Dáil Éireann - Volume 655 - 21 May, 2008

Written Answers. - Tax and Social Welfare Codes.

Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the progress made with the programme for Government commitment to integrate the tax and social welfare systems fully to allow for more efficient data and money transfer mechanisms and provide for a fully integrated PPS number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20124/08]

  Deputy Mary Hanafin: My Department has taken a lead role over the years in developing and implementing identity management policies and procedures based on the use of the Personal Public Services (PPS) number. This number was previously known as the Revenue and Social Insurance (RSI) number. The name was changed to indicate the broadening of its role to one which supports delivery of a broader range of public services but it is also still used for its original core purpose of providing a common identifier for the Revenue Commissioners and this Department. As well as facilitating wider-scale exchange of information, the PPS number also has a role in the development of on-line services for individuals. My Department provides identity related services to a number of agencies in accordance with legislation. Building on these services, the Department constructed Public Service Identity (PSI) services to assist agencies in basic on-line identity management. The initial deployment of PSI services supports the registration and authentication functions of the Revenue Commissioners PAYE on-line services.

The overall Government strategy is to realise the potential of the Information Society through innovation and modernisation of public services. As part of this, the Standard Authentication Framework Environment programme, co-chaired by my Department and the [193] Department of Finance, builds on PSI Services to provide the basis for a consistent set of registration and authentication services for customer interaction with public services. The Revenue Commissioners are also participating in this programme of work and we will continue to develop PSI and other relevant services in conjunction with them.

My Department and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners are currently engaged in finalising a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between our organisations concerning co-operation and mutual assistance. The objective of the proposed revised Memorandum is:

to provide a basis for the continuance, enhancement and expansion of the existing administrative and operational arrangements

to better reflect the missions, modern operating realities and totality of the relationship between the two organisations

to recognise the growing interdependencies between the two organisations in achieving the delivery of services to the highest standard

to strengthen liaison structures with a view to monitoring service delivery and control aspects. The details in this Memorandum are currently being finalised, and it is hoped to conclude negotiations shortly.

My Department will of course continue to explore on the basis of these significant ongoing developments how greater data and money transfer efficiencies could be realised in the future.