What you should expect from the CICA?
As it’s a publically funded government body, it often does not have the resources to handle cases as quickly as you or your solicitor would like.
How long does it take for the CICA to make an award?
The CICA website suggests cases usually take about 1 year. In 2018 the CICA had a big recruitment drive and in our experience we are seeing this average time reduce. Depending on how much medical evidence is required, cases are taking as little as 3 months. This is great for our clients.
However sometimes cases are not moved on by the CICA with reasonable speed, so a complaint is necessary.
Is there a CICA complaint scheme?
The CICA has a formal process for complaints. It sets out three stages of complaint which are as follows:
Stage 1 CICA complaint
The team handling your claim will contact you about your complaint. They should do this within five working days of receipt of your letter of complaint. This is a good tactic to use when you do not hear from the CICA for a long time. It looks like your claim has been forgotten, and a well timed complaint, refocuses their attention on your claim.
Stage 2 Complaints handling process
If the CICA are not able to take the action you asked for at stage one and you are not happy with their explanation, a manager can be requested to investigate further. This usually helps where a case is not being thoroughly considered, and information is being obtain on a ‘piecemeal’ basis, rather than all at the same time. A manager is more likely to review the case fully and get your claim back on track.
Stage 3 Final internal process complaint
If the CICA still do not take the action you believe they should, you can request a senior manager become involved. They will review your claim again, and will where possible move the case on. Normally no further action is required, as the claim is put back on track.
What happens if your complaint is not resolved by the CICA?
If after the CICA have completed their three stage complaint process, there is still a genuine complaint, you need to complaint to an external organisation. Depending on where you live in the UK the process differs.
A complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)
In Scotland if you have exhausted the CICA’s internal complaints process you can complain directly to the SPSO.
How do you complain to the England and Wales Ombudsman?
This process is more complicated, as you need to do so via your Member of Parliament. Whereas in Scotland; you can approach the Ombudsman directly. In England and Wales the Ombudsman is called the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.