The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, today, Monday, 12th December announced the reinvigoration of the Government's Quality Customer Service Initiative (QCSI), have secured the agreement of Cabinet recently.
The Quality Customer Service Initiative was developed to improve service design, delivery and engagement with customers. The Initiative is based on 12 'Guiding Principles' for Quality Customer Service, which underpin the design and delivery of all public services.
Minister McGrath said:
"The Quality Customer Service Initiative has been an integral part of how our public service demonstrates accountability to the public since its establishment in 1997. With the passage of time and the evolution of how we transact with our customers in a fast-paced, digital environment, it is now timely to reaffirm, modernise and strengthen our standards of customer service to reflect today's dynamic business environment".
In renewing the QCSI, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will seek a commitment from all Departments and Public Service Bodies to update, redevelop and implement their organisations' Customers Service Action Plans and Customers Charters to ensure they achieve and maintain the highest standards of management and accountability in customer service in the modern business world.
Organisations will also be required to demonstrate responsiveness through accessible, transparent and regular reporting and evaluation of performance against the service standards set out in their Customer Service Action Plans and Charters. This will provide clear accountability by organisations about the implementation of those standards and will facilitate continuous improvement in quality customer service.
In December, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will publish updated guidance for how public service bodies should engage with customers in a timely and efficient manner. The Department will also be assisting public service bodies to better engage with users in the design of public services to ensure that the services we provide best meet the needs of the public.
Minister McGrath said:
"I am strongly encouraging all public service bodies to make use of the Quality Customer Service guidelines to guarantee that customer action plans and charters are clear, robust and provide accountability.
"In recent years our Public Service has demonstrated enormous agility and resilience in how we respond to the citizen's needs in some of the most turbulent circumstances since the establishment of the State. I am confident that by renewing our commitment to quality customer service and reshaping our response mechanisms and standards, we will ensure that the public receives service levels and response times that are fit for the future".
Background to the QCS Initiative and Network
Quality Customer Service Initiative
The Quality Customer Service Initiative (QCSI) was introduced in 1997 to improve service design, delivery and engagement with customers. The Initiative is based on 12 ‘Guiding Principles’ for Quality Customer Service, which underpin the design and delivery of all public services.
Customer Communications Toolkit
This toolkit provides guidance to inform the design and procurement of customer communications across the Public Service. The toolkit complements the Plain English Style Guide for the Public Service (developed by DPER in partnership with NALA). The Communications Toolkit is currently being revised to reflect developments such as the EU Web Accessibility Directive.
Designing Our Public Service – Prototype Design Principles
This prototype was developed to support public service organisations to embrace new ways of working, by incorporating design tools and techniques to deliver user-centred services.
The Quality Customer Service Network was established in 2000 to develop, promote and implement the Quality Customer Service Initiative. The Network meets regularly throughout the year.
Customer Charters and Action Plans
A Customer Charter is a short statement describing the level of service customers can expect from a government department or office. The Customer Action Plan develops these commitments and standards, and outlines how they will be achieved over the lifetime of the plan.