The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) is the regulatory body with responsibility for overseeing the delivery of effective planning services to the public and reporting on findings to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and to the Oireachtas. The purpose of this Charter is to communicate our customer commitments and the standards we have in place to help achieve these commitments.
The OPR has three main functions:
i. Independent assessment of all statutory forward planning, including development plans, local area plans and regional spatial and economic strategies;
ii. Examination of the systems and procedures used by any planning authority, including An Bord Pleanála, in the performance of any of their planning functions; and
iii. Driving national research, training, education and public information programmes.
The OPR’s Strategy Statement 2019-2024, sets out our Purpose our Vision for the organisation and the Values that underpin their achievement.
2. Our Purpose
Our purpose is to oversee the continuous enhancement of Ireland’s planning process and its outcomes by driving the co-ordination of planning policy implementation across national, regional and local levels, building a stronger knowledge base and ensuring regular reviews of the performance of planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála.
3. Our Vision
Our vision is that Ireland benefits from a well-coordinated planning hierarchy and that a wide-ranging, effective and well received programme of education, training and research on planning matters has been put into effect by the OPR and that a culture of continuous improvement will be created in planning authorities driven by regular reviews of their performance.
4. Our Values
Our values are:
- Customer Focus
5. Our Customer Commitments
The OPR is committed to delivering fair, effective, courteous and timely services to all its customers in line with the Government’s twelve ‘Guiding Principles for Quality Customer Service.’
We will deal with customers without discrimination or prejudice respecting equality and human rights in accordance with Public Sector Duty principles and equality legislation. We will accommodate diversity in providing services to our customers.
The OPR will be responsive to customer requirements and proactive in identifying where we can make improvements to our service.
6. Our Service Standards
The OPR is committed to delivering fair, effective, courteous and timely services to all our customers. The standards of service that customers are entitled to expect from us are set out below:
6.1 Letter / email correspondence from the public
From the date of receipt of written / email correspondence, the OPR aims to:
- acknowledge the correspondence within five working days;
- issue a full reply within twenty-one working days. Where a full reply cannot be provided within twenty-one working days, because of, for example, the complexity of the matter, we will write to you to explain why and to indicate when you can expect a full reply;
- provide appropriate contact details, including name of the official dealing with your correspondence, telephone number and an email address;
- use automated email responses, with alternative contact details, when out of the office;
- reply to your correspondence in clear plain language, free, wherever possible, from jargon and technical terms.
6.2 Telephone contact from the public
Currently, the OPR can be contacted by telephone between 9:00am – 1:00pm and again between 2:00pm – 4:00pm (while an immediate answer cannot be guaranteed, enquiries may also be answered outside of these core hours). In responding to telephone enquiries the OPR will:
- answer the telephone promptly and politely, giving the name of the official answering;
- where possible, answer your query straight away – if this is not possible we will take your details and inform you when to expect to hear from us again.
- If it is necessary to transfer your call, we will advise you of the reason for the transfer and will identify the business-area and / or official to whom you are being transferred. It is our intention to keep the transferring of calls to a minimum.
6.3 Visitors to the Office
The OPR does not operate a public walk-in office or counter service, however, where customers require a face-to-face meeting, such meetings may be arranged by appointment and at the discretion of the OPR. If you are meeting us for a face-to-face meeting by appointment the OPR will:
- meet you at an agreed time;
- treat you with courtesy, respect and impartiality;
- ensure that an appropriate level of privacy is provided;
- keep our public meeting spaces clean and tidy, ensuring that they meet health and safety standards.
6.4 Service through Irish
The OPR will take all reasonable steps to assist people who wish to carry out their business with us through Irish as follows:
- correspondence received in Irish will be answered in Irish;
- key documents will be published in both Irish and English;
- an Irish version of our website will mirror, as far as practicable, the main version.
6.5 Equality and Diversity
The OPR is committed to dealing with customers without discrimination or prejudice respecting equality and human rights in accordance with Public Sector Duty principles and equality legislation. The OPR will accommodate diversity in providing services to our customers.
Where face-to-face meetings, by appointment, are required, the OPR will ensure ease of access for people with disabilities or specific needs. The contact email for the OPR’s Access Officer under the Disability Act is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OPR fully respects your right to privacy. Any of your personal data which is held by the OPR will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, in accordance with Data Protection Legislation.
7. Customer Service Complaints
The OPR is committed to dealing with all complaints promptly, fairly and impartially. The OPR is committed to the provision of a quality service and you have a right to complain if the service you receive from us does not meet the standards set out in this charter. If we get something wrong, we will apologise and, where possible, we will try to put things right. We also aim to learn from any mistakes and use the information we gain to improve our service.
If you are not satisfied with the service provided to you by the OPR you may direct a formal complaint to the Quality Customer Service Officer via QCS@opr.ie, who will consider the matter, or you may send a letter or email to the OPR using the heading ‘Customer Service Complaint’.
The OPR will acknowledge written or emailed complaints within five working days of receipt and will endeavour to deal with customer service complaints within twenty-one working days of receipt; if further enquiries are necessary we will let you know and complete the process within a reasonable timeframe.
If you are not satisfied with the Quality Customer Service Officer’s consideration of your complaint you may request that the OPR review the decision. An internal review involves a complete reconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of staff, who may uphold or change the original decision made.
We guarantee that your complaint will not affect how we treat you in the future.
8. Help us to help you
As our customer, you also have an important role to play in helping us offer you the best service. By doing the following, you can greatly assist us to provide the optimum service to you:
- provide accurate information – to assist swift the progression of the OPR’s consideration of any matter, copies of all relevant documents should be provided to the OPR;
- where available, quote appropriate reference numbers in all correspondence;
- provide contact details, including a daytime telephone number or email address;
- provide feedback – the OPR is committed to consulting with our customers and to evaluating our services all comments or suggestions regarding the service you receive will be considered;
- cooperate with OPR officials and treat officials with the same courtesy you would expect to receive. It is not acceptable in any circumstances to harass officials or use aggressive, abusive, racist or threatening language in written or other forms. Any behaviour that is disruptive to the delivery of quality customer service may result in the permanent termination of contact.
We welcome your comments, suggestions and views on any aspect of our service.
Telephone: +353 (0)1 553 0270
Written: Office of the Planning Regulator, Block C, 77 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, D02 VK60.
Customer Service Action Plan
The OPR has also published a Customer Service Action Plan which sets out the steps that we will take to deliver on the commitments and standards set out in the Customer Charter.