Interim Customer Charter* (updated 2018)

Introduction

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) is the national independent authority in Ireland with responsibility for upholding the fundamental right of the individual to have their personal data protected. The statutory powers, duties and functions of the DPC are as established under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018. The DPC is a “Supervisory Authority” under the EU data protection legal framework which applies across the EU from 25th May 2018. The new framework comprises the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and a Directive (2016/680) concerning personal data processing in a law enforcement context (Law Enforcement Directive).

Further information is available on our website www.dataprotection.ie or by contacting our Office by phone 076104800 or LoCall 1890 252 231.

Purpose of this charter

This charter sets out the standard of service we aim to provide for you, our customer. As a customer, you may be either a data subject (i.e. an individual) or a data controller (an organisation that collects and controls personal data) or a data processor (an organisation carrying out a task involving the use of personal data, on behalf of a data controller) or a representative of one of these.

As an organisation, we measure and evaluate our performance against these standards and we report on these each year in our Annual Report. We aim for a relationship with our customers that is characterised by courtesy, efficient and effective service delivery and the minimum of delay.

Engaging with us

The most effective way to contact the DPC regarding queries or complaints is by means of the webforms which are available on the DPC’s website: www.dataprotection.ie.

If you have a query, concern or complaint regarding a data protection matter, you can engage with the DPC in the following ways:

  • By webform on our website,
  • By email,
  • By telephone to our Helpdesk, or
  • By post.

Contact by webform, email or letter

As outlined above, the best way to engage with the DPC is by means of the webforms available on the DPC website. Completing these webforms is intended to assist you in presenting your query or complaint in a structured way and assists our team in quickly understanding the nature of your query or complaint. Engaging with the DPC by means of the webforms allow us to manage queries, complaints and correspondence as efficiently as possible, and ensures that our resources are dedicated to examining complaints and investigations.

For queries received by webform, email or letter–

  • We will acknowledge correspondence (queries) within 3 working days,
  • We will keep you informed of progress if a final reply is not issued within 15 working days,
  • We will communicate clearly, providing you with a full response to your queries in so far as is possible.

Contact by Telephone

The DPC provides a telephone information service which is open from 9.15am - 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9.15am to 5.15pm on Fridays.

Please note that the purpose of the telephone information service is to guide and direct you towards information that may be relevant to your query or concern. If your query raises more complex issues, the Information Unit team will ask you to submit your query by webform or email to ensure that a considered answer is supplied.

It is important to note that information provided by the DPC’s Information Service does not purport to represent legal advice or to be a formal sanction or endorsement of the activities of any parties.

We will endeavour to answer calls as quickly as possible, and aim to answer 80% of telephone calls within 20 seconds during our telephone information service opening hours (Monday to Friday, 09.15hrs - 5.30pm (5.15pm on Friday).

When voicemail is in use, we will ensure that customers leaving messages receive a call back within three working days at the very latest.

We will give you our name once your call has been put through to the appropriate person and we will be courteous and helpful to you at all times.

Where your query relates to an ongoing complaint, you will be transferred to the case officer responsible. If unavailable, a message will be taken and the case officer will respond to your query after a review of the file within 3 working days.

Timelines in relation to complaints under the Data Protection legislation

The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the process by which the DPC handles complaints.

We will acknowledge all new complaints within three days, keep you advised of progress on your case, and inform you as promptly and clearly as possible of the outcome of the examination. Under the 2018 Data Protection Act the DPC will seek to achieve an amicable resolution of the complaint between the data subject and the data controller / processor. If a complaint cannot be amicably resolved then the complaint will proceed to the complaint-handling stage.

All complaints will be handled in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The data controller, as well as the complainant, will be kept up to date as to the status of the complaint. Depending on the nature and complexity of the complaint, it can take a number of months for a complaint to be concluded.

Service through Irish

We will ensure that people who wish to conduct their business through Irish are facilitated, and we will respond in Irish to correspondence received in Irish.

We will respond in Irish, to telephone callers who wish to speak in Irish, immediately where possible, or offer to have the call returned promptly by a member of staff who can deal with the query in Irish.

We will publish major documents such as our Annual Report in both Irish and English, the Irish language version of our website will be maintained to ensure that it is an up-to-date, accurate and useful resource, we will develop the capacities of our staff to provide services through Irish and we will otherwise comply with the commitments set out in our Irish Language Scheme as agreed with the Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. This agreement is effective from 1st November 2017 for a period of three years.

Provision of Information

We will provide comprehensive, definitive and clear information regarding data protection matters, using language and media which is suitable for our customers' needs (subject to resource constraints).

We will ensure that our more important public information material is available in both electronic and print format.

Coordination of public service delivery

We will ensure a high level of co-ordination with relevant bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), the Information Commissioner, the Regulator of Premium Rate Services (Regtel) and the National Consumer Agency as a central element of service delivery. Our international mutual assistance obligations mean that Data Protection Authorities in other jurisdictions, as well as the EU Commission for instance, are also our customers and we will continue to meet our responsibilities in this area through effective liaison with these bodies.

Equality / Diversity/Disability

We are committed to providing a service to customers that upholds their rights to equal treatment established by equality and disability legislation.

We will aim to ensure that our services and facilities are accessible to all our customers, including those with special needs.

Quality of Service

We are committed to providing the best possible service for our customers. We welcome your help in providing this service by making any comments, suggestions or complaints about the service you receive, or the way in which it is delivered.

A complaint should be made in the first instance to the supervisor at the point of service, and we will do our best to resolve these complaints to your satisfaction.

Consultation and Feedback

We welcome your comments and suggestions on this Charter and on how we can improve our service in the future. You can email these comments to us at info@dataprotection.ie , or contact us by telephone.

Help Us to Help You

You can help us to give you a high quality service if you:

  • Complete the online webforms to assist us with your query,
  • Quote any relevant reference number in all communications with us,
  • Check our website www.dataprotection.ie for information,
  • Treat our staff courteously, as you would wish to be treated yourself,
  • Make comments or suggestions about the service you receive.

Customer Service Complaints

We wish to maintain an accessible, transparent and easy-to-use system of dealing with complaints about the quality of service provided by the Data Protection Commission. We welcome customers' views, received both formally and informally, and their advice on how we can improve our services. Customers are welcome to make their views known. We will try to address customer concerns at the point of service if at all possible. If you wish to make a formal written complaint, please address it to:

customerservicecomplaints@dataprotection.ie

or

Customer Service Complaints,

Data Protection Commission,

21 Fitzwilliam Square,

Dublin 2,

D02 RD28

We will acknowledge your written complaint within 3 working days. We will respond, or give an interim response, to formal complaints within 15 working days.

* This Interim Customer Charter is in the process of being updated in the context of the coming into force of the General Data Protection Regulation.