Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 22 February 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection
Public Services Card: Discussion (Resumed)
Mr. Tim Duggan:
Deputy Joan Collins has gone so I will wait until she returns to respond to her question.
Senator Nash spoke about the activation issue. The Department had never planned to put in place the process he mentioned. Consequently, it had arranged for a helpdesk facility to be put in place for about half a million minutes. That was primarily to deal with people who had queries about the public services card, PSC, or about the SAFE 2 registration process. That was a reasonable estimate at the time of the level of cover that would be needed. The then Data Protection Commissioner, having looked at the project, felt that as an additional safeguard when public services cards were posted to individuals, it would be an additional protection if people were to phone back in and confirm that they had got the card. He asked us to put that process in place. The Department never felt that was necessary because a person validated their address and a couple of days later they were given the card. It would be incredibly unusual for an address to change in that period. Essentially, it would the same as someone renewing motor tax at an address only for him or her to have changed address by the time the certificate got out to them three or four days later. The situation was of that order and, consequently, the Department was not convinced that was a necessary safeguard but as the Data Protection Commissioner of the day requested it the Department put it in place.