A survey costing €70,000 is set to be commissioned by the Department of the Taoiseach to look into public satisfaction with public-service departments.

Five of these surveys have been carried out over the past 12 years, with the most recent being conducted a year ago.

The survey will involve face-to-face interviews with a minimum of 2,000 people on a range of issues. These include questions about satisfaction with the attitudes of staff in public-service offices and how long they have to wait for a response to a letter or email.

The face-to face-approach is understood to be beneficial for "probing", according to last year's study.

The survey sample will be geographically, gender and age representative, and will be stand-alone.

Last year's assessment found that 35% of those who got in touch with civil service offices were dissatisfied with some aspect of a government department over the previous 12 months.

This year's questionnaire is due to start in September and finish in November. A pilot test will be carried out first, however.

A government spokesman said: "The most recent survey, in 2008, delved into reasons for customer dis­satisfaction so as to better inform the public-service transformation agenda. The findings of this survey highlighted the need to make customer interaction simpler, faster and more direct."

One of the most recent government-funded surveys carried out was the controversial 'Growing up in Ireland' research, which was criticised as a waste of public funds.

The study involved interviews with thousands of nine- year-old children on their lifestyles.

It found that most boys want to grow up to be sportsmen and most girls want to be school teachers, that only one-third of children exercise enough, and that 26% of children are overweight or obese.

This latest appraisal of public satisfaction with various different governmental departments comes at a time of political upheaval for Fianna Fáil.