Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Registration of Births
112. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to delays in newborns being registered and subsequently receiving their PPS number which is causing problems or delays in newborns receiving general practitioner care, vaccinations and other health checks essential for babies to receive proper and timely treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37234/20]
121. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the current methods of registration of births; if there have been changes to the methods for registration under Covid-19 restrictions; if there are delays in registration of births currently; if so, the average length of the delay; if this is causing delays in newborns being given a PPS number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37233/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 121 together.
Parents are able to register births by submitting a Birth Registration Form, by email or post, to a local office of the Civil Registration Service or via the General Register Office (GRO). The process is relatively straightforward requiring the completion of the information and declarations requested on the form and the provision of photographic identification. In ordinary course, parents are required to appear in person before a registrar to register a birth. The requirement to attend in person before a registrar to register a birth was removed, for the duration of the current emergency, by amendments to the Civil Registration Act 2004 contained in the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020.
I have made enquiries with the GRO which has overall responsibility for the operation of the Civil Registration Service and which operates as part of the Department of Social Protection. They have informed me that, other than in the East Registration Area which covers Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow, that there are no delays in birth registration nationally. The delays being experienced in the East Registration Area relate to the volume of applications received and to the number of incomplete applications which require engagement with the parents. In general, it takes 10 working days to process applications in the East Registration Area.
The GRO has informed me that it is satisfied that there are no significant delays in the registration process once the necessary documentation is in order. To assist parents further, the GRO has recently updated the guidance provided to parents and added a checklist to aid in removing delays that arise due to incomplete applications being made.
A personal public service number (PPSN) is automatically allocated to a new born within 24 hours of the birth registration.
I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.