I will give a couple of examples.
It worries me that the Deputy has included jobseeker's benefit in the list of long waits because the waiting time should be less than a week. At most, it should be two weeks for jobseeker's allowance if a means test needs to be done. There is no delay in processing jobseeker's benefit claims. If Deputy Moynihan is aware of any delays, I ask him to send the details.
The payments which cause most frustration are illness related and caring schemes. For argument's sake, at the end of October, the Department had met its target of processing 70% of new carer's allowance applications within 12 weeks. We currently have a ten-week processing time. However, carer's allowance is a means-tested payment and once the means test has been done, the medical part must be done. As I stated, if all the medical information is provided at application stage, it should be relatively easy to process the application within ten weeks. We have a 12-week target. I am probably giddy and demanding insofar as I think the 12-week target should be reduced to eight weeks because we are now processing applications in ten weeks. We moved staff into the carer's section relatively recently arising from efficiencies in other areas. This needs to happen continuously using our front office-back office approach. We may need to move staff.
The other information the Deputy seeks is in the report and I will give him a copy.
At the end of the day, more staff means faster results. However, as the staffing allocation for the Department is decreasing, we cannot go out and get more staff. We have to improve practices in the Department and make them more efficient by using technology. In that way, we will use our most valuable resource, our staff, to the best possible end.