Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (988)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

988. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of complaints submitted to his Department in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of appeals made with respect to the outcome of such complaints; the number referred to the Office of the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13773/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is committed to providing a user-friendly, high quality service to all clients. Where it is considered that my Department falls short of this, my Department’s Customer Service Complaints Procedure can be used to seek a resolution.

The number of complaints received by my Department's Quality Service Unit (QSU) is set out in the following table:

Year

Complaints Received

2017

43

2018

30

2019 to date (01/01/2019 – 19/03/2019)

4

It is important to note that this Complaints Procedure reflects complaints about customer service, it does not cover requests for reviews or appeals against decisions taken in the operation of a scheme or service.  Such requests have separate appeals processes.  

My Department does not maintain records in respect of the number of customer service complaints received by the Ombudsman that may be a continuation of complaints previously dealt with through the QSU. Consequently, the Department is not in a position to provide that specific category of data requested by the Deputy. However, the total number of Ombudsman cases involving my Department in the years in question is as follows:

Year 

Number of Ombudsman cases 

2017

43

2018

45

2019 to date (01/01/2019 – 19/03/2019)

10

Customers are free to contact the Ombudsman where they are not happy with either the customer service they have received and/or where they are dissatisfied with the decisions taken in the operation of a scheme. For that reason many of the above cases actually relate to decisions on schemes rather than complaints concerning customer service.