Garda chief asks rank and file how to improve force
A nationwide survey of gardai is being carried out to canvass their views on how the organisation can be improved in the wake of the recent spate of controversies.
The initiative has been launched by Interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan as part of her plan for senior management to listen and engage more with staff across the organisation.
This is the first time that a survey of this scale has been carried out among all staff, members of the force and civilians. They are being asked to respond anonymously to five key questions:
* What are the key strengths of the organisation;
* Outline the main issues and challenges that they feel need to be addressed;
* What improvement opportunities should be prioritised;
* What should be in place to implement those improvements;
* Do they want to provide any other feedback or insights.
Urging the staff to complete the questionnaire, which was distributed yesterday, Ms O'Sullivan told them their input could help shape the future direction of the organisation.
"I firmly believe that each of you has a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help improve our organisation. It is vital that your ideas and insights are heard," she said.
A senior officer said last night the responses would be used in the development of a blueprint to tackle the issues facing the organisation.
In a letter sent already to staff, she said it was important that people felt they could raise issues of concern of where they felt improvements could be made and that management should listen to them and support them.
"This will make An Garda Siochana a stronger and better organisation," she wrote.
"We need to demonstrate a stronger commitment to openness and transparency, strengthen our governance structures and further improve accountability."
She advised them to embrace criticism in a constructive way and use it as an opportunity to reflect on their practices.
"In doing this, we will develop more effective relationships and partnerships that will help us to improve the service we provide to the public and the State," she added.
She asked the staff to pledge to improve the image of the organisation, live up to their values and clearly demonstrate their professionalism, dedication and commitment.
The survey will be followed in the coming months by visits by Commissioner O'Sullivan and her management team to districts and divisions throughout the State to listen at first hand to the issues and concerns being highlighted.
The process is being implemented as gardai await decisions by the Government on how an independent policing authority should be set up and its terms of reference.
A firm date for an intake of recruits to join the garda college in Templemore, Co Tipperary – likely to be in July – is also awaited.