Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (896)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1018 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the progress being made on the creation of the public service broker; and the situation with regard to the Reach programme. [1683/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Family)

The public service broker is a key element in the Government's plans to streamline and modernise public service delivery. It will offer agencies a reliable way to share data electronically and provide a single point of access to public services for citizens and businesses. Initially these services will be available to those with domestic and business access to the Internet. However, the intention is to make the services available as soon as possible thereafter to the widest possible number of customers by means of the telephone and the network of public service local offices.

The range of services is expected to grow quickly with the objective of having as many transactions as possible across the public service on-line i.e. without having to complete paper-based application forms. This will facilitate quicker transaction times, more timely delivery of services and the review of procedures to the benefit of both the public service customer and provider.

Reach, the agency established to develop integrated public service delivery in an electronic environment, is in the process of finalising a contract for building the public service broker. This will allow Reach to move ahead with firm plans for the development and delivery of the broker, with an initial live delivery of services planned for June 2004.