REFORM - FROM CUSTOMER TO CITIZEN.

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The Public Service Reform Plan 2014 lists 'a Focus on Service Users' as the first of three Better Outcomes which the Plan seeks to bring about. Under that heading it speaks of 'Improving Customer Experience' and 'Designing Customer Services' and refers to 'Service Design training workshops for public servants.' Ireland's National Action Plan 2014-2016, submitted to the Open  Government Partnership speaks of 'Fostering citizen participation/more active citizenship' and lists 'Customer engagement' among the actions to be taken. This is to be done by various means - 'customer' service training, review of 'customer' charters and surveys of 'customers.'

Customers have options and every supplier has the right not to supply what this or that customer wants and the customer is free to go elsewhere. Citizens have rights and the state has a duty to serve the citizen. If those who are served have no say in how that service is provided, they will resent those who claim to 'serve' them. In spite of all the genuine reforms which have taken place in public administration in Ireland in recent years public anger continues to grow. People are angry because they have no say in the design and delivery of public services; they are not customers to by humoured but citizens to be respectfully engaged.