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CUSTOMER SERVICE ACTION PLAN

Contents 


Introduction

Wexford County Council is, since 2014, the local authority in County Wexford.  Our main role is that of public service as well as the economic and community development of the County.  

We are committed to the delivery of a first class quality service to all our customers. This commitment is central in our response to the increasing demands being made upon us. We consider that our standard of customer care is high but we are committed to continually improving it.

 


Who is the Customer?

Members of the public who come into contact with us in person, in writing, by telephone or e-mail and users of our services generally are our customers.

 

It is our policy is to assist our customer in a highly professional manner. 

 

In order to provide our customers with the best possible service we must ensure that our staff are fully supported with regard to service delivery issues and customer service training and initiatives. 


Statement of Standards of Service.

 

Wexford County Council is a customer focused organisation, committed to – 

  • bringing better and extended services closer to the people of the County;
  • ensuring the right to equal treatment established by equality legislation and accommodating diversity so as to contribute to equality for all;
  • identifying and working to eliminate barriers to access of services;
  • improving the quality of service delivered to people with disabilities and to customers in general and
  • fostering a climate of mutual respect between us and our customers. 

  

In this Customer Service Action Plan, we set out the principles and standards of customer service which will apply throughout the organisation. 

We also set out the procedure for dealing with customer complaints.  These are are fully investigated and monitored so that steps can be taken to rectify problems and improve service delivery.

 


Telephone Service.

 

Our Telephone Service operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you ring between 1 a.m. and 2 p.m. you will be asked to leave a message which will be dealt with at 2 p.m. 

An emergency out of office hours service is available on 1890 666 777.

When ringing Wexford County Council

  • Our Telephonist will route your call to the appropriate person or section.
  • Where extensions are unattended, these are programmed to ask you to leave a message or that your call will be forwarded to an attended phone.  Your cal should therefore be answered.
  • Direct dial-in numbers (i.e. 919 + extension) are available to allow you to ring staff directly.  If you know the extension of the person or section you wish to contact, you can dial the number directly – 053 919xxxx. 

          See Home Page/Contact Details for alphabetical list of main service areas with related extension numbers.

  • In conversation with you, we will be polite and courteous.
  • If we cannot answer your queries immediately, we will take your details and agree to call you back at a time that suits you.
  • If we need to transfer your call to a colleague, we will explain why. We will give you that person's name and number and ensure that your call is properly transferred.

Correspondence.

  • We will acknowledge all correspondence, whether written or electronic, within 5 working days of receipt.
  • We will provide a definitive reply, where possible, to all correspondence within 20 working days.
  • If it is not possible to provide a definitive reply within this period, we will send you an interim reply explaining the position.   Information technology initiatives will actively support these arrangements.
  • We will write to you in clear, simple language and only use technical terms when absolutely necessary.
  • All written correspondence will be in Arial 12.
  • Our responses will generally be made in the same manner as we are contacted i.e. e-mail response to e-mail query, unless requested otherwise.
  • We will ensure that all letters carry a contact name, direct dial telephone number, fax number and e-mail address.  Please feel free to use these details to contact us further.

Visiting our Offices

 

 In our dealings with you in our Offices we will:

 

 

  • be polite, courteous and fair;
  • act promptly and without undue delay;
  • act correctly in accordance with the law or other rules governing your entitlements;
  • act sensitively having regard to your privacy;
  • avoid bias because of your gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, colour, ethnic origin, culture, language, membership of the Traveller community, reputation or because of who you are or who you know;
  • keep our offices clean and safe, to ensure compliance with occupational and safety standards;
  • ensure you have safe and unfettered access.

 


Access

  • If you are visiting our offices, we will be happy to advise you of the exact location.
  • If you have any special needs, please let us know how we may help prior to your visit so as to ensure the best service provision for you.
  • Existing buildings will be further adapted to enable access for all, wherever feasible. New buildings will comply with best practice in designing for accessibility so as to achieve universal access to the buildings.
  • Signage of disabled facilities will be reviewed and improved, where necessary.
  • The Council’s Access Officer will arrange for the provision of assistance and guidance to persons with disabilities in accessing services. 

The contact details are:

Access Officer,
Wexford County Council,
Carricklawn,
Wexford.
Tel: 053 9196418
Fax: 053 9196030
E-mail:caroline.horan@wexfordcoco.ie    

 


Information

  • In all our contacts with you, we will be as helpful as possible.
  • We will be proactive in providing information about our services that is clear, accurate and timely, and meets the requirements of people with specific needs.
  • We will try to ensure that all information, forms and leaflets are easy to understand.
  • We will do our best to simplify rules, regulations and procedures.
  • We will maintain proper records providing clear and precise detailed information.

