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Customer charter

This Charter sets out the standards we aim to provide to people who contact us.

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is committed to providing all our customers with high standards of service in accordance with the Ombudsman’s Principles of Good Administration and the principles of Quality Customer Service approved by the Government.

Our Role

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) was established in 2004 under primary legislation, the Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002. The OCO has an overall statutory mandate to promote and monitor the rights and welfare of children up to the age of 18 living in Ireland. The Ombudsman for Children has statutory independence in fulfilling this mandate and is directly accountable to the Oireachtas.

The OCO’s functions encompass the traditional role of an Ombudsman to protect the rights of individuals or groups by independently and impartially investigating complaints made about public bodies. Specifically, the OCO can investigate complaints made by or on behalf of children in relation to the administrative actions of public bodies providing services to or making decisions about children and families as well as organisations providing services on behalf of the State.

The OCO also has a mandate to promote the rights and welfare of children under section 7 of the Ombudsman for Children Act.

Our Commitments

What you can expect from OCO:

  • We are committed to a high quality service;
  • We will treat you politely and professionally;
  • We will treat you with dignity and respect.

Contact by telephone:

If you can contact us by phone we will

  • Answer your call as promptly as possible;
  • Give our name when we answer your call;
  • Respond to voice messages as soon as possible;
  • Be courteous and professional at all times;
  • Answer your query and if we cannot do so immediately we will take your details and call you back as soon as possible;
  • You can telephone us Monday to Friday on 01 865 6800 during office hours or if it relates to a complaint, please call our Complaints Freephone line 1800 20 20 40 between 9.15am and 4pm.

Written communication:

Letters, faxes or emails will

  • Be replied to, as soon as practicable;
  • Include a contact name and details when replying;
  • Use simple and clear language, avoid legal jargon/technical terms unless absolutely necessary.

Visitors to the Office:

If you visit us in person we will

  • Treat you with courtesy and respect;
  • Meet you at the agreed time if you have an appointment;
  • Try to facilitate a meeting, if appropriate staff are available, should you arrive without an appointment;
  • Provide appropriate facilities for meetings;
  • Keep our public offices clean and tidy, ensuring that they meet health and safety standards.

Service through Irish

  • We will make every effort to accommodate those who wish to conduct their business with us
    through Irish;
  • Correspondence received in Irish will be answered in Irish;
  • Publish simultaneously in Irish and English key documents such as our Strategy statements and
    Annual reports;
  • Meet our commitments under the Official Languages Act 2003.

Equality/Diversity

  • We are committed to providing a service to our customers that upholds their rights to equal treatment established by equality legislation;
  • We will aim to ensure that our services and facilities are accessible to everyone including those
    with special needs.

Complaints about the actions of Public Bodies submitted to the Complaints and Investigations team:

In addition to the above commitments, if you make a complaint to the OCO we will try to:

  • Acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days;
  • Process it as quickly as possible, bearing in mind that some complaints can involve several
    complex issues;
  • Where examination or investigation is carried out we will keep you advised of progress on your
    case;
  • Inform you as promptly as possible and as clearly as possible of the outcome of the examination.

What we expect from complainants:

  • Please state your complaint as clearly and concisely as you can;
  • Please provide copies of key supporting documents when submitting your complaint;
  • We commit to dealing with users of our service professionally and with respect in line with our
    customer standards. We also expect you to treat our staff and the service we provide with
    respect. Our Unreasonable Actions Policy explains how we manage unacceptable actions against
    our staff and our process.

If you are unhappy with a decision by the Complaints and Investigation team:

  • If you are unhappy with a decision made by the Office, you can submit an appeal. The Office’s
    policy for the handling of appeals on the outcome of complaints to the OCO is set out in
    Publications/OCO policies and strategies. OCO Appeals Policy and Procedure

If you are unhappy with our service:

  • If you are unhappy with the quality of the services or their delivery, you should raise this with the person you are dealing with at the Office.
  • If you are not satisfied with the response you receive and wish to make a formal written
    complaint you can write to the Director: Ombudsman for Children’s Office, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1.  For further information on this process see: Complaints About Our Service
  • We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days and try to provide a full reply within
    10 working days.

Consultation and Feedback:

  • We are committed to providing the best service we can and welcome your comments and
    suggestions on this charter and how we can improve service in the future.
  • If you would like to make a comment or suggestion please write to the Director or email oco@oco.ie with Feedback included in the subject title.

Where to get more information:

Further information regarding our services, policies, publications and contact information is available on this website.

Where to find us:

Our full contact details are available on the Contact us webpage.