The Customer Charter Initiative was launched in December 2002. A Customer Charter is a short statement describing the level of service a customer can expect from a Government Department or Office. Under the initiative, each Government Department and Office is required to produce a Customer Charter and to report on performance against the service standards it sets out in their Annual Report.

Customer Charters are based around a continuous four-step cycle of:

  •   Consultation with customers and stakeholders
  •   Commitment to service standards
  •   Evaluation of performance against these standards and
  •   Reporting on results.

Charters must be easily accessible to customers and should be displayed prominently in all public offices.

Customer Charters are also an important element of the commitments under the Civil Service modernisation chapter of the Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016. Charters have an important role to play in assisting in the measurement of performance at organisational level and in facilitating business planning, resource allocation and the provision and delivery of Quality Customer Services. In preparing the Charters and reporting on performance against service standards, civil service organisations can also demonstrate their capacity to meet the growing needs and expectations of customers.

Guidelines for the Preparation of Customer Charters and Customer Action Plans were revised in 2012 to help organisations prepare / update their Customer Charters and Customer Action Plans