Information and other materials produced by and for the organisation will be provided in a relevant and accessible manner to customers, including different formats such as Braille, audio and large print.  

We will assist customers who wish to transact their business through Irish and/or bilingually as comprehensively as possible. Also, we will ensure that language barriers are effectively addressed including use of interpreters, and that sign language interpretation is provided where necessary. The minimum notice required to arrange sign language interpretation is 2 weeks.

  • Information on all our services is available on our website, www.wexford.ie, in various formats.
  • All key publications are available on our website, www.wexford.ie.
  • Information leaflets are also available to help with queries relating to planning, housing loans and grants and the library services.
  • A selection of application forms are available on our website, www.wexford.ie. Application forms are also available from our district offices, branch libraries and the mobile library service.
  • Special notices are published in the national and local newspapers.
  • Local radio is frequently used to let the public know what we are doing.
  • Requests for information can be made in person, by letter, fax, phone or e-mail.

The provision of information to the public will be enhanced by a more proactive local media campaign and further development of website interactive facilities.


Meetings

 

 

We will provide excellent facilities for public meetings.  Insofar as possible, we will provide an accessible venue.  Where feasible, we will arrange to provide other facilities to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including a loop system and sign language interpretation, if requested.   

 

 


Equality and Diversity

Wexford County Council is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all its customers, accommodating diversity and making reasonable accommodation to meet the needs of people with disabilities in the provision of its services. The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 protect our customers from discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment in accessing Council services, including housing services.  The Equal Status Acts cover nine discriminatory grounds - gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of the Traveller community.  Any form of discrimination is not accepted by the Council and will not be tolerated.

The Council will seek to ensure that customers with disabilities will not be excluded by barriers including physical, systemic, communications and attitudinal barriers.

Further information on the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 can be obtained from the Equality Authority’s information service. 

Lo-Call: 1890 245 545      Tel: 01 4173333    


Consultation

Wexford County Council has a responsibility to its customers to deliver its services and to carry out its functions efficiently and effectively. Consultation with our customers is vital in this process.

We are committed to consulting with our customers to ensure meaningful participation by the customer in relation to the development, delivery and review of our services.  We particularly welcome feedback from our customers. You can contact us in person, by post, phone, fax or e-mail.  You will find our contact details at Home Page/Contact Details.   

All staff members are viewed as internal customers and will be consulted with regard to service delivery issues. Workplace Partnership plays an important role in relation to staff consultation.

Ongoing Consultation

  • Our Traveller Accommodation Officer and our Social Workers meet regularly with the Traveller community to discuss their needs and work to meet these in a practical way.
  • Our elected members work closely with local organisations, the business and farming communities and development groups when formulating policy through the Strategic Policy Committees.
  • The County Development Board places great importance on the input from community representatives and other agencies in seeking to improve service delivery and promote social inclusion, including in relation to people with disabilities.
  • The Library Service and Arts Office both work extensively in consultation with local communities and give considerable support to projects in terms of information, administration and coordination.
  • Our Access Officer is consulting with groups representing people with disabilities in relation to accessibility of public buildings, services and information.
  • Our staff conduct customer surveys from time to time and take account of any feedback to try to improve customer service.
  • Our staff organise formal public consultation with our customers as required. 

Choice and Coordination of Services

As part of Wexford County Council’s commitment to continually review and improve its services, taking into account the needs of its customers, it provides the following –

  • A choice of account payment methods, including payment by credit/debit cards or by the GIRO/Billpay system through each local Post Office or Pay Point in participating retail outlets. Details of Billpay can be obtained in a leaflet available at County Hall, each Area Office and on our website, www.wexford.ie.
  • Online customer accounts service which allows the Council’s debtors to pay and view their accounts online.
  • Lunchtime opening of selected offices: Motor Tax – open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.      Planning – open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  • Decentralisation of services from County Hall Headquarters to each electoral area and greater harmonisation of service delivery between the Town Authorities and the County Council. Information Technology initiatives will actively support these developments.
  • Coordination of services through implementation of the County Development Board’s 10 year County-wide strategy – “Remodelling the Model County” : A strategy for the Economic, Social and Cultural Development of County Wexford 2002 - 2012.

The Customer Service Action Plan will be subject to ongoing review and amendment.  


