243. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans for incorporating the use of the public services card within his Department; the services that it will be used for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48945/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Since 29 March 2016, my Department has required all first-time passport applicants aged eighteen and above who are resident in Ireland to hold a valid Public Services Card (PSC). This requirement also applies to the small number of adult passport applicants whose last passport was issued before 1 January 2005 and has since been reported as lost, stolen or damaged.
The Government decided on 17 July this year that the PSC would be req...

573. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason an adopted person must supply their adoption certificate when applying for a public services card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48952/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 identity registration. The person’s Public Service Identity Dataset is verified as part of this process. Adopted people are treated in the same way as other individuals in terms of verification of identity. Name, date of birth, place of birth and mother’s birth surname are generally verified from the birth certificate or, in th...

602. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to set out the number of private companies that have access to social protection personal files and-or records of citizens in the context of the public services card; if she will provide a list of those companies; the reason each company has access to those records or files; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49380/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In general, private companies do not have access to social protection data.
Section 263 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 (as amended) sets out the legal basis for the issuance and use of the Public Services Card (PSC). Use of the PSC is restricted to public service bodies specified in law (known as specified bodies) and their agents (i.e., organisations working on their behalf or performing one of their ...

242. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 1218 of 7 November 2017, the way in which a person can register and verify a MyGov account if they do not have a phone number or mobile phone device and or a tablet device; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48449/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A MyGovID account is a secure online account for accessing public services. The process for registering and using a verified MyGovID account proves in the online environment that the person has had their identity verified to the SAFE 2 standard. As part of the application of the SAFE 2 standard in the online environment, my Department seeks to ensure that a person’s MyGovID account is not used by another person. This ...

225. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 1218 of 7 November 2017, her views on whether a person’s phone number is personal information in the context of verifying a MyGov account; if she will clarify point A of her original reply; if it is the phone handset or the device that is being verified or the phone number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48436/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): While a person’s phone number is an element of their contact information, it is also regarded as personal information. A phone number in itself cannot identify a person. No additional information, e.g., any of the Public Service Identity data held by my Department, is issued with any text sent as part of a MyGovID verification process. 
Point (a) of my previous response related to the process for verification of an ...

11. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of the media campaign designed to promote the public services card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46856/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Deputy Dara Calleary: There has been quite considerable controversy around the public services card. The Data Protection Commissioner is investigating issues around it under section 10 of the Data Protection Act. Can the Minister outline how much money is being used to promote the use of the public services card and whether the expenditure of that money is being suspended pending the outcome of the data protection review?
 ...

68. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the results of a cost benefit analysis that has been undertaken in respect of the public services card, PSC; the number of cards that have been issued to date.; the cost of same; the number that have been activated; the cost incurred to activate the cards; the business case presented for activation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46864/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card (PSC) and an online account called MyGovID may be issued to a person following successful completion of an identity verification process known as SAFE 2. This process authenticates a person’s identity to a substantial level of assurance.
Accordingly, SAFE 2, the PSC and MyGovID are investments in the future of public service provision. They will allow all public service providers over time to ...

70. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department has carried out a formal assessment regarding the risks of introducing a public services card; if her Department has carried out a data privacy impact assessment with regard to the public services card; the impact of the public services card to date with regard to reducing rates of social welfare fraud, forgery and error; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46867/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Provision)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): All of my Department’s major programmes and operational schemes, including the SAFE/Public Services Card (PSC) Programme, are included in the Department’s Business Planning and Risk Management System, and are reported on every quarter. Additionally, all projects are reviewed by the Department’s Programme Governance Committee (comprising the Department’s most senior managers) approx. every two months with status repor...

553. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he or officials in his Department have had discussions regarding the public services card; if so, the detail of those discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47008/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): My Department is represented on the Implementation and Policy Group for Public Service Identity chaired by the Government’s Chief Information Officer which, as part of its remit, receives updates on the roll out of the card. A working group led by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has also been attended by officials from my Department.  My Department’s involvement in these discussions centred around the Public Services Ca...

1184. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a new rule has been issued which requires persons designated by pensioners to collect pensions from post offices to produce a public services card as identification; the basis for this requirement; the reason personal data from the card is entered into An Post computers; the use to which the data is put; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45774/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1184 and 1225 together. 
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection operates its contract for cash payment services with An Post. The Department and An Post agreed a protocol in 2014 governing the forms of identification which claimants, or their agents, must produce in order to collect payments. There has been no change in this agreed protocol or in the forms of ident...

1185. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the process for persons to receive a copy of information encoded on their public services card. (Question 45783/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Section 263(2) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, as amended, provides that “A person may, on request in that behalf to the Minister, obtain within 28 days of that request, where practicable, information which is electronically encoded on his or her Public Services Card”. 
Such a request should be sent to: 
Card Management Section,
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection,
Shannon Lodge,
Carrick-on...

1218. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the country and location that the mobile phone code verification numbers are sent from in the context of the public service card application process stage whereby a person is asked to verify his or her mobile phone number and receive a MyGov verification code; if the host +1 425 prefix code and accompanying number is compliant with data protection laws here; the name of the service provider; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46157/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A MyGovID account is a secure online account for accessing public services. The process for registering and using a MyGovID account proves in the online environment that the person has had their identity verified to the SAFE 2 standard. In the context of the SAFE/PSC/MyGovID infrastructure, my Department utilises three mobile verification processes as follows –
 (a) when an individual’s phone is verified face-to-fa...

