Under current legislation, a Public Services Card (PSC) cannot be requested by any public or private body or person that is not designated as a specified body in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). The PSC can only be used by public bodies specified in this legislation when conducting a public transaction with the person concerned.
One of the provisions set out in Section 5 of the Social Welfare, Pensions, and Civil Registration Bill 2017 would, if enacted, enable citizens to volunteer their PSC where they wish to use it as a form of proof of identity and/or age. However, it is important to note that a non-specified body could not request or demand the production of a PSC. It simply gives individuals the option to use their PSC if they wish, as proof of identity and/or age, in transactions with non-specified bodies.
The Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 proposes a number of amendments to the Social Welfare Acts, the Pensions Act 1990 and the Civil Registration Act 2004 in addition to the provisions relating to PSC use.
The amendments to the Pensions Act contain a number of key measures relating to Defined Benefit pension schemes. It is intended that these measures will act to support existing provisions in the Pensions Act by providing for further protection for scheme members’ benefits and enhancing employer responsibilities for their schemes. These provisions in particular are very technical and involve complex policy issues. In order to achieve a resilient solution it has been necessary to consult in detail with other Government Departments and obtain numerous legal advices from the Office of the Attorney General on various aspects of the provisions. When these matters have been resolved and amendments approved by Government, an early date for Committee Stage will be requested.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.