful, nice personality, speaks to the officer that has the clients complaints which i notice she has to keep calling them on the phone or getting up from the desk to make sure the officer do not forget that they have clients waiting which I see that she has a lot of clients to deal with. Keep up the good job and keep smiling.

  3. Unemployed but eating says:

    My friend whoever you are, do what I did and ask for a new officer…..a young man took my case and within 2 weeks I had my wages AND overtime that was due to me. The white female officer I dealt with initially, had not even contacted my former employer yet she proceeded to close that case. Pathetic enforcement of the law, with lame ass excuses from a senior officer. And the deputy, who oversees this same officer was not helpful at all……i stood better chance trying to see Obama than I could her

  4. Anonymous says:

    what do you mean rightfully and hopefully lawfully mine I don’t understand?? Why do you think that this office is the way to get a job? Let me tell you its not you get a job by going to the place you are qualified to work and know you can do the job Not beg some office that hired unemployed people so they would have jobs themselves

    • Anonymous says:

      Hero…whomever you are, if you would read and comprehend what was being said you would understand that the writer apparently had a dispute/issue with their wages and overtime. So, my bird brain leaves me to ascertain that the writer had been employed and thus the reason they earned wages and overtime. You don’t earn a wage oR overtime being unemployed. Comprehension goes with reading, I suggest you use both at the same time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is the same story in almost every public service organization. It is broken from top to bottom!! So much for Franz Manderson’s “initiatives” to improve the Civil Service.

    • Anonymous says:

      The re imagined Civil Service is a total joke. Same staff, same attitude so what was likely to change.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If everybody who has reason to complain about civil servants did complain, then with the sheer mass of complaints you would think Government would grind to a halt. WRONG!. Complaints like most other requests to civil servants are just ignored, as their mantra is if you don’t like it, lump it. Unlike the private sector, we cannot go elsewhere to do business, so they have us over the proverbial barrel.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good luck. And please CNS no excuses for the new Director as he is a past employee of the department and not much use either plus he can be very rude when you ask him for guidance in lodging and internal complaint. Ms. Linwood is also not helpful in this area either. Been there done that and still waiting for a response.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had dealings with him and found him to be a fair person, he will actually meet an deal with people, something most directors don’t do. If something isn’t resolved in your favour doesn’t mean they are rude.

  8. Anon says:

    You are kiddin right? Compliant about any government employee or department will come to nothing! Don’t waste your valuable time. Sorry to burst any bubbles here but it’s Cayman and that’s just the way it is.

  9. Jtb says:

    Alternatively, email Alden copying in the person who you’re complaining about.

    • Anonymous says:

      Right! Like Alden gives a stuff. However if there is a vote in it I would be proved wrong.

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