Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1409)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1409. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of complaints his Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if his attention has been drawn to issues and or problems in having complaints registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35636/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The data requested by the Deputy is set out in the table that follows.

Year

Number of customer service complaints received by my Department’s Quality Service Unit

2017

43

2018

30

2019 (to-date)

10

The data set out in the table relates to complaints received by the Quality Service Unit of my Department as part of my Department’s Customer Service Complaints Procedure. It is important to note that this Customer Service Complaints Procedure concerns complaints regarding customer service, it does not cover requests for reviews or appeals against actual decisions taken in the operation of a scheme or service, as these have a separate appeals process.

My Department is committed to providing a user-friendly, high quality service to all farmers. Where it is considered that my Department falls short of this, my Department’s Customer Service Complaints Procedure can be availed of by farmers. There are three steps in the customer service complaints process:

1. Complaints should first be directed to the senior officer in charge of the business area within the Department to which the complaint pertains.

2. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response received from the Head of the relevant business area, the complaint can be sent to the Quality Service Unit who will examine any customer service aspect of the complaint. The Quality Service Unit will have the matter fully and impartially investigated by an officer who was not involved in the matter giving rise to the complaint.

3. If the complainant remains dissatisfied after steps 1 and 2 above, it is open to the complainant to contact the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman examines complaints from people who feel they have been unfairly treated.

These procedures and relevant contact details are set out on our website and are also available in printed form if requested.