Complaints procedure

Should you wish to make a complaint about the service you have received from Údarás na Gaeltachta, the procedures outlined here will explain your rights to you.

The General Context

The Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta includes elected members, and the role of Board members in keeping the public informed regarding the policies, plans, progress and functioning of an tÚdarás is recognised accordingly. It is also recognised that people discuss such Údarás matters with Board members. The procedure set out here, however, is the organisation’s system of dealing with complaints from clients or members of the public.

What is a Complaint?

A complaint may relate to a decision or action regarding Údarás business, or to carrying out one of its functions which, it is claimed, is not in accordance with the rules, practice or policy of the organisation or the generally accepted principles of equity and good administrative practice, or if it is felt that it adversely affects the person concerned, or if a complainant believes that (s)he was dealt with in a discourteous, impolite, abrupt or curt manner. Some complaints arise from a breakdown in communications and usually these complaints are quickly resolved when the facts, evidence or circumstances have been established. It is important, nevertheless, that we operate a fair system that gives people the opportunity to make complaints to the organisation, and that they are dealt with effectively.

If a Complaint Arises

Staff should try to resolve complaints quickly and politely at point of contact. If the complainant is not satisfied, the assistance of a more senior officer should be sought to try to resolve the situation. If this fails, the complaint should be referred to the Secretary of an tÚdarás, or in the case of a complaint against the Secretary to the Chief Executive, who will attempt to resolve the matter.

Accepting and Registering a Formal Complaint

If the complainant is still not satisfied, the formal complaints procedure should be implemented as follows :

1. Each formal complaint should be referred to the Secretary (or in the case of a complaint against the Secretary to the Chief Executive). The complainant should be requested to submit the complaint in writing. Particular consideration should be given to assisting complainants with disabilities or literacy difficulties in recording their complaints.

2. The Secretary/Chief Executive will register the complaint and acknowledge receipt in writing within five working days.

3. All complaints will be dealt with discreetly, subject to the need to investigate the facts involved.

4. The complainant should be assured in every case that the complaint is being taken seriously and that they are being treated properly, fairly and impartially.

Responding to a complaint

5. A written report on the subject of the complaint will be requested from the relevant staff member(s).

6. The Secretary/Chief Executive may also, if appropriate, request a report in relation to the complaint from the relevant Section Manager.

7. Where appropriate the Secretary/Chief Executive may discuss a complaint with relevant staff.

8.The Secretary/Chief Executive will issue a full response to a complainant no later than 28 days after receipt of a complaint, or within a reasonable longer period in a complicated case.

9. Where it is not possible to meet the target of 28 days, the Secretary/Chief Executive will issue interim letters at least every 28 days, updating the complainant on progress.

10. Where a complaint is upheld, an apology will be issued and the Secretary, with the approval of the Chief Executive, will have the power to offer an appropriate form of redress or remedy.

11. Management and relevant staff will be informed of the outcome of a complaint.

12. In a serious case, if the complainant remains of the view that the complaint has not been dealt with properly, an appeal may be made to the Chairperson of an tÚdarás.

Learning from Complaints

13. The Secretary/Chief Executive may propose, or invite suggestions for, strategies to improve service to the public.

14. If a particular area becomes a regular source of complaint, the Secretary/Chief Executive shall initiate a review of the operation of that area.

15. While formal complaints are being investigated the Secretary will prepare a report of such complaints received to present to a Senior Management Meeting each month.

16. Under our Client Charter we monitor our service commitments to ensure that best service is provided and we publish a statement in this regard in the Annual Report of Údarás na Gaeltachta. This Complaints Procedure will be taken into account in monitoring our service commitments.

17. The Code of Practice for Client Care and the Complaints Procedure will be publicised in Údarás na Gaeltachta information material.

Ombudsman for Children’s Office

If you are a child or young person under 18 or an adult who knows a child who you feel has been unfairly treated, or you are not satisfied with our decision on your complaint, it is open to you to contact the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. By law the Ombudsman for Children’s Office can investigate complaints about any of our administrative actions or procedures as well as delays or inaction in dealings with us. The Ombudsman for Children provides an impartial, independent and free complaints handling service.

Contact details are as follows:

Ombudsman for Children’s Office
52-56 Great Strand St
Dublin 1

Free Phone: 1800 20 20 40

Contact details

If you would like to make a complaint regarding any business with Údarás na Gaeltachta contact:

The Secretary,
Údarás na Gaeltachta,
Na Forbacha,
Co. na Gaillimhe.
Tel: 091/503100

Or if you are making a complaint about The Secretary contact:

The Chief Executive,
Údarás na Gaeltachta,
Na Forbacha,
Co. na Gaillimhe.
Tel: 091/503100