Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform publishes results of Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Survey 2015

Issued 6 May 2015

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, T.D., today published the results of a survey of Civil Service customers, commissioned by his Department.  The purpose of the survey was to ascertain satisfaction levels with services received, as well as more general perceptions of, and attitudes to, the Civil Service.

The survey was carried out to meet a commitment in the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016 to “Run regular surveys of Civil Service customers to more fully understand user experiences, expectations and requirements”.  The survey was undertaken by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The results show that over three in four customers were satisfied with both the service received (77%) and the outcome of their most recent contact (76%), while service levels are mostly meeting or exceeding expectations (83%).  These figures are consistent with the last such survey, undertaken in 2009.

Speaking today, Minister Howlin said “I am very encouraged by the results of this survey.  The positive results, for example in terms of overall satisfaction with services and outcomes, reflect the commitment of civil servants to the provision of quality services.  They also provide assurance as to the consistently high standard of service delivery since the last survey, particularly during a period of resource constraints and reduced staff numbers.”

The Minister added that “the results of the survey will inform ongoing developments in service delivery across Government Departments and Offices.  The results provide some really interesting evidence in terms of the trend toward more digital delivery of services and highlight other areas for attention if we want to maintain and indeed improve levels of satisfaction”.

Minister Howlin also stated that: “This survey highlights our commitment to improving engagement with service users, as we continue to implement the Government’s Public Service Reform and Civil Service Renewal programmes”. 

Note to Editors:

The survey was undertaken by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Reform Delivery Office in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, following an open tendering process.

To view the full results of the survey, please click here. You can also view a summary version of the results here. To view an info graphic outlining some of the results of the survey, please click here.

The fieldwork was carried out in Q1 2015 with over 2,000 face-to-face interviews conducted nationwide. Quotas were applied to ensure the sample was representative of age, gender, region and social class. This is the sixth such survey -which allows for benchmarking against previous results.

Some key results are included below:

Key Results – contact

  • Half of those surveyed have contacted a Civil Service Department or Office in the past 12 months, marginally up on previous years.
  • The percentage of respondents who had contact with the Department of Social Protection was 20% (down from 26% in 2009), while for the Revenue Commissioners this was 15% (up from 11% in 2009).
  • The most common types of recent contact were: “Enquiring about a particular service / entitlement / application” (25%) and “Seeking general information” (22%).
  • When asked about convenient methods of contact, 83% of respondents identified the telephone, 64% in writing, 60% email, 58% online via a PC / Laptop and 51% in person.
  • Although contact by phone (44%) is still the most common channel for customers’ most recent interaction, contact via email or online (16%) has increased, particularly among younger customers, resulting in a decline in both written and in-person contact.
  • The main reasons cited for not accessing services online were “Prefer phone interaction” (27%) and “Prefer face-to-face interaction” (24%).

Key Results – satisfaction

  • Consistent with the previous survey, over three in four customers were satisfied with both the service received (77%) and the outcome of their most recent contact (76%), and service levels are mostly meeting or exceeding expectations (83%).
  • Dissatisfaction with any aspect of the service / contact received from a Department / Office fell from 31% in 2009 to 28% in 2015.
  • Satisfaction with Irish language services has increased, as has satisfaction with access to services among respondents whose first language is something other than Irish or English.

Key Results – attitudes and perceptions

  • The proportion of customers that would “speak highly of the Civil Service” has increased (from 28% in 2009 to 32%).
  • Perceptions of overall efficiency from all respondents remain stable (at 57%).
  • The percentage of people who would be critical of the Civil Service has fallen from 21% to 17%.
  • The number of respondents who would “speak highly of the Civil Service” are considerably higher among respondents who have had contact with the Civil Service, than for those who have not had contact in the past 12 months.
  • 50% of respondents agreed that “I feel that the service provided by the Civil Service has improved in the last 5 years”, with 16% stating that it had not.
  • 50% of respondents agreed that “The Civil Service is independent and trustworthy”, with 19% disagreeing.
  • Favourability (favourable opinion of the way in which the Civil Service meets the needs of the public) ratings for the Civil Service have remained the same as for 2009, at 52%.