Customer Service Standards
- What standard of service can you expect when you contact the Department of Education?
- What happens when you contact the Department of Education by telephone?
- What happens when you contact the Department of Education in writing - by letter or email?
- What happens when you visit the Department of Education?
- How do you find the Department of Education on the internet?
- What if you are unhappy about the service provided by the Department of Education?
Department of Education (DE) staff will aim to:
- Treat all customers with respect
- Be polite
- Be helpful
- Ensure that people take responsibility for handling enquiries
- Be clear and avoid the use of jargon
- Be honest and fair in all our dealings
- Provide an efficient ‘value for money’ service
- Use new technology to improve standards of service
You can help us to help you by:
- Treating DE staff with the same courtesy and respect which you expect
- Providing us with all necessary information when required
- Respond to all telephone calls in a courteous and professional manner;
- Identify ourselves by name on the telephone and answer all telephone calls promptly;
- Endeavour to answer all telephone queries immediately; where this is not possible you will be advised as to why a delay is necessary and a reply will be made within one working day;
- Use a text phone relay service for those who are hearing impaired
- If you wish to speak in Irish and the person answering does not speak Irish, your call will be taken by one of the Department’s Irish Language Officers. If required, they will also respond to you in Irish once the query has been dealt with. If the Irish Language Officers are not available, you may be transferred to an Irish language voice-mail facility (Tel: 028 9025 8971) where you can leave a message in Irish.
- If you wish to speak in Ulster-Scots or a language other than English or Irish, and the person answering does not speak the language in question, you will be offered the following options for dealing with your call:
- transfer to voice-mail where you can leave a message in Ulster Scots (Tel: 028 9025 8924);
- continue with the call in English; or
- write to the Department in the chosen language.
- acknowledge all written communication (received by postal communication or e-mail) within two working days;
- provide a written reply to an enquiry/communication within 15 working days. However, if DE cannot provide a definitive response within this timeframe, we will send you an interim reply explaining the reasons for this, and how the matter is to be progressed;
- ensure that all correspondence from DE is on official headed paper and include the name, date of reply, and contact details of the person dealing with each particular enquiry;
- respond to correspondence received in Irish or Ulster-Scots or where translation services are available, in any language other than English, in that language;
- when requested, and in line with departmental policies, supply information, materials and publications in alternative formats and languages, if these are available;
- if necessary, where your query cannot be dealt with by DE, transfer your enquiry to another branch or body where it could be handled more effectively, and advise you of the transfer.
- made to feel welcome and are greeted appropriately by reception staff;
- met promptly by a member of staff; and
- advised of any safety or security procedures.
We will ensure that our reception area is:
- clean and comfortable; and
- easily accessible to visitors with disabilities.
The DE website address is www.deni.gov.uk.
We will ensure that the issues covered on the DE website are:
- up to date and regularly reviewed; and
- presented in an informative manner.
How to make a complaint about the service provided by the Department of Education
- Our aim is to provide a high quality service at all times. However if you are unhappy with the service you have received either in terms of the quality of the service itself, or the manner in which it was delivered, we will try to put things right.
- If you wish to make a complaint, please provide details in writing to:
Equality & All Ireland Directorate
Department of Education
43 Balloo Road
- We will thoroughly investigate all complaints, give you an explanation and make every effort to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.
- If we have made a mistake, or the Department has caused a problem, we will apologise.
- We aim to provide a full written reply to any complaint within 15 working days.
- If it takes longer to deal with the complaint, we will give you regular updates and keep you informed of our progress.
- If you are still unhappy following investigation of your complaint, the Permanent Secretary will review the matter and reply within 15 working days.
- If you remain dissatisfied, you may ask your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to refer your complaint to the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland at:
33 Wellington Place
Tel: 028 90233821
Freephone: 0800 343424
Fax: 028 90234912
- If you have requested information under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations and are not satisfied with the Department’s response, you may ask for an internal review by writing to the Departmental Information Manager at:
43 Balloo Road
- If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner Office for a review of the original decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524510