28/02/2006

Reception held for Charter Mark holders

The 'customer-first' approach of 25 local Charter Mark achieving organisations has been celebrated at a reception in Parliament Buildings.

NIO Minister of State Jeff Rooker hosted the event organised to celebrate their success. A UK-wide, public sector initiative, Charter Mark recipients must demonstrate that they are committed to improving services through flexibility, innovation and listening to their customers.

Mr Rooker said: “You are all here this evening because you have proved that you are providing an excellent service to meet the needs of your customers. In doing so, you are helping to achieve the government’s strategy to redesign public services around people’s needs.

“Every citizen has a right to expect high standards in all our public services. Charter Mark provides a tool to deliver those high standards.”

He pointed out that in Northern Ireland almost ten thousand employees are currently working in public service organisations which have achieved Charter Mark, adding: “This must make a difference to levels of satisfaction with the delivery of our public services.”

He went on to thank the successful organisations for their dedication and hard work in improving the service to their customers. “Your achievement of Charter Mark would not have happened without high quality leadership and outstanding staff dedicated to delivering a quality service. You are leading the way in the public sector and providing best practice examples for others to follow”.

Almost twice as many organisations attained Charter Mark in 2005 as in the previous year including Down Lisburn Health & Social Services Trust – the first entire Trust in Northern Ireland to do so.

St Mary’s College, Creggan, became the first school in the UK to gain a fifth Charter Mark.

Charter Mark is administered by the Cabinet Office and promoted in Northern Ireland by the Public Service Delivery Improvement Team of the Department of Finance and Personnel.

The scheme is both a national standard of customer service and a quality improvement tool to assist organisations in service delivery to users.

Organisations hold the standard for three years, with yearly visits from the assessment bodies to ensure consistency of high service standard delivery.

(SP/GB)

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