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Customer Service Action Plan

Introduction to the Customer Service Action Plan 2018

 

This Customer Service Action Plan 2018-2019 sets out the steps we will take up to the end of 2018 to deliver on the commitments set out in our Customer Service Charter.

The aim of the Action Plan is to help support achievement of the objectives in our Statement of Strategy 2016-2018 as we transition into a new Strategy Statement. It is planned to revise and update the Action Plan during 2019 to align it to the new Strategy 2019-2021.


Who we are

QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) is an independent State agency responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland.

 

What we do

We:

  • Promote, maintain and develop the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), a 10-level framework for the development, recognition and awarding of qualifications in Ireland

  • Approve programmes offered at a variety of schools, colleges and further and higher education and training institutions. These programmes lead to qualifications (QQI awards) listed in the NFQ, which are recognised internationally

  • Regulate and promote the quality of programmes offered by schools and colleges leading to qualifications in the NFQ for the benefit of learners, employers and other interested parties

  • Ensure that providers* offering national qualifications provide a positive, high-quality experience to international learners coming to study in Ireland. We will do this by authorising the International Education Mark (IEM)

  • Provide academic advice on the recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland through a service called NARIC Ireland – the National Academic Recognition Information Centre.  We also provide advice on the recognition of Irish qualifications abroad;

  • Inform the public about quality assured education and training programmes and qualifications through a database of programmes and a register of providers

  • Manage a national scheme for the quality assurance of English language services (Accreditation and Coordination of English Language Services - ACELS)

  • Advise the Minister for Education and Skills about national policy on quality assurance and improvement in education and training

* Provider refers to any college or institution

 

QQI’s Customer Service Charter sets out the principles that underpin our service and our Customer Service Action Plan describes how we will apply these principles.

The action plan links to the following priorities in our Strategic Plan 2016-2018:

  1. We will provide clear, authoritative and comprehensive information to our stakeholders and the public regarding our roles,  responsibilities and activities.We will proactively enable and encourage our staff’s ability to develop, thrive, and be fully engaged in their work.
  2. We will enhance our self-service systems, processes and technological capabilities to improve the quality and effectiveness of the service we deliver.
  3. We will regularly consult with customers, delivery partners, representative bodies and other stakeholders to measure how we are meeting the commitments in our customer service action plan.

We have linked the eight principles in our customer service charter to key action points to achieve each commitment:

1. Communications

We will communicate with customers in a clear, concise, courteous and consistent manner.

Key action points:

  1. Review how and when we communicate with our customers.

  2. Provide different options for customers to communicate with QQI to best meet their needs.

  3. Develop protocols for internal and external communication.

  4. Seek feedback on our communication methods to inform on-going improvement.

 

2. Services to the Public

We will provide a professional, responsive, and efficient services.

Key action points:

  1. Ensure that customers are aware of QQI’s opening hours. The phone lines are open from 8.30am to 5:00pm.
  2. Respond to all enquiries and complaints within 5 working days.
  3. Ensure that when staff are away from the office, reception is informed, and systems are set up to ensure correspondence is answered.
  4. Ensure that staff place an “out of office” message on the email and telephone system when unavailable.
  5. Keep customers informed of any disruptions to services through notices on the website or other appropriate channels.
  6. Ensure that customers can log a query any time of the day/night via our on-line Qhelp system.

 

3. Parliamentary Business Enquiries

We will respond to parliamentary business enquiries in an efficient and expedient manner.

Key action points:

  1. Ensure our systems support quick and easy retrieval of the information sought.
  2. Provide accurate, relevant and up-to-date information.
  3. Respond within the timelines requested where possible.
  4. Direct the enquiry to a more appropriate agency for response where QQI does not have access to the information.

 

4. Information Commitments

We will provide timely, relevant and well-informed information to our customers that is available at all points of contact and meets the requirements of people with specific needs.

