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Ombudsman report highlights serious practice failures in Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection - John Brady TD

20 June, 2018 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has raised concerns at the serious failures within the Department highlighted in the Ombudsman report published today. 

Teachta Brady said:

“The Ombudsman report published today makes stark reading when it comes to the practices undertaken by the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection. 

“For a Department so concerned with combatting welfare fraud, it need not look too far for grave errors on their own behalf when it comes to overpayments and Departmental errors. 

“The Ombudsman states that out of the 953 complaints received against Government Departments, 655 were against the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. This accounts for well over half of all complaints made against Government Departments in 2017.

“When examining the 95 complaints received regarding overpayments, 60% were concluded in favour of the complainant. On closer examination of the Department’s administrative practices when it comes to dealing with overpayments, several matters were identified by the Ombudsman. 

“The Ombudsman has highlighted seven areas of such concern including practices in cases where overpayments are made to customers because of error on behalf of Department staff and not the customer. 

“This report makes for grim reading for the Department and for Minister Regina Doherty. I am calling on her to initiate an immediate review of practices in place by her Department when it comes to overpayments. We need to see action on the issues highlighted by the Ombudsman. 

“This report also serves as important information to people who may have been overpaid by the Department through no fault of their own, especially if they are being made to pay back this money to the Department. I would urge people to contact the Ombudsman if they feel that they have been treated unfairly by the Department."

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