The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. Currently the average time taken to award a carer's allowance application is 28 weeks. I acknowledge that this is not satisfactory but I am satisfied that the Department is taking appropriate action to resolve the situation.
A major service delivery modernisation project is underway to improve the efficiency of administration of the carer's allowance scheme. This involves the deployment of information technology solutions and associated business process re-organisation. Full deployment of the new system for carer's allowance was completed last month. In tandem with the full implementation of the new system, a comprehensive business process improvement exercise has recently commenced, the focus of which is to optimise performance and provide improved customer service. However it is expected to be a number of months before the backlog is reduced to an acceptable level.