Delays in processing of social welfare claims set to get worse
Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said delays in processing social welfare applications are set to get worse as the minister has refused to recruit new staff to replace the 214 who are leaving at the end of the month under the early retirement scheme.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh received a PQ response today from the minister which confirmed that new staff will not be hired to replace those leaving.
Ó Snodaigh said:
“With 214 staff set to retire at the end of the month it is clear that the outrageous delays in processing social welfare applications are set to continue and most likely get worse.
“It is also clear now that the minister’s plans for activation and supporting welfare recipients to get back to work are pie in the sky because the department simply does not have the staff to do it.”
Note: The relevant PQ and response is below:
Question No: 343 Ref No: 8020/12
To the Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will immediately recruit 214 new staff to replace those leaving at the end of the month under the early retirement scheme in view of the existing lengthy delays in the processing of social welfare applications and the envisaged greater role for Departmental staff in terms of profiling and activation which is more human resource intensive.
- Aengus Ó Snodaigh.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 14th February, 2012.
R E P L Y
Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D):
As the Deputy will be aware there is currently a moratorium on recruitment across the civil and public service. I can assure the Deputy that the Department will continue to source available staff to fill critical vacancies, including those arising from retirements, by way of redeployment, or transfer from within the Department and other Government Departments, taking account of the Employment Control Framework (ECF) target, as determined by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. To this end, operational processes and procedures, the organisation of work and the staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, having regard to workloads, management priorities and the competing demands arising, 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