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Departmental Communications

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 18 October 2018

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Questions (328)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

328. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to resource staff to address the tasks of answering telephone inquiries from claimants, particularly in respect of the recent problems with claimants trying to call to inquire about missing illness benefit payments; if she has given consideration to allocating more resources to customer facing roles in view of the fact this is the main barrier to applicants when queries arise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42847/18]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

I understand and deeply regret the inconvenience and upset caused to customers by delays in processing illness benefit applications and issuing payments. I understand that this inconvenience is being compounded by the difficulties we are experiencing in responding to the significant volume of customers queries. My Department is working hard to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and in this regard I can confirm that extra staffing resources have been assigned.

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the on-going need to respond to new increasing demands in a wide range of services. This is to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to those who rely on the schemes operated by the Department.

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