SEAI Customer Charter and Customer Action Plan

In developing the Customer Service Charter and Customer Action Plan, SEAI has given due regard to its organisational values and the Principles of Quality Customer Service for Customers and Clients of the Public Service, namely:

  1. Quality Service Standards
  2. Equality / Diversity
  3. Physical Access
  4. Information
  5. Timeliness and Courtesy
  6. Complaints
  7. Appeals
  8. Consultation and Evaluation
  9. Choice
  10. Official Languages Equality
  11. Better Co-ordination
  12. Internal Customer

Customer Charter

SEAI commits to

  • Deliver our services to all stakeholders in a timely, effective and professional manner, and in accordance with our values.
  • Conduct our business in a fair, open and transparent manner, with regard to your privacy and confidentiality.
  • Strive for excellence in the development and delivery of programmes and services through active consultation and continuous improvement.
  • Provide maximum possible access and choice in the delivery of our services, while endeavouring to accommodate particular language, diversity and physical access needs.
  • Provide accurate, authoritative and independent advice and information in a form that best suits your needs.
  • Resolve complaints and appeals in an efficient and effective manner.

Please email us on info@seai.ie with any comments or feedback on our Customer Charter.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland also has a SEAI Code of Governance to ensure that the Board members and staff of SEAI conduct themselves in accordance with agreed ethical principles which support the development of trust, confidence and teamwork in SEAI and promote a high-performance culture.

 

Feedback, Complaints and Appeals Policy

SEAI at all times seeks to deliver an efficient and effective service to its customers. We welcome all feedback, both good and bad, and we believe that our stakeholders have a right to complain if a reasonable level and quality of service is not provided, or to appeal if they are dissatisfied with an SEAI decision. We also aim to learn from our mistakes and use the information we gain from feedback, complaints and appeals to improve our services. All complaints and appeals will be dealt with in a fair and sympathetic manner and we will usually respond in the manner explained below.

Any person who receives, requests or is directly affected by the services of SEAI or who is involved in any of the grant programmes administered by SEAI is welcome to give feedback, make a complaint or an appeal (as appropriate) to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service.

We regard a complaint as a written expression of dissatisfaction about SEAI or any third-party acting on behalf of SEAI. 

What can I complain about under this Policy?

You can submit a complaint relating to standard of service, delays, mistakes and instances where you did not receive the level of service you feel you are entitled to, for example:

  • The quality and standard of any service provided by us or on our behalf, including interactions with SEAI personnel or representatives;
  • The quality of our facilities;
  • The quality and standards of administrative processes.

Your complaint may involve more than one of SEAI's services or be about someone working on our behalf.  Please note, where you have engaged a contractor to undertake SEAI grant-aided works on your property, the contractor does not act on SEAI’s behalf and, if you are dissatisfied, please raise this with your contractor.

How to submit a complaint

Your complaint can be submitted

By email:              complaints@seai.ie

By post:                SEAI, PO Box 119, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry

Please include your name and contact details together with as much information as possible, including the programme name and/or reference number that you have been provided with (and documentation if relevant) about the complaint.   This will enable us to investigate your promptly and respond to you as best we can.  If you are making a complaint on behalf of another person, please also submit their written agreement for you to represent them.

Stage 1: Review by SEAI Programme Manager

SEAI will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 working days of receipt.

The relevant Programme Manager (or equivalent SEAI staff member) will investigate your complaint and will reply to you within 15 working days of SEAI receiving it. The reply will include:

  • an account of the issue at hand;
  • details addressing the issues outlined in the complaint;
  • where appropriate, a proposed remedy; and
  • a notification of your right to escalate your complaint (see details below).

Stage 2: Requesting an escalation of your complaint

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Programme Manager, you can request an escalation of your complaint.  The review of your complaint will be carried out by the relevant Head of Department.

All requests for escalation of complaints must be submitted in writing to SEAI.

  • SEAI will acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review of your complaint within 5 working days of receipt.
  • The Head of Department will implement an internal review process and will review all relevant reports and examine the complaint. This will be an entirely new and fresh review of your complaint by a more senior staff member of SEAI than the original decision-maker. On completion of the Head of Department’s review, a response and proposed remedy, if appropriate, will be issued to you within 15 working days of receipt by SEAI.

Stage 3: Requesting a further escalation of your complaint

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Head of Department, you can request a further escalation of your complaint.  The review of your complaint will be carried out by the Head of Finance and Corporate Services.

All requests for escalation of complaints must be submitted in writing to SEAI.

SEAI will acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review of your complaint within 5 working days of receipt.

The Head of Finance and Corporate Services will implement an internal review process and will review all relevant reports and examine the complaint. This will be an entirely new and fresh review of your complaint by a more senior staff member of SEAI than the original decision-maker. On completion of the Head of Finance and Corporate Services’ review, a response and proposed remedy, if appropriate, will be issued to you within 20 working days of receipt by SEAI.

The Head of Finance and Corporate Services’ decision will constitute SEAI's final decision on the complaint.

