My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all of its customers. This includes ensuring that scheme applications are processed and decisions on entitlement made as quickly as possible.
Like all Government Departments and agencies, the Department is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget. However, I can assure the Deputy that staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continually reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the ongoing need to respond to new increasing demands in a wide range of services.
Additionally, operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised with specific monthly targets set for responses within particular scheme area. 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
As part of my Department’s ongoing programme of service modernisation, a range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology, have and are being implemented in recent years.
I hope this clarifies the issue for the deputy.