Customer Complaints Procedure.

Wexford County Council is committed to delivering a first class quality service in an open and transparent manner, with courtesy and sensitivity. On occasion, we may not achieve the high standards of service that you expect.

If you are not satisfied, or are not happy with a decision that we have made, you should let us know and we will deal with the matter promptly, impartially and in confidence.

Importantly, the procedure sets out time frames by which we are committed to issue you with a response.

 

The following sets out the Council’s procedures for dealing with Customer Complaints. 

 

What issues are covered?

This procedure concerns complaints or appeals relating to delays, mistakes, decisions, level of service or failure to meet requirements of the Sectoral Plan under the Disability Acts or other legislation to which the Council must comply.

 

What issues are not covered?

This procedure does not apply to the following –

  • matters for which there is a statutory right of appeal e.g. planning decisions, Freedom of Information decisions; Data Protection requests. 

 

Who do I contact to make a complaint?

Initially, you can contact the Section Head concerned if you are unhappy with the service being provided to you by their staff. This is normally a verbal complaint but can be in writing.

 

If you are unhapyy with that response you can forward the complaint etc. to the FOI Office where it will be registered and forwarded to the Director of Services for a report.

Strict time lines apply to the response to compalints as set out below on the flow chart and appendix to our Customer Complaints Procedure. 

 
FOI Office,
Wexford County Council,
Carricklawn,
Wexford. 
Tel: 053 9196281 / 6484.       
Fax: 053 9196065
E-mail: foiunit@wexfordcoco.ie

 

If you are still not satisfied with the rep[ort and repsonse issued to you you may contact the Office of the Ombudsman. This Office will carry out a full independent examination of the matter.

The contact details are:

Office of the Ombudsman, 
18 Lower Leeson Street, 
Dublin 2. 
Tel: 01 6395600 
Lo-Call: 1890 223 030 
Fax: 01 6395674 
E-mail: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie 
Website: www.ombudsman.ie

 

Who do I contact to make a complaint under the Disability Act 2005?

If you wish to complain about a failure on the part of the Council to comply with the requirements set out in sections 25-29 of the Disability Act 2005 i.e. accessibility of the Council’s public buildings; accessibility of heritage sites in the Council’s ownership, management or control; mainstreaming of services; provision of information or provision of assistance to people with disabilities in accessing services, you should contact the County Secretary.  You are asked to supply as much information as possible at the outset.  A spouse, parent, relative, guardian or other person acting in place of a parent, a legal representative or a personal advocate assigned by the Citizens Information Board can make a complaint on your behalf.  The County Secretary will conduct an investigation and you will be notified of the results of the investigation.         

The contact details are:

County Secretary, 
Wexford County Council, 
Carricklawn, 
Wexford. 
Tel: 053 9196259 
Fax: 053 9196065 
E-mail: pat.collins@wexfordcoco.ie     

 

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, you may contact the Office of the Ombudsman.  This Office will carry out a full independent examination of the matter. 

The contact details are:

Office of the Ombudsman, 
18 Lower Leeson Street, 
Dublin 2. 
Tel: 01 6395600 
Lo-Call: 1890 223 030 
Fax: 01 6395674 
E-mail: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie 
Website:  www.ombudsman.ie  

 

Who do I contact to make a claim of discrimination under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004?

You must notify the Council, in writing, within two months of the most recent occurrence of the discrimination. Your claim is not valid unless you do so.  The notice must identify the nature of the claim and the intent to seek redress.  Questions can be included in the notice for the purpose of obtaining information which is relevant to your case.  You can use form ES.1, available on request from the Equality Tribunal, 3 Clonmel Street, Dublin 2.  

Tel: 01 477 4100 
Lo-Call: 1890 34 44 24 
Fax: 01 477 4141 
E-mail: info@equalitytribunal.ie 
Website: www.equalitytribunal.ie

 

Notices should be sent to –

County Secretary,
Wexford County Council,
Carricklawn,
Wexford.

 

If there is no reply, or if you are not happy with the reply, the claim may be referred to the Equality Tribunal.  This must be done within six months of the discrimination. You can use form ES.3, available on request from the Equality Tribunal, 3 Clonmel Street, Dublin 2. 

Tel: 01 477 4100 
Lo-Call: 1890 34 44 24 
Fax: 01 477 4141 
E-mail: info@equalitytribunal.ie 
Website: www.equalitytribunal.ie

 

The County Secretary will monitor and follow up the situation after a complaint is made, so that discrimination does not recur.


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