Note: if it is not possible for the Programme Manager, the Head of Department or the Head of Finance and Corporate Services to respond within the timeframes outlined above, SEAI will contact you in advance of the original deadline and explain the reason for extending the deadline for reply. The maximum extension will be limited to 20 working days after the original deadline.

We regard an appeal as a request for review of a decision under any SEAI grant programme. 

What can I appeal under this Policy?

You can appeal a decision by SEAI with which you are dissatisfied in connection with a grant programme, for example:

  • If your grant application was rejected;
  • If costs you claimed for were deemed ineligible.

Contractors may appeal inspection results in accordance with the Guide to Inspections, which is considered as Stage 1 of this process.  An escalation of your appeal will be considered as Stage 2. 

How to submit an appeal:

Your appeal can be submitted by email to the contact details provided in SEAI correspondence or to complaints@seai.ie, or by post to SEAI, PO Box 119, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry.

Please include your name and contact details together with as much information as possible, including the programme name and/or reference number that you have been provided with (and documentation if relevant) about the appeal.   This will enable us to investigate your appeal promptly and respond to you as best we can.  If you are submitting an appeal on behalf of another person, please also submit their written agreement for you to represent them.

Stage 1: Review by SEAI Programme Manager

SEAI will acknowledge receipt of your appeal within 5 working days of receipt.

The relevant Programme Manager (or equivalent SEAI staff member) will investigate your appeal and will reply to you within 15 working days of SEAI receiving it. The reply will include:

  • an account of the issue at hand;
  • details addressing the issues outlined in the appeal;
  • where appropriate, a proposed remedy; and
  • a notification of your right to escalate your appeal (see details below).

Stage 2: Requesting an escalation of your appeal

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Programme Manager, you can request an escalation of your appeal.  The review of your appeal will be carried out by the relevant Head of Department.

All requests for escalation of appeals must be submitted in writing.

  • SEAI will acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review of your appeal within 5 working days of receipt.
  • The Head of Department will implement an internal review process and will review all relevant reports and examine the appeal. This will be an entirely new and fresh review of your appeal by a more senior staff member of SEAI than the original decision-maker. On completion of the Head of Department’s review, a response and proposed remedy, if appropriate, will be issued to you within 15 working days of receipt by SEAI.

Stage 3: Requesting a further escalation of your appeal

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Head of Department, you can request a further escalation of your appeal.  The review of your appeal will be carried out by the Head of Finance and Corporate Services.

All requests for escalation of appeals must be submitted in writing.

  • SEAI will acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review of your appeal within 5 working days of receipt.
  • The Head of Finance and Corporate Services will implement an internal review process and will review all relevant reports and examine the appeal. This will be an entirely new and fresh review of your appeal by a more senior staff member of SEAI than the original decision-maker. On completion of the Head of Finance and Corporate Services’ review, a response and proposed remedy, if appropriate, will be issued to you within 20 working days of receipt by SEAI.

The Head of Finance and Corporate Services’ decision will constitute SEAI's final decision on the appeal.

Note: if it is not possible for the Programme Manager, the Head of Department or the Head of Finance and Corporate Services to respond within the timeframes outlined above, SEAI will contact you in advance of the original deadline and explain the reason for extending the deadline for reply. The maximum extension will be limited to 20 working days after the original deadline.

What issues are not covered by this Policy?

Issues we can’t deal with under the Complaints and Appeals Policy include:

  • A routine first-time request for a service;
  • Criteria for eligibility for grants;
  • Matters which are the subject of litigation;
  • A request under Freedom of Information, Access to Information on the Environment or data protection legislation;
  • A request for information or an explanation of policy or practice;
  • Requests for compensation from SEAI;
  • An attempt to reopen a complaint or appeal previously concluded under this policy or to have a complaint or appeal reconsidered where we have already given our final decision following an investigation. If you are still not satisfied, you can ask the Office of the Ombudsman for an independent review of the complaint or appeal;
  • Actions of staff which are not related to their role in SEAI.

A complaint or an appeal will not be dealt with if it is considered to be trivial or frivolous. Should this be the case, SEAI will advise you of SEAI's views in respect of this and will not deal any further with the complaint or appeal.

If a complaint or appeal is considered to be vexatious SEAI may choose to limit or cease correspondence with you. This decision will require the authorisation of the Head of Finance and Corporate Services and will be recorded as part of the record of complaint or appeal.

Unreasonable, vexatious or abusive complainants, along with threats or abuse of staff will not be tolerated and, where appropriate, will be referred to An Garda Síochána.

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Your feedback, both positive and negative, is important to SEAI. We will listen to your feedback and work to resolve any issue you may have.  SEAI can be reached on complaints@seai.ie.

In order to deliver our services to all customers in a timely, effective and professional manner, and in accordance with our values we will:

Ensure that the Customer Action Plan is readily available to all stakeholders.

For customers who contact SEAI’s contact centre, we will ensure that we:

  • Answer their query promptly;
  • Log all details in a central database (CRM) capturing, name, address and description of query;
  • Are helpful and courteous;
  • Are available to answer calls during business hours;
  • Provide a variety of contact channels, including telephone, email, post and on-line chat as appropriate;
  • Ensure that all replies carry contact details;
  • Acknowledge receipt of all correspondence promptly;
  • Apply quality assurance checks via call calibration.

