At a ceremony held in Bantry in October, West Cork Citizens Information Service was awarded an EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Gold Star Service Excellence Award.
The award is formal recognition of the high standards of customer service present across the Citizens Information Service in West Cork and also acknowledges the huge commitment and dedication of the staff and volunteers working with the service. In fact the validation report on the service commented in particular on the ’tangible sense of customer service present in the organisation’.
The Gold Star awards ceremony was well attended by the staff and volunteers who deliver the service in West Cork. When presenting the award, Rose Morris from the Citizens Information Board commented in particular on the way that West Cork Citizens Information Service has developed over the past 10 years to become ‘a high quality service whom the people of the area can contact for accurate independent information, advice and assistance in a confidential setting’.
Accepting the award on behalf of the service, Anne O’Donovan, Development Manager, thanked all of the staff and volunteers for their on-going hard work and commitment to meeting the information needs of the Community. She said that it had been a team effort and that it was with great pride in the organisation and the people working with it that she accepted the award.
In recent years, West Cork Citizens Information has expanded its work to include a representational advocacy to people who feel they have been denied their rights and entitlements. This has resulted in the service supporting and representing clients at Social Welfare Appeals and Employment Appeals Tribunals, as well as assisting clients to prepare their cases and negotiating with officials on their behalf. Those who have used the service comment that without the professional support of the Citizens Information staff they would have not felt able to appeal their case or access their entitlements.
West Cork Citizens Information Service has offices in Bantry and Macroom, and holds weekly Outreach Clinics in Bandon and Dunmanway. In addition, it brings its Mobile Information Unit to other locations around West Cork in May and October each year.
Volunteers are a key part of the service delivery and they work along with a small number of paid staff to deliver the service. All staff, (paid and voluntary) receive extensive training to enable them to deliver the service and many people have volunteered with the service for a number of years. Existing volunteers cite the camaraderie of working within a team of like-minded people, the challenge of learning new information and the sense of carrying out a role which is of value to their community as the critical factors influencing their decision to work with the Citizens Information Service in West Cork.
At present both the Bantry and Macroom offices are seeking to recruit new volunteers to join their existing teams. Anybody who is interested should contact 0761 07 8390 for an application form and additional information.
West Cork Citizens Information Service provides an independent information, advice and advocacy service to the community on rights and entitlements. It is a free and confidential service, which is funded by the Citizens Information Board.