Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (130)

Seán Kenny

Question:

130. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason there is a delay of over five months in issuing the new public services card and free travel to qualified persons. [18385/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department of Social Protection has developed, in conjunction with a number of other Government Departments, 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 Standard Authentication Framework Environment, or SAFE for short, also provided for the introduction of a Public Services Card (PSC) to enable individual’s to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time preserving their privacy to the maximum extent possible.

The PSC is designed to replace other cards within the public sector such as the social services card of the Department and the free travel pass, and to make it easy for providers of public services to verify the identity of customers.

The Free Travel variant of the PSC became available in December 2013, and in anticipation of this, the Department began in August to register people over 66 years of age who have an entitlement to free travel. Since its launch in December over 140,000 Free Travel variants of the PSC have issued.

The current turnaround time from completion of registration to card issue is up to 5 working days. Since the Free Travel variant became available in December 2013, the Department is not aware of any individual who has completed the registration process and has experienced a five month delay in being issued with a card.

I understand that the Department has requested details of any such case that the Deputy may be aware of.

Question No. 131 withdrawn.