All customers who visit SEAI will be:

  • Logged on our visitor system;
  • Greeted by SEAI representative;
  • Treated promptly, efficiently, fairly and in a courteous manner.

SEAI is committed to respect for the environment in the delivery of all our services. We demonstrate this by:

  • Providing Video Conferencing facilities to reduce travel;
  • Working toward paperless working practises;
  • Adhering to sustainability values.

As we conduct our business in a fair, open and transparent manner, with regard to your privacy and confidentiality we will:

Endeavour to ensure full access to information about our services while complying with the Freedom of Information Act 2014, Access to Information on the Environment Regulations, GDPR and Data Protection Acts 1988-2018;

  • Clearly identify respondents’ contact details on all correspondence;
  • Ensure openness, fairness and transparency is central to all our funding and procurement decisions;
  • Ensure all documentation is user friendly with clear and appropriate language;
  • Handle all queries in accordance with our obligations under Data Protection law;
  • Handle stakeholder information and meetings with due regard to privacy, confidentiality and sensitivity;
  • Identify the number of funded projects in the SEAI annual report.

In striving for excellence in the development and delivery of programmes and services through active consultation and continuous improvement we will:

  • Consult with our stakeholders on the development of new programmes or refinement of existing programmes and services through events;
  • Hear and respond to the Voice of Customer, research grant recipients and event attendees;
  • Endeavour to enhance and continuously improve our service;
  • Adhere to compliance and quality standards;
  • Seek feedback via our website regarding the level of customer satisfaction.

In our commitment to provide maximum possible access and choice in the delivery of our services, while endeavouring to accommodate particular language, diversity and physical access needs we will:

  • Continue to make it easier and more convenient to do business with us;
  • Provide an appropriate variety of communication channels;
  • Ensure that we make the optimum use of available and emerging technologies to facilitate improved access to information through innovation and digitalisation;
  • Comply with the Official Languages Act 2003- Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003;
  • Ensure that all publications are available online;
  • Continue to ensure our web site is accessible to the visually impaired;
  • Ensure that offices comply with occupational and safety standards;
  • Accommodate the diverse needs of our stakeholders in an appropriate manner;
  • Recognise and respect all stakeholders equally with regard to service delivery.

To ensure that we provide accurate, authoritative and independent advice and information in a form that best suits your needs we will:

  • Fulfil our role as an advisory body to Government and stakeholders;
  • Employ professional experts to provide accurate and authoritative information. They will be responsible for gathering and analysing statistics, conducting appropriate research and provide consultative services. As a non-commercial state authority, we will remain independent in all dealings with clients.

Resolving all complaints in an efficient and effective manner

  • Formalise a complaints and appeals procedure indicating how we will deal with complaints;
  • Publicise this complaints procedure on our website. Copies can be sent via post or email;
  • Continue to assess our complaints procedure on an annual basis. This will include a review of
    • Number of complaints received; and
    • Pattern of repeat complaints.

Consultation:

Endeavour to satisfy stakeholder’s information requirements by actively seeking views and suggestions, through market research, regular consultation, surveys and supplying an accessible feedback mechanism for customers.

Evaluation:

In order to measure our success in achieving the above we will:

  • Perform a regular review of the plan;
  • Seek feedback from stakeholders and customers on the quality of our service;
  • Seek feedback through all available channels regarding our programmes and services;
  • Review and assess feedback and act accordingly;
  • Investigate appropriate externally recognised standards and seek to attain such standards.

Reporting:

We will report on our performance on our website www.seai.ie.

Review:

The Customer Action Plan will be reviewed every three years.

SEAI Contact details

Any complaints and requests for appeals should be made in writing and addressed to:

Complaints,
SEAI,
PO Box 119,
Cahirciveen,
Co. Kerry

Email: complaints@seai.ie

Option to Refer your Complaint or Appeal to the Ombudsman or Ombudsman for Children

If, after receiving the reply to your complaint or appeal from the Chief Operations Officer, you are still dissatisfied and feel that SEAI has treated you unfairly, you may refer your complaint or appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman. By law, the Ombudsman can investigate complaints about any of SEAI’s administrative actions or procedures as well as delays or inaction in your dealings with us. The Ombudsman provides an impartial, independent and free review service.

Contact details are as follows:
Office of the Ombudsman
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2

Tel: Lo-call 1890 22 30 30
Tel: 01 639 5600
Fax: 01 639 5674
Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie
Website: www.ombudsman.ie

Ombudsman for Children's Office

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

Contact details are as follows:
Ombudsman for Children's Office
52-56 Great Strand Street
Dublin 1

Free Phone: 1800 20 20 40
Email: ococomplaint@oco.ie
Website: www.oco.ie

Contact us

If you have any questions about our Customer Charter, contact us on 01 808 2100 or by email at complaints@seai.ie. Please include the words Customer Services in the subject heading.