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)
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)
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
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.
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
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 ]
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.
Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development
IE0031, 2016, Environment and Climate
Support Public Participation Networks
IE0032, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve Access to Justice: Reducing Costs
IE0033, 2016, Access to Justice
Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons
IE0034, 2016, Access to Justice
Improve Access to Justice: Oversight of Legal Practitioners
IE0035, 2016, Access to Justice
Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: General
IE0036, 2016, Capacity Building
Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: Youth
IE0037, 2016, Marginalized Communities
Enhance Customer Engagement
IE0038, 2016, Access to Information
Improve Access to Government Services Through Technology
IE0039, 2016, Capacity Building
IE0040, 2016, Fiscal Openness
Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers
IE0041, 2016, Access to Information
Enhance Fiscal Transparency
IE0042, 2016, Fiscal Openness
Introduce Modern Document Management Procedures
IE0043, 2016, Access to Information
Develop an Open Data Strategy 2017-2020
IE0044, 2016, Access to Information
Invest in Data Infrastructure That Will Result in Better Open Data
IE0045, 2016, Access to Information
Develop a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities
Public Sector Standards Bill
IE0047, 2016, Anti-Corruption
Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership
IE0048, 2016, Anti-Corruption
Establishment of Best Practice Standards for Open Data
IE0001, 2014, Access to Information
Establishment of Ireland’S Open Data Platform
IE0002, 2014, Access to Information
Undertake an Audit of Key Datasets for Publication
IE0003, 2014, Access to Information
Establish a Roadmap for the Open Data and an Evaluation Framework to Provide Assessment of the Ongoing Open Data
IE0004, 2014, Access to Information
Establishment of an Open Data Ireland Governance Board (ODIGB) and Steering and Implementation Group (SIG) for Open Data Ireland
IE0005, 2014, Access to Information
Signing up to the G8 Open Data Charter
IE0006, 2014, Access to Information
Implementing Open Data
IE0007, 2014, Access to Information
Improve Computer Literacy Through Implementation of Proposed New Digital Strategy for Schools
IE0008, 2014, Capacity Building
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
Hold Referenda Arising from the Recommendations of the Constitutional Convention
IE0010, 2014, Gender
IE0011, 2014, Anti-Corruption
Strengthening Freedom of Information - Implement the Code of Practice for Freedom of Information (FOI).
IE0012, 2014, Access to Information
Reform of FOI
IE0013, 2014, Access to Information
Regulation of Lobbying
IE0014, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Encourage, Protect and Raise Awareness of Whistleblower Duties and Protections
IE0015, 2014, Anti-Corruption
Measures to Increase Citizen Participation in Decision Making on Policy and Legislative Proposals. Systemic Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of Draft Bills
IE0016, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Develop and Deliver Access to Environmental Information (AIE) Training Module for Public Officials
IE0017, 2014, Access to Information
Increase Citizen Participation at Local Level. Pilot Approach to Implementation of Public Participation Networks
IE0018, 2014, Open Regulations
Provide Legal Base for Public Participation Framework in Local Government
IE0019, 2014, Capacity Building
Undertake a Feasibility Study on Possible Means of Enabling Further Citizen Engagement in Local Authority Budgetary Processes
IE0020, 2014, Fiscal Openness
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
Maximise Participation and Understanding of Young People in Civic Life
IE0022, 2014, Capacity Building
Development of an ICT Strategy
Data Sharing and Governance Bill
IE0024, 2014, E-Government
Public Services Card
IE0025, 2014, E-Government
Single Customer View
IE0026, 2014, E-Government
Local Government Portal
IE0027, 2014, E-Government
New Local Enterprise Offices
IE0028, 2014, Subnational
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
Enhance Customer Engagement
IE0030, 2014, Public Participation