Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (467)

Brian Stanley

Question:

467. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that one of her Department offices in Portlaoise, County Laois, is used for the safe registration process to facilitate social welfare recipients and to end the practice where thousands of claimants have to travel to Kilkenny to have their photograph taken and fill out forms. [32138/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department of Social Protection, in conjunction with a number of other Government Departments, has developed a rules based standard for establishing and authenticating an individual’s identity for the purposes of access to public services. This programme of work, which is known as the Standard Authentication Framework Environment or SAFE for short, also provided for the introduction of a Public Services Card (PSC) to enable individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort.

A PSC is currently issued following a “face-to-face” registration process which involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature, the verification of identity and current address as well as the capture of additional data such as answers to security questions to be used in ensuring the future integrity of customers’ data.

To date, 119 SAFE stations have been installed in 51 separate locations countrywide and a further 48 are either planned or in the process of deployment. Planning is underway for the installation of a SAFE registration facility in Portlaoise, and it is expected that this will be rolled out in the coming months. In the meantime, a number of customers at Portlaoise Branch Office are being facilitated at Kilkenny Local Office.