The cost of the utility card amounts to 98 million euros

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) said a €30 million rise in the cost of the utility card framework was attributable to a number of factors, including the prior exclusion of VAT.

The card, which is still the subject of a lawsuit involving the state and its own data protection regulator after the DPC declared PSC illegal in 2019, was valued at 67.8 million euros at the time. during its 10 years of existence by the DSP. Secretary General John McKeon in October 2019.

However, a recent cost-benefit analysis of the project compiled by the department indicated that the combined overall cost of the card and its online equivalent, MyGovID, is actually €98.4 million.

The ministry has now said the cost difference was due to several factors.

They include the inclusion of costs for the six months of 2019 not accounted for by Mr. McKeon two years ago, and “adding VAT” on PSC and SAFE (Standard Authentication Framework Environment – the way DSP verifies the identification of social assistance applicants) IT equipment and costs.

He said other costs include a “25% addition to all direct personnel costs” under Ireland’s Public Expenditure Code, as well as specific MyGovID costs, which were not included in the initial estimate of Mr McKeon.

The cost-benefit analysis, published by DSP on November 5, argues that the PSC project has paid for itself in five years.

He said the system now allows direct annual savings of more than 20 million euros.

The card was first introduced in 2009 as a way for social assistance claimants to access their benefits.

The project became a source of controversy when the government announced its intention to make it a mandatory condition for accessing several state services.

The DPC launched a two-year investigation into the card in October 2017 after it said it was unhappy with assurances from the department that the card fully complied with data protection legislation.

This investigation, when finalized in August 2019, concluded that the card is illegal when made compulsory to access non-social services, and that the department must destroy records it illegally holds on 3.2 million cardholders. card in the state.

The next hearing in the state’s case against the DPC regarding that decision is scheduled for Dec. 7.