Minister Donohoe publishes results of the 2019 Survey of Civil Service Customer Satisfaction

27th November, 2019

Highest Levels of Satisfaction – Lowest Levels of Dissatisfaction

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD and the Secretary General for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, today published the results of the 2019 Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Survey, commissioned by their department.

This is the eighth survey (since 1997) that has been carried out among the Irish public to determine satisfaction levels with services received from civil service departments and major offices. The survey also captures general perceptions of, and attitudes to, the civil service. The overall satisfaction levels for service delivery and outcome are the highest recorded to date:

  • 85% of customers were satisfied with both the service received (up from 83% in 2017 and 76% in 2015) and the outcome of their most recent contact with the civil service (up from 82% in 2017 and 76% in 2015);
  • 89% indicated that service levels are mostly meeting or exceeding expectations (up from 87% in 2017 and 83% in 2015);
  • Dissatisfaction is at its lowest level since 2009. Dropping from 39% in 2009 to 20% in 2019;
  • The public’s perceptions of civil service efficiency, trust, independence and equality have all improved since 2017;
  • Confidence that any personal data supplied to the civil service would be securely managed has improved (up 9 points to 68% since the 2017 survey). As GDPR was introduced in 2018, an increase in this score is particularly positive.

Commenting on the results, Minister Donohoe said, “I am delighted to welcome this latest set of survey results. The results show a very positive trend in terms of overall customer satisfaction the Civil Service. The 2019 findings record the highest levels of satisfaction to date and dissatisfaction with the civil service has fallen to its lowest level.”

‘Earlier this year I launched the Fourth Progress Report on the Civil Service Renewal Plan to drive progress for a more unified, professional, responsive, and accountable civil service. That programme of change has been successful and the latest survey results are a positive indicator that this plan is working.’

“Civil servants should be rightly proud of achieving an overall level of satisfaction of 85%, from the Irish public, with an even higher satisfaction rate – at 87% – in terms of both the knowledge and helpfulness of staff. Such levels of satisfaction reflect the high commitment of our civil servants to the delivery of quality services for the Irish public.”

“We need to maintain this momentum however, build on progress, strive to adapt to the evolving needs and expectations of the Irish public – and ensure that the customer is at the heart of everything we do.” 

Secretary General Watt said, ‘The survey results are very gratifying – and a testament to the dedication of civil servants to serving the public.’

“Fostering a culture of continuous improvement is key in any organisation. While I recognise that it will be challenging to maintain such high levels of recorded satisfaction – we will strive to do so. We will also seek to understand the causes of dissatisfaction in order to identify where improvements can be made.”  

“Programmes and strategies over recent years have transformed how the civil service conducts its business. Development and innovation are key. The results of this survey are tangible evidence that there is a lot to be proud of”.


Notes to Editors

The survey was carried out to meet commitments which have been expressly included in recent reform plans:-

The 2019 Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Survey was undertaken by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Reform Evaluation Unit, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, following an open tendering process.

The fieldwork was carried out in Q2 2019 with 2,019 face-to-face interviews conducted nationwide. Quotas were applied to ensure the sample was representative of age, gender, region and social class. This is the eight such survey which allows for benchmarking against previous results.

The survey examined 4 main areas:

  • The level of interaction that the general public has with the civil service;
  • Levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the service provided;
  • Methods of interaction/ openness to online services;
  • General perceptions of the civil service.

[Note: The question relating to ‘Dissatisfaction’ was first included in 2009.]

The full results of the survey can be viewed here: Civil Service Public Customer Surveys.

As with previous surveys (2015; 2017), it is intended to publish the 2019 survey datasets on the Open Data Portal ( This follows on from the Government’s commitment to promote innovation and transparency through the publication of Irish public sector data in open, free and reusable formats.

The 2019 Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Survey complements the Civil Service Business Customer Survey 2018 which was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in March 2018 (

This was a survey of 510 business conducted by telephone by Perceptive Insight – a market research firm based in Belfast which was selected following an open tender process.

That survey found that 78% of businesses were satisfied with the service they received during their last transaction and 82% were satisfied with the outcome of this interaction.