• The legislation governing the use of the PPS Number is contained in the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 as amended.
• The PPS Number can be used either by the public bodies named in the above Social Welfare Acts or by any person or body authorised by these public bodies to act on their behalf.
• The PPS Number can also be used by any person who has a transaction (see definition below) with a public body e.g. an employer making Income Tax/PRSI returns on behalf of an employee.
• The PPS Number can not be used by An Garda Siochána or the Defence Forces for anyone other than their own members.
• While the PPS Number can only be used by public bodies, equally it can only be used by such bodies for particular transactions as follows:
- an application
- a claim
- a communication
- a payment
- a supply of a service
where the transaction relates to a public function of a public body.
This is to ensure that the PPS Number cannot be used for private or commercial transactions.
• It is an offence for any person or body to request or hold a record of a PPS Number unless they are permitted by law to do so. It is therefore the duty of all bodies to ensure that they are specified in law as being so entitled, before they request or hold a record of any person's PPS Number (See also Section 32 (b) of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2007
Transfer and disclosure of data
Social Welfare legislation sets out the purposes for which sharing of information between public bodies, using the PPS No. as a unique identifier is allowed. The Data Protection Act 1988 also imposes conditions, as outlined, regarding transfer and disclosure of personal data.
The areas of Social Welfare legislation dealing with this issue are:
- Sec 14, Social Welfare Act 1998 - sets out the initial list of “specified bodies”, - permits data sharing for the administration and control of certain Health Board schemes (including Medical Cards), Higher Education Grants, Civil Legal Aid and Local Authority Housing subventions.
- Sec 27, Social Welfare Act 1999 - extended the list of “specified bodies” to include the General Medical Services Payments Board and 28 voluntary hospitals
- Sec 32, Social Welfare Act 2000 - further extended the list of “specified bodies” to include the National Breast Screening Board and, (for the purposes of the Education Act 1998 only), schools, universities and other designated educational institutions.
- Sec 12, Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002 - added the Civil Service Commissioners to the list of “specified bodies.
Other legislation containing provisions relating to the transfer and disclosure of data for such purposes includes:
- Health (Provision of Information) Act 1997 - permits data sharing for the purposes of cancer screening programmes
- Education (Welfare) Act 2000 - for the purposes of recording and/or monitoring a person's education or training history and for carrying out educational research.
- Finance Act 2001 - for the purposes of administering the Special Savings Incentive Scheme
- Pensions (Amendment) Act 2002 - added the Pensions Board to the list of “specified bodies”.
Further legislation infomrtaion is available in the Policy & Legislation Section of the website.