Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Personal Public Service Numbers
299. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of applications received for a PPS number to date in 2020; the number approved and processed; the number being examined; and the number refused. [29761/20]
316. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average wait times for a PPS number by county in tabular form; the steps she is taking to reduce wait times; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30091/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 298 to 300, inclusive, and 316 together.
At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, my Department temporarily postponed the SAFE registration process. This decision was taken to comply with HSE and WHO guidelines in respect of social distancing.
To help ensure that those who required a PPSN could get one, my Department introduced an email and postal service through which applications could be made. Figures on the numbers of applications received, or awaiting a decision, are not available as it is usually the case that each application involves a number of emails between the Department and the applicant, for example, where insufficient information or documentation has been submitted in support of the application.
For the same reason, data in respect of average waiting times, or applications by county, are not available. However, by its nature this process involves, in most cases, correspondence with the customer in respect of supporting documentation required. This means most applications cannot be dealt with instantly.
Between January 2020 and the temporary postponement of SAFE registrations, 26,278 PPSNs were allocated to people seeking a PPSN. Since then, 23,009 PPSNs have been allocated to date to people who applied through the postal and email service.
The Department has refused 6,287 PPSN applications since the temporary postponement of SAFE registrations.
It is expected that the PPSN allocation service will be resumed in PPSN Centres by Monday October 19th. This will mean a return to normal for customers seeking a PPSN; once they have completed their face-to-face SAFE registration, they will be issued with their Public Services Card, containing their PPSN, within five working days of their SAFE registration. The provision of the service, once fully resumed, will remain subject to HSE/WHO guidance.
I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.