Committee Reports::Report - Proposal to Establish a Centralised State Agency for Persons Registering for Employment or Training::31 May, 1984::Appendix



I am to refer to your letter of 8 March 1984 and to say that the position regarding the points mentioned therein is as follows:

(1)All unemployment benefit and unemployment assistance claimants aged under 25 are also registered with the National Manpower Service. Claimants over 25 are advised by local offices to register with the National Manpower Service but there is no automatic registration in their case as there is for the under 25s and the pro portion of applicants who are registered varies as between different areas. It is estimated, however, that overall some 60% of persons over 25 on the Live Register would also be registered with the National Manpower Service. The intention is to extend registration with the National Manpower Service to all persons on the Live Register as resources permit.

(2)Detailed information regarding overpayments of unemployment benefit and unemployment assistance detected in 1983 which were due to fraudulent claims will not be available until later this year. In 1982, however, 1,296 cases were detected where as a result of fraudulent claims unemployment benefit had been paid to persons who were either not unemployed or were not available for work and the amount overpaid in these cases was approximately £145,000. As far as unemployment assistance is concerned 464 such cases were detected in 1982 and the amount overpaid was approximately £114,000.

(3)It will take a number of years to introduce a comprehensive computerised claims processing and payment system in all of the 44 Exchanges throughout the country.

To meet particular difficulties being experienced in the Dublin employment exchanges, a simplified computer payments system has been developed and is now operating in one Dublin exchange. This system will not include all the claimants in the exchange but will be confined in the main to recipients who have been unemployed for some considerable time. The system does not entirely replace the manual system of claim processing but is designed to enable certain claimants to be paid by cheque. It is planned to extend the system to the other Dublin exchanges as soon as possible.

Further development work will be required before it is possible to deal with the payment of all unemployment payments. Enhancement of the system to enable interfacing with other systems in the Department is a further dimension of the development work which is planned over the coming years. The Department is concentrating, in the short term, however, on extending the present limited system to the other exchanges and further development work will be undertaken in the light of the operational experience gained.

The Department expects that work on the computerisation of the unemployed payments will continue over the next five years at which stage computer assistance should be available to all the major Exchanges in the country.

(4)The Department does not have its own computer analyst and programming staff. The Central Data Processing Services of the Department of the Public Service provide the technical resources for the development of the various computer systems in the Department and are responsible for the training of the staff.

Under the present organisational arrangements there are no plans to recruit analyst and programming staff.

However, the Department does have its own computer operations staff who operate the various computer systems in the Department and these staff are recruited both from within the Department and from inter-departmental competitions. Training of these staff is provided by the Department.

Yours sincerely


John Hynes

16 March, 1984.