1225. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department has obliged An Post to request the public services card from welfare recipients when collecting payments; if her Department obliges An Post to request the production of identification from welfare recipients when collecting payments; if so, the identification documents which are accepted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46234/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1184 and 1225 together. 
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection operates its contract for cash payment services with An Post. The Department and An Post agreed a protocol in 2014 governing the forms of identification which claimants, or their agents, must produce in order to collect payments. There has been no change in this agreed protocol or in the forms of ident...

29. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Finance the agencies within his remit that plan to make services or payments dependent on the public services card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42512/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised that of the eighteen bodies under the aegis of my Department, seventeen have no plans to make services or payments dependent on the public services card.
In line with Government policy to develop a single authentication mechanism for customers to access public services and to get their due entitlements, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners is in discussion with the Department of Social Protection and the Office of the Government Chie...

651. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the value of the contract with a company (details supplied) to produce the public services card; the funding it has received to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42511/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The contract with Biometric Card Services (BCS) was signed in December 2009. The value of this contact was just under €18.3 million (excluding VAT) for the production, personalisation and distribution of 3 million Public Service Cards (PSC) plus associated help desk services. To date BCS have been paid €22.9 million (excluding VAT). The increase in costs arises from changes to processes, enhancements/improvements...

652. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the information that the public services card holds; and the information that the public services card has the capacity to hold. (Question 42514/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The data that may be displayed and/or electronically stored on the Public Services Card (PSC) is set out at sections 263 (1A) and section 263 (1B) respectively of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). The following sets out where each data item appears or is stored on the PSC:
 - the name of the person: Face of PSC and Chip 
- the personal public service number (PPSN) of that person: Rear of PSC, ...

671. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a provision has been made in the application process for the public services card for a parent or guardian to sign on behalf of a person with severe disabilities who cannot physically sign or mark the form themselves; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42751/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Public Services Card (PSC) has been introduced to enable individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time preserving their privacy to the maximum extent possible. The PSC is designed to replace other cards within the public sector such as the free travel pass and the social services card of this Department and to make it easier for ...

675. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding the public services card in the context of persons that have undergone or are undergoing gender transitioning; the way in which the card complies with the Gender Recognition Act 2015, in order that all of a person’s historical personal details are protected from being accessed by officials processing a transaction using the card, from officials in the process of issuing a card and other authorised bodies that can demand the card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42811/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Public Services Card (PSC) has been introduced to enable individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time preserving their privacy to the maximum extent possible. A PSC is currently issued following a registration process which involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature and the verification of identity data alr...

680. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position in respect of public services cards for those claiming a social welfare payment; the number of persons that have been refused payment as a result of not having a card; the payments concerned and the legal basis for such refusal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42850/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In 2005, the Government approved a rules-based standard for establishing and authenticating an individual’s identity for the purposes of access to public services. This standard is known as the Standard Authentication Framework Environment, SAFE. A person who successfully completes a SAFE 2 registration process (i.e. verifies their identity to a substantial level of assurance) is issued with a Public Services Card (...

217. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the measures that are in place to protect adoptees whose attention has not been drawn to their adoption in cases in which they apply for the public services card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42072/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.
To ensure that people’s identity is verified to a substantial level of assurance, my Department has implemented an identity registration process called SAFE. That process involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature and the verification of identity data. Items of the identity dataset that are verified include the date and place of birth as we...

218. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason adoptees have to provide a copy of their birth certificate when applying for the public services card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42073/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.
To ensure that people’s identity is verified to a substantial level of assurance, my Department has implemented an identity registration process called SAFE. That process involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature and the verification of identity data. Items of the identity dataset that are verified include the date and place of birth as we...

586. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if legislation is required in respect of the identification card that is being rolled out, particularly in relation to the area of data protection in view of the multiple proposed uses for this card across Departments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41736/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of SAFE 2 registration is to verify a person’s identity to a substantial level of assurance. Once identity is verified, a Public Services Card can be issued. This is a physical token which proves that a person has had their identity verified to the SAFE 2 standard and enables them to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time preser...

37. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the review into the ongoing attempts to bring the public services card into widespread use; his views on whether the manner in which this has taken place has caused significant public alarm; his plans in relation to the expansion of the card; the legislative steps he plans to introduce to underpin it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40647/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Public Services Card)

Deputy Róisín Shortall: The Department’s e-strategy describes the widespread adoption of the public services card as being critical to the success of that strategy. The manner in which the public services card has been rolled out has caused a fair deal of concern and there is significant public apprehension and a lack of trust in regard to the use of the card. I want to know what steps the Minister is taking to address that public concern and whether he intends to introduce further legislation...

43. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the public services card; the circumstances in which the card will be required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40462/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Public Services Card)

Deputy Catherine Connolly: I ask the Minister to a make a statement on the public services card. While he addressed the issue earlier, I ask him to make a statement in response to the serious concerns raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General in his report. The Minister referred to the report but did not refer to the issues highlighted in it regarding the serious concerns expressed by the Data Protection Commissioner. What has the Minister learned from the report and the concerns of the D...

513. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason it is necessary to require a person who has been adopted and who does not hold a valid passport or driving licence to provide a copy of the adoption certificate when applying for a public services card; if her attention has been drawn to the upset that this can cause to persons who may have been adopted many decades previously; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40441/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): To ensure that people’s identity is verified to a substantial level of assurance, my Department has implemented an identity registration process called SAFE. That process involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature and the verification of identity data. Items of the identity dataset that are verified include the date and place of birth as well as the mother’s birth surname. This information is ...