Key action points:

  1. Implement internal systems to ensure that all published information is checked for accuracy on a regular basis.
  2. Ensure that written information meets agreed standards.
  3. Ensure that www.QQI.ie conforms to high standards of user friendliness and accessibility.
  4. Ensure our websites are regularly updated and all publications are available online.
  5. Ensure the potential offered by Information and Communications Technology is fully utilised across all our services.
  6. Continue to adopt a ‘plain English’ approach to publications particularly those intended for general information.

 

5. Services through the medium of Irish

We will provide our services through Irish and/or bilingually where required.

Key action points:

  1. Adhere to and fulfil our obligations under Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003 to ensure better availability and a higher standard of public service through Irish.
  2. Improve Irish language skills in the workplace by making available Irish language classes to staff.
  3. Reply in Irish to correspondence received in Irish.
  4. Identify Irish language ambassadors in the workplace who can make themselves available to liaise with customers in Irish as requested.

 

6. Consultation and evaluation

We will provide a structured approach to meaningful consultation with, and participation by, the customer in relation to the development, delivery and review of services.

Key action points:

  1. Consult with our stakeholder groups on all significant policy initiatives.  
  2. Consult with our stakeholders regularly using various techniques/approaches in addition to our comments and complaints procedures and other feedback mechanisms.
  3. Actively seek feedback from our stakeholders (internal and external) to better understand their needs.
  4. Act on feedback received when services are being reviewed.
  5. Review our consultation framework every five years to ensure its fit for purpose.

7. Equality and Diversity

We will respect diversity by ensuring all customers are treated equally.

Key action points:

  1. Ensure the right to equal treatment for all customers, established by equality legislation and accommodate diversity.
  2. Raise awareness of equality/diversity issues in QQI through information distribution and educational talks.
  3. Ensure the ways we communicate with our customers meet the needs of our customer base
  4. Implement the principles of the Code of Practice for the Employment of People with a Disability in the Irish Civil Service
  5. Monitor compliance with the employment targets under part 5 of the Disability Act 2005.

 

8. Internal Customer

We will support our staff to ensure that they can provide a high quality and professional service to our customers.

Key action points:

  1. Ensure that all staff are aware of the functions and responsibilities of other business units in the organisation and kept up to date with all new developments.
  2. Include the internal customer in the development, delivery and review of internal and external services.
  3. Provide for and actively encourages continuing professional development for staff.
  4. Provide and maintain a supportive working environment for our staff that encourage and supports the right to dignity at   work.
  5. Develop and encourage open communication amongst staff at all levels to promote a healthy and equal working environment in an organisation that values the contribution of each individual.
  6. Recognise and acknowledge the personal needs of staff and provide support in an appropriate, fair and sensitive manner.

 

Complaints of service

We are fully committed to delivering the highest quality of service and equality of treatment to all our customers. However, if you are unhappy with the quality of service you have received from QQI, or the way our service was delivered to you, you have the right to complain to us.

 

What is a complaint?

We define a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction concerning the provision of a service or services by QQI, as laid out under the commitments in our Customer Charter.

Please note QQI's complaints procedure is not a mechanism for addressing individual learners’ complaints or grievances. These should be addressed through the provider’s internal mechanisms.

How do I make a complaint?

If you have a cause for a complaint, it should be directed initially to the relevant section of QQI. Our staff there will try to deal with the problem without delay or, if the complaint does not relate to a service provided by us, direct you to the appropriate body.

If you do not know the name of the person in the section to contact, or if you are unsure which organisation you should make your complaint to, our Customer Service officers will be happy to advise you. You can contact them through our QHelp system (you will need to register if you don't already have an account). 

If the staff of the section cannot resolve your complaint, or you are unhappy with their response, you can ask for the matter to be reviewed by a senior member of staff from that section.

If you are still unhappy with the response, you should make a formal (written) complaint to the Director of Corporate Services who will investigate the complaint on your behalf.

You can do this on line through our QHelp system.


Alternatively, you can complain in writing to:

 

Director of Corporate Services

QQI

26-27 Denzille Lane

Dublin 2, DO2 P266

For further details on our complaints procedure, please see our policy on complaints of service.

Further Reading