The provision of quality customer service is an essential element of the modern public service. The Department of the Taoiseach has always tried to offer a high-quality customer service.
We are committed to ensuring that a customer service ethos is part of everything we do and is embraced by all of our staff.
We employ a range of measures to ensure that we continue to improve the overall quality of our service. Our customer action plan builds on the progress made in previous plans and lists the actions we intend to take so that we can make even more progress.
The plan describes how our commitments and service standards will be delivered and measured by us.
Our customer charter describes the levels of service each customer is entitled to expect when dealing with us and our commitment to ensuring that we keep up these levels of service. It provides information on service standards, customer input, complaints procedures, freedom of information and contact details for key areas within our department.
We accept that there may be instances where customers might feel that the levels of service provided by us failed to meet their expectations. The department has a strong customer complaints procedure in place to ensure that any complaints are fully investigated and dealt with as soon as possible.
Public service organisations have been producing customer action plans since 1997. In 2003, as part of a focus to further improve quality customer service, public service organisations began to adopt customer charters.
Customer action plans and customer charters are produced as part of the same overall process, but they have separate yet complementary roles. A customer action plan (CAP) sets out the functions of the organisation and the services it provides to the public. It describes in detail how the commitments and standards set out in the customer charter will be delivered and monitored by the organisation.
Attached below is a copy of the Department of the Taoiseach's customer action plan. It sets out our commitment to the principles of quality customer service and our determination to continue to provide the highest quality of service to the public. (Note that the CAP includes a copy of the customer charter and a copy of the customer complaints procedure as appendices.)
Public service organisations have been producing customer charters since 2003. They aim to build upon the improvements in customer service brought about by the introduction of customer action plans across the public service six years earlier.
A customer charter is a short statement describing the level of service a person is entitled to expect when dealing with a public service organisation. It is intended to focus on those issues that are important to the public rather then covering everything an organisation does or concentrating on internal policies or processes.
Attached below is a copy of our customer charter which outlines our commitment to providing service to the public in accordance with the 12 principles of quality customer service and defines our service standards in clear and simple language.
It also provides information on how customer input can contribute to the improvement of services that we provide and on issues such as complaints procedures and Freedom of Information.
We make every effort to ensure that the services we provide fully meet people's needs and expectations and are delivered in a friendly, courteous and efficient manner. However, we accept that on occasion a person may feel dissatisfied with the level of service that they received.
If anybody feels that they have an issue with the service received, they have the right to complain directly to the individual or section they have been dealing with, and we would hope that any problem can be resolved there and then.
If this proves not to be the case and somebody feels they should lodge an official complaint, we have a strong customer complaints procedure in place to ensure that all complaints are investigated thoroughly, fairly and in confidence.
The customer service officer will respond to any official complaint within 15 days of receipt or, if this is not possible, issue an interim reply advising of the reasons for the delay and when a substantive response will issue.
Anybody not satisfied with the response of the customer service officer has the right of appeal to the department's head of corporate affairs. If the complainant feels the matter has not been resolved to their satisfaction they still have the right of appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman. A copy of the full customer complaints procedure is attached below.