There are potentially four options:
- Informal local resolution
- Specific formal complaint for investigation by the SFPA
- The formal invoking of the services of the independent Complaints Officer appointed under Section 49 of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act
- The formal examination of a complaint by the Government Ombudsman
Note: Under the provisions of Section 49 of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, complaints must be made to the Complaints Officer within 28 days of the event concerned.
The SFPA seeks to carry out its functions in a professional manner and is subject to the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012. According to the Act, the Ombudsman’s office will be empowered to examine complaints arising from any action taken by or on behalf of a government agency in the performance of administrative function where the action occurred after 1 May 2013. A complainant is required to exhaust the SFPA’s complaints procedure before approaching the Ombudsman.
The SFPA’s staff are informed and guided by the guide to best practice, including:
Nevertheless, situations may arise whereby people feel aggrieved by an action of the SFPA in the enforcement of either sea fisheries or food safety law. The SFPA has therefore established a complaints procedure, which provide an efficient and credible system for airing grievances, based upon guidance provided by the Ombudsman on internal complaints systems, and the obligations of Section 49 of the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006.