A coalition of NGOs have launched a report called “Person or Number? 2 A second examination of issues faced by immigrants in accessing social protection in Ireland” that is critical of how the Department of Social Protection deals with migrants.
Irish human rights organisations, including FLAC, Doras Luimní, Nasc and Crosscare, have come together to publish a report examining the issues faced by immigrants in Ireland when they apply for social protection. Entitled Person or Number? 2, the report is a follow up to a 2012 report and is based on a random thirty-five case sample of migrants who access DSP’s service and an online survey with thirty-seven managers of citizen information services nationally.
The first Person or Number? report was launched in 2012 by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton. A Migrant Consultative Forum (MCF) made up of representatives from NGOs and the Department was set up based on a recommendation made in that report. With the support of the Minister for Social Protection, the MCF has made significant headway in bringing about positive reforms in the DSP’s customer service and raising awareness of issues impacting migrants.
The report is critical of how the Department of Social Protection deals with immigrants and identifies key shortcomings including:
- Customer service issues in the Department of Social Protection including rudeness, inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate or abusive language and instances of racism.
- Basic administrative procedures, tasks and duties not always being carried out by Deciding Officers and Designated Persons, leading to incorrect refusals of payments.
- The Community Welfare Service in particular found to have poor service levels.
- Interpreters not always being provided to people when there is a clear need.
- Omission of key pieces of information by officials in their dealings with the public continues to be an issue.
There are nineteen recommendations in the report which include:
- the establishment of a Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Implementation Unit in the Department to raise the quality of practice and decision making at the front line and
- the introduction of name badges for frontline staff would improve customer service, decision making and accountability
Read the full report online here.