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Ireland

Review and Enhancement of Complaints Procedures and Using Feedback to Improve Services Across the Public Service; a Review of Citizen Complaints Procedures Will Be Undertaken. (IE0029)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ireland, First Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Public Expenditure & Reform

Support Institution(s): All public bodies will be involved over time in the delivery of this action

Policy Areas

Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ireland End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

This will assess: The thoroughness, speed and impartiality of bodies across the public service in responding to customer complaints; The availability of clear and timely information about how people can appeal and complain; and The effectiveness of remedies that are offered to complainants.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2.7: Review of Complaints Procedure and Improving Services Across the Public Service (2.7.1, 2.7.2)

Commitment Text:

Action 2.7.1-  A review of citizen complaints procedures will be undertaken.

This will assess: The thoroughness, speed and impartiality of bodies across the public service in responding to customer complaints; The availability of clear and timely information about how people can appeal and complain; The effectiveness of remedies that are offered to complainants.

Action 2.7.2 - Enhance customer engagement

Customer engagement will be promoted through provision of more customer service training, review of the customer charter process, through formal organisational surveys of customers and though a range of mechanisms including social media, mobile access devices, focus/user groups, meetings, seminars and consultation processes with a view to improving services and levels of engagement with citizens.

Responsible institution: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DEPR)

Supporting institution(s): All public bodies will be involved

Start date: Not specified                                                                       End date: July 2016

 
Commitment Aim

These actions seek to assess the process of customer (or user) complaints on the civil service and the effectiveness of the remedies provided (Action 2.7.1). It also seeks to outline how the civil service can respond to customer reaction by way of “Customer Charters” (Action 2.7.2), which are statements on the quality levels of service one can expect from a government Department or Office. These solutions are a means to increase public accountability and citizen participation in the civil service in terms of responding to users of government services.

Status

Midterm

2.7.1: Limited

2.7.2: Substantial

The action plan outlined a range of initiatives to enhance customer engagement, including a more general review of Customer Charters across Departments, and surveying customers to improve levels of service as seen with the Irish civil service customer satisfaction survey in 2015 (Action 2.7.2)[Note 37: As discussed in IRM mid-term report, the Irish civil service customer satisfaction survey in 2015, satisfaction was up when compared with a similar survey in 2009.] and a review of citizen complaints procedures in particular (Action 2.7.1). The first year of the action plan saw Action 2.7.1 having limited completion, while 2.7.2 saw substantial advancement, as explained in detail in the IRM midterm report.

End of term

2.7.1: Complete

2.7.2: Substantial

In the second year of the action plan, the government took significant steps to ensure the completion of Action 2.7.1. As reflected in the government report, a review of departments and offices was completed in April 2016, complemented by a review of non-commercial state agencies that was completed in June 2016. The resulting recommendations from the review were sent to individual State Agencies and the Civil Service Quality Customer Service Network.[Note 38: See: http://www.per.gov.ie/en/quality-customer-service/  (last accessed September 18, 2016)] With regard to Action 2.7.2, substantial initiatives have taken place in the last year of the action plan, including requiring all public bodies to publish customer charters and customer action plans covering a three year period, based on a four-step cycle of consultation, commitment, evaluation, and reporting, as discussed in the government’s end of term report. Addtionally, in 2016 a new survey of civil service business customers was started (where the contract to do so was awarded following an open tendering process in July 2016), whose goals are to analyze the experience Irish businesses have had when interacting with the government. There is also continued collaboration with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) to deliver ‘plain language’ training over five sessions in 2016 for the civil service.[Note 39: See: https://www.nala.ie/what-we-do/advance-policy (last accessed September 18, 2016) ] Remaining tasks related to the Action are still being finished, including the finalization of surveying civil service business customers.

Did it open government?

Civic participation: Marginal

Public accountability: Marginal

The context of these initiatives is seen in the Public Services Reform Plan of 2014–16 (launched in January 2014, before the action plan), which prioritized public service reform and improvement of service delivery by bettering how civil service engaged with customers (users). The potential of both initiatives, as explained in the IRM midterm report, was either minor or moderate. In terms of whether these actions opened government, their effect is marginal. While the actions (2.7.1, on customer complaints; and 2.7.2, on Customer Charters) created opportunities for officials to be answerable for their actions (through Customer Charters, for example), it is unlikely this will change ‘business as usual’ for users.

 For example, as stated in the midterm report, 33 government departments established Customer Charters, however implementation of the charters in departments/offices needs to be monitored closely to determine if the charters are improving service for users. Similarly, citizens have been able to provide input on how the civil service works through surveys. These surveys have been an ongoing practice since 2014 and the results are published.[Note 40: http://www.per.gov.ie/en/civil-service-general-public-customers/ ] However, publications do not track how the input from citizens or users is considered or incorporated in improvement plans or policy changes. From the two surveys conducted during the span of the action plan, the results have been consistent to point out that “satisfaction with almost all aspects of service delivery have increased marginally” and the disatisfactions remain constant from one survey to another.[Note 41: 2017 Customer Service Survey, published January 2017 file:///Users/denissemiranda/Downloads/Customer-Survey-2017-Full-Reprt-final-version-March-23-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf ] 

Carried forward?

