Compensation Agency, Northern Ireland
Office: Applicants' Opinion Survey
The Survey has its origins in the Compensation
Agency, Northern Ireland's Framework Document which has as one
of its objectives:
"To achieve continual improvement in the
standard of service provided to applicants and conform to the
principles of the Citizen's Charter."
The associated Key Performance Indicator is:
"Reponses by applicants and legal representatives
to regular applicants' opinion surveys. The extent to which continuing
reductions are achieved in the time taken to decide claims, against
the backcloth of the goals set out in the Agency's Charter Standard
This is translated into a Key Performance Target
in the current Business Plan as:
"To achieve an improvement in the level
of satisfaction with the Agency's service as evidenced by a further
survey, to be conducted by December 1999, of a representative
sample of applicants and their legal advisers."
The surveys are carried out on a two-year cycle,
the last having been conducted in 1997-98. In order to maintain
independence, they are handled by the Department's Statistics
Branch and conducted by a private survey company under contract
to the Northern Ireland Office. The company sends out personalised
letters of introduction to approximately 3,300 randomly selected
applicants and solicitors, inviting them to take part on a confidential
basis. Each of the selected applicants and solicitors then receive
a questionnaire and pre-paid return envelope. After a cut-off
date, 65 applicants and 55 solicitors who returned questionnaires
are randomly selected by the company for an in-depth interview.
It is from the postal returns and the interviews that the company
prepares its report.
Upon receipt of the report, the Agency looks
at the levels of satisfaction in respect to:
(i) The Information Guides produced by the
(ii) Personal contact with the Agency.
(iii) How any complaint was handled.
(v) Speed, clarity and information provided
in any reply.
(vi) Ease of completion of claim forms.
(vii) Overall Quality of Service/Areas of
(viii) Suggestions about Improvement to the
Quality of Service.
From analysis of the information available,
measures are put into the next Business Plan to address any shortcomings.
For example, there is normally a full section in the Business
Plan on Quality of Service with clearly defined targets formed
in keeping with the principles of Service Firstthe new
Charter programme. And another on Training and Development of
staff aimed at ensuring that the Agency has a properly trained
and highly motivated workforce capable of consistently providing
a high quality service. All very much focused on continuous improvement.