Statement from the Department of Social Protection


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14 April 2016

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Statement from the Department of Social Protection

 

In line with the National Payments Plan, the Department of Social Protection is seeking to reduce cheque usage in the economy. Casuals workers have to date been paid by cheque, which they can lodge direct to their accounts or negotiate at bank or post office counters. The majority of the Department’s customers who are paid by cheque choose to lodge them direct to their bank accounts. The Department is now offering these customers the option of being paid direct to their bank accounts. There has been a very positive response from our customers to the option of this payment method.

Cheque payments are not issued to An Post or through the Post Office and as such do not reduce the number of existing cash payments made through Post Offices under the contract between the Department of Social Protection and An Post. The option to move from cheque to direct payment to a bank account is entirely consistent with the National Payments Plan and is in line with payment methods that now prevail across the economy. The Department must consider the most efficient payment method for its customers who are in employment, most of whom get their salary payment into bank accounts. To have weekly income (work plus welfare) payable in two different ways is a highly inconvenient and costly way of dealing with people in employment. The Department’s focus must be on its customers.

In respect of working groups arising from the "Kerr" Report, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is actively working with An Post and others to set out a clear implementation plan for all of the actions in the Kerr Report.

The report clearly sets out the challenges that An Post and Postmasters face as they ensure that the network remains relevant in the context of an inexorable shift in consumer preferences, including the trend towards digital transactions. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources anticipates that this work will take no more than 6 months. The Department of Social Protection is engaging with this process.

Ends.

Department of Social Protection 14 April 2016

Last modified:14/04/2016