Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (342)

Mick Wallace


342. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 616 of 26 February 2019, if the correspondence that was sent to those persons selected to take part in the survey to assess customer satisfaction regarding the public services card to invite them to take part in the survey was sent to those selected by her Department or by the survey company (details supplied); if the correspondence was sent by the company, the basis for the sharing of customer addresses between her Department and the company; if other personal data via the SAFE 2 verification process such as telephone numbers were shared with the company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12572/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The recent Public Services Card customer satisfaction survey, as with every research survey conducted on behalf of my Department by a contracted survey research company, was conducted in full compliance with national and EU Data Protection legislation. In line with these requirements, the survey process was as follows:

1. The Department's Chief Statistician, a senior member of the Irish Government Statistical Service, created a representative stratified random sample of potential survey participants (in this case, 5,000 people who had recently applied for a Public Services Card).

2. The Chief Statistician then sent a signed letter to each potential participant, in order to

- tell them about the purpose and confidential statistical nature of the survey;

- supply a link to the dedicated webpage about the survey for further information (; and

- let people know how to opt out of participating in this or future surveys.

3. Several weeks later (in order to allow time for people to opt out of participating), the Chief Statistician supplied a minimal set of personal contact information for the survey participants to the survey research company. No information whatsoever was sent to the company about people who chose to opt out of taking part in the survey.

4. The survey research company then contacted people from the supplied survey sample by phone until enough responses were received to ensure that results were statistically representative of the wider population of recent Public Services Card applicants.

The only personal data (verified at SAFE level 2) supplied to the survey company was the following:

- Customer Name

- Customer Contact Number

- Customer Sex (Male/Female)

- Customer Age Group (18-24, 25-39, 40-59, 60+)

The name and contact numbers were provided in order to be able to contact participants, while sex and age group were supplied to ensure that representative results for these dimensions were achieved.

Under the terms of the survey contract, the survey company must delete all this personal data at the end of the survey.