Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Confirms Intention to Publish Public Services Card Report Once Full Consideration of Findings is Complete

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Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Confirms Intention to Publish Public Services Card Report Once Full Consideration of Findings is Complete

Thursday 22 August 2019

Following receipt of the Data Protection Commission’s Report on the Public Services Card Thursday last (15 August 2019), the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection today confirmed to the Commission that it is the Department’s intention to publish the report on its website, together with its own response, once a full consideration of the report is complete.

The Department is currently reviewing the report together with the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  This process is not yet complete and is expected to take another week or so.
While the Department understands that some may wish for us to respond sooner, it should be noted that this is a comprehensive report and requires significant attention.
It is not true, as has been reported in some quarters, that the Department has had this report for a year. 
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) provided a draft investigation report in August of last year at the mid-point of a two year investigation. It came with instructions that it was provided on a strictly confidential basis and was not to be shared with any third parties.  
This draft report contained what it described as preliminary findings and the DPC asked the Department to make submissions on these findings. The report also posed a number of additional questions in the form of requests for information. These submissions and response to requests for information were sought to assist the DPC in the ongoing investigation and to inform the content of the final report.
The Department together with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform considered the interim report very carefully and sought and received the advice of the Attorney General’s Office.
Based on this consideration, and the advice received, the Department submitted a very detailed response setting out how it believed the SAFE process/PSC was administered in full compliance with all relevant law. In this context, in the absence of any determination by the DPC and pending the receipt of the final report, the Department and other specified bodies continued to rely on the PSC and SAFE process.
The revised and final version of the report was received last Thursday. It contains a significant volume of additional analysis, a number of the findings have been changed and some have been removed.

Today, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD said:

“Both myself and my Department take very seriously the findings of the Data Protection Commission and the good work it does. For that reason it is important that bodies that are subject to findings by the Commission give very careful consideration to those findings. Such careful consideration is also necessary in order to be fair to the Commission and to ensure that when we do speak that the public hears a properly prepared response. As soon as our consideration of this final report is complete, the Department will publish its response along with the report and any other relevant information on its website and I will speak then at greater length on the matter.”

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Last modified:22/08/2019