The government has carried forward action 2.7.2 into the new action plan, as part of commitment 5 on improving access to government services through technology. Actions in this regard include increased training in customer services, reporting progress in meeting standards in Customer Charters, as well as encouraging public bodies to engage with customers in the development and review of services.


Commitments

  1. Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development

    IE0031, 2016, Environment and Climate

  2. Support Public Participation Networks

    IE0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Improve Access to Justice: Reducing Costs

    IE0033, 2016, Judiciary

  4. Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons

    IE0034, 2016, Judiciary

  5. Improve Access to Justice: Oversight of Legal Practitioners

    IE0035, 2016, Justice

  6. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: General

    IE0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: Youth

    IE0037, 2016, Marginalized Communities

  8. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Improve Access to Government Services Through Technology

    IE0039, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Participatory Budgeting

    IE0040, 2016, Participation in Budget Processes

  11. Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers

    IE0041, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  12. Enhance Fiscal Transparency

    IE0042, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  13. Introduce Modern Document Management Procedures

    IE0043, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  14. Develop an Open Data Strategy 2017-2020

    IE0044, 2016, E-Government

  15. Invest in Data Infrastructure That Will Result in Better Open Data

    IE0045, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Starred commitment Develop a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities

    IE0046, 2016,

  17. Starred commitment Public Sector Standards Bill

    IE0047, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

    IE0048, 2016, Asset Disclosure

  19. Establishment of Best Practice Standards for Open Data

    IE0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Establishment of Ireland’S Open Data Platform

    IE0002, 2014, E-Government

  21. Undertake an Audit of Key Datasets for Publication

    IE0003, 2014, Open Data

  22. Establish a Roadmap for the Open Data and an Evaluation Framework to Provide Assessment of the Ongoing Open Data

    IE0004, 2014, Open Data

  23. Establishment of an Open Data Ireland Governance Board (ODIGB) and Steering and Implementation Group (SIG) for Open Data Ireland

    IE0005, 2014, Open Data

  24. Signing up to the G8 Open Data Charter

    IE0006, 2014, Open Data

  25. Implementing Open Data

    IE0007, 2014, Open Data

  26. Improve Computer Literacy Through Implementation of Proposed New Digital Strategy for Schools

    IE0008, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Review National and International Practice to Develop Revised Principles / Code for Public Engagement/Consultation with Citizens, Civil Society and Others by Public Bodies.

    IE0009, 2014, Public Participation

  28. Starred commitment Hold Referenda Arising from the Recommendations of the Constitutional Convention

    IE0010, 2014, Gender

  29. Starred commitment Ethics Reform

    IE0011, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  30. Strengthening Freedom of Information - Implement the Code of Practice for Freedom of Information (FOI).

    IE0012, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  31. Reform of FOI

    IE0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  32. Starred commitment Regulation of Lobbying

    IE0014, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  33. Starred commitment Encourage, Protect and Raise Awareness of Whistleblower Duties and Protections

    IE0015, 2014, Whistleblower Protections

  34. Measures to Increase Citizen Participation in Decision Making on Policy and Legislative Proposals. Systemic Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of Draft Bills

    IE0016, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  35. Develop and Deliver Access to Environmental Information (AIE) Training Module for Public Officials

    IE0017, 2014, Capacity Building

  36. Increase Citizen Participation at Local Level. Pilot Approach to Implementation of Public Participation Networks

    IE0018, 2014, Private Sector

  37. Provide Legal Base for Public Participation Framework in Local Government

    IE0019, 2014, Capacity Building

  38. Undertake a Feasibility Study on Possible Means of Enabling Further Citizen Engagement in Local Authority Budgetary Processes

    IE0020, 2014, Participation in Budget Processes

  39. Support Children and Young People as Citizens. Develop, Finalise and Publish the First Government Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making.

    IE0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  40. Maximise Participation and Understanding of Young People in Civic Life

    IE0022, 2014, Capacity Building

  41. Development of an ICT Strategy

    IE0023, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  42. Data Sharing and Governance Bill

    IE0024, 2014, E-Government

  43. Public Services Card

    IE0025, 2014, E-Government

  44. Single Customer View

    IE0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Local Government Portal

    IE0027, 2014, E-Government

  46. New Local Enterprise Offices

    IE0028, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  47. Review and Enhancement of Complaints Procedures and Using Feedback to Improve Services Across the Public Service; a Review of Citizen Complaints Procedures Will Be Undertaken.

    IE0029, 2014, Public Participation

  48. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0030, 2014, Public Participation