The National Childcare Scheme and the PSC

My quick thoughts on the requirement to have a PSC and a MyGovID account in order to access payments under the New Childcare Scheme. I was speaking about this on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE1 radio this morning.

  1. 1) The DPC has said this requirement is illegal in her report (published yesterday)
    “THE SPECIFIED BODY CANNOT REFUSE TO ENGAGE IN A TRANSACTION WITH A PERSON WHO DOES NOT HAVE A PSC AND WHO DOES NOT OBTAIN ONE” – DPC Report, Page 12
  2. The Government has argued with this finding in public, but it has not appealed it. It is now out of time to do so (21 days). Section 26(1) of the Data Protection Act 1988 is below, setting out that time limit.
  3. The text has been amended, but the 21 day time limit remains. The finding stands unchallenged. The time is up to challenge it. There can be no backdoor reset of the appeal time limit. The Department of Children has acknowledged it is aware that its policy is contrarty to the DPC’s finding.
  4. However, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has confirmed that, as things stand, online applications for the scheme will only be processed for people in possession of a verified MyGovID, the web equivalent of the physical PSC.
  5. “The Dept of Children is legally responsible for any breach it makes of the GDPR, but it appears to be reluctant to adopt its responsibility. “The Department of Children referred questions regarding the DPC’s decision to the Department of Social Protection, which it said is “considering it and will respond in due course”. “Officials in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs are liaising with them in this regard,” said the spokesperson.”
  6. The alternative system, without a PSC, is not available until Jan. But if the PSC isn’t needed in that system, it is not needed at all.”However, the manual, postal application process will not come on line until late January next year, meaning that for the first three months of the scheme’s life the PSC will be the only means by which people can access the plan’s subsidies.
  7. The DPC’s report acknowledged this trend to use the PSC not to access public services but to act as a barrier to them.“Rather than the PSC being any kind of enabler for the purpose of accessing public services (other than social welfare services and free travel), it can in fact operate as an impediment to accessing public services.”

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