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Policy Information

Quality Customer Service Initiative

Last updated: 1 April 2019
Published: 5 March 2019
From: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Improving how the Public Service engages with its customers, and improving service design and delivery, is a core part of the Government framework for public service reform, development and innovation, ' Our Public Service 2020' (Dec. 2017). The OPS2020 framework focuses on three commitments to change:

  • Delivering for our Public;
  • Innovating for our Future;
  • Developing our People and Organisations.

In Delivering for our Public, the framework recognises the work of the Quality Customer Service (QCS) Initiative, and commits to “support the delivery of a quality service to the public and ensure effective feedback tools are in place to survey customer experience, identify areas needing improvement and follow-up to check if those improvements are being delivered.”

The QCS Initiative was established in 1997, setting out 9 Guiding Principles of Quality Customer Service – expanded to 12 in 2000. The Quality Customer Service Network was established in 2000 to develop, promote and implement the QCS Initiative. The Network meets regularly throughout the year, facilitated by the Reform and Delivery Office, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and chaired by Declan Rigney, Assistant Secretary, Office of the Revenue Commissioners. The Network offers a platform for identifying best practice in customer services, and sharing learning across the Public Service. QCS Officers, who attend the Network as representatives of their organisations, oversee customer service standards in their organisations, including producing Customer Action Plans and Charters as per the Customer Charter Initiative & Guidelines , launched in 2002.

The QCS Network works collaboratively on a broad range of issues. It also produces resources for customer service representatives and organisations across the Public Service – such as the Customer Communications Toolkit for the Public Service. This document was produced by the QCS Network in collaboration with the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority. At the National Adult Literacy Agency’s (NALA) Plain English Awards in February 2019, the Toolkit took the award for Best Use of Plain English by an Organisation.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform also hosts an Annual Quality Customer Service Conference, attended by customer service representatives and interested parties from across the Public Service. This year’s conference was held in Farmleigh House on 12th December, 2018, opened by Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., who also launched the newly updated and revised version of Customer Action Plans and Charters: Guidelines for Preparation. A short video of the event is available here.

OPS2020 supports the delivery of quality customer service to the public and ensures effective feedback tools are in place to survey customer experience. Surveys of Civil Service Business Customers and Civil Service General Public Customers are held in alternate years to identify satisfaction levels with services received. These surveys also determine more general perceptions of, and attitudes towards, Civil Service departments and major offices. There is also a commitment in the Civil Service Renewal Plan to “run regular surveys of Civil Service customers to more fully understand user experiences, expectations and requirements. These surveys meet a commitment under OPS2020 that, “Public Service organisations will continue to use the customer satisfaction surveys, and tools such as focus groups, to get direct feedback from customers.”

The most recent Survey of Civil Service General Public Customers was completed in 2017, with results published in April 2017. A new Survey of Civil Service Business Customers was undertaken in 2018 and results published in February 2019.

Please click here for more information on the Customer Charter Initiative .