Dáil Éireann - Volume 587 - 15 June, 2004

Written Answers. - Electronic Communications.

  166. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if all public services provided by his Department that are capable of electronic delivery are available electronically through a single point of contact, as was promised in the joint programme; and if not, if he will make a statement or explanation in respect of each service not yet so provided. [17558/04]

  Mr. Walsh: The electronic delivery of services through a single point of contact is being progressed through the framework of the public services broker and the Reach agency, which reports to the Department of Social and Family Affairs, and is charged with responsibility for its design and development.

It is intended that the first stage of the public services broker will be launched at the end of this [417] month. This will be a public facing website, to be known as reachservices.ie, designed to act as a single point of access to a range of services offered by the Irish public service. Initially reachservices.ie will provide access in the form of links to forms or online services provided on other websites. It will provide access to information and application forms for up to 900 services at time of launch. The range of services accessible through reachservices.ie will continue to be expanded until it provides a fully comprehensive index to the full range of publicly provided services in Ireland.

My Department has been co-operating fully in relation to the ongoing development of the public services broker, providing information and contact details for services for the immediate launch, as well as commencing development work on two services that will feature in the next phase of the broker. Many of my Department’s services have already been made available electronically through our website, www.agriculture.gov.ie. These services have been developed with due cognisance of the ongoing development of the public services broker and adhere to the standards specified by the broker development team. As development of the public sector broker continues, all of my Department’s services that can be provided electronically will be made available, over time, through the public services broker.

The number of schemes and services that are provided by my Department will substantially change after the introduction of the single farm payment in 2005. A review of all services is currently being undertaken to ascertain those services that will be most suitable for electronic provision in the future.