Foreword from the Minister
The Department of Social Protection plays a role in everyone’s life at
some stage, and this Customer Charter and Action Plan are part of
our constant efforts to improve services to citizens.
The aim of the Department is to provide citizens with the information, financial support and other services they require in a timely customer-friendly way.
The Customer Charter and Action Plan come at a time of profound change for the Department. Over the last two years, the Department has expanded its remit to include the former Community Welfare Service, the employment services and community employment services of FÁS as well as the redundancy and insolvency payments schemes formerly administered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
The Customer Charter and Action Plan build on the progress achieved under previous strategies and will inform customers of the standards of service they can expect when dealing with my Department. The Customer Charter is displayed prominently in Irish and English throughout the Department’s offices and is also available on the website www.welfare.ie.
The Department is committed to ensuring that a customer service ethos is embedded in everything it does and is embraced by everyone in the organisation. The Department also has a comprehensive complaints procedure open to customers who are dissatisfied in any way with the service they have received.
A significant development during 2012 was the launch of Intreo, the Department’s new integrated employment and support service to assist jobseekers in getting back to work. This “one-stop shop” approach means employment and income supports are now offered in the one place for the first time. This better reflects and addresses the individual needs of our customers and is in line with international best practice.
The rollout of the Intreo service meets the key objective in the Statement of Strategy 2011 to 2014 to transform the Department into an integrated, activation-focused service provider which puts the customer at the centre of all our operations. In short, both a safety net and a springboard.
The Charter and Action Plan was developed following extensive consultation with customers through surveys, customer panels and meetings with representative groups.
The Department is determined to deliver a customer service that meets best international standards and maintains the public service values of openness, responsiveness, professionalism and good governance. The Customer Charter and Action Plan will be a focal point to help staff meet this challenge.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff of my Department for their ongoing commitment to the delivery of a high quality customer service so that people receive the supports they need.
Preface from the Secretary General
The Department of Social Protection is committed to providing a professional inclusive and timely service that is responsive to the needs of our customers. A key aim of the Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011 to 2014 is to transform our organisation into an integrated, activation-focused service provider which puts its customers at the centre of all its operations. The Department is dedicated to ensuring that the principles of excellent quality customer service are embedded in the way services are delivered and the Department seeks to continuously improve the standard of service provided.
With a current staffing complement of approximately 7,000 following the merger of the Community Welfare Service, the FÁS community and employment services and the redundancy and insolvency payment schemes, the Department is now one of the largest public service organisations in the country. As a result of these changes, we also have new customers and relationships, particularly with employers who will be essential partners with us in supporting people into employment. This organisational change provides us with both a challenge and a critical opportunity to develop integrated services and policies and to improve the experiences of all our customers in their interaction with the Department. We have started this reform by bringing localised services, processes and staff together to form a new entity, Intreo, that will be greater than the sum of its individual parts in providing a transformed model of service to our customers.
In October, An Taoiseach and the Minister launched Intreo - the Department’s new Integrated Employment and Support Service. The Intreo approach gives us the opportunity to deal with our customers in a very different way, and in time, we hope that the brand will become synonymous with quality service delivery to all customers across the entire range of schemes and services offered by the Department. It will allow us to work with employers, as new customers, in a new and positive manner. The establishment of Intreo is a significant development in the way the Department conducts its business and illustrates the Department’s commitment to placing the customer at the centre of services and policies.
The Customer Charter and Action Plan sets out how the Department will ensure that the highest possible standards of service are achieved. It builds on the progress achieved in our previous plans. In addition, it sets out the Department’s commitments to improving our services over the next three years.
I would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of staff across the Department to delivering a high quality of service to all our customers.