The Government has signed a multi-million euro contract with An Post to provide cash payments to social welfare recipients.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said An Post would pay out more than €9bn to people on welfare next year, involving more than 40m transactions.
The award followed a competitive tender process, which, according to the department, was aimed at securing best-value for money and best-quality provision for customers and taxpayers.
A spokeswoman for the department said the contract was worth in excess of €50m to An Post per annum, and would support jobs and communities across the country through An Post’s network of offices.
She said the contract also provided certainty for the foreseeable future to welfare customers who receive their payments at post offices.
The contract is for two years and can be renewed for one or more periods of 12 months each, up to a maximum of six years.
Welcoming the agreement, Ms Burton said: “Roughly half of all welfare payments — amounting to more than €9bn a year — go through the post office network, benefiting almost 1m customers.
“This money represents almost 20% of Government day-to-day spending, showing the significance of this hugely important contract.
“An Post and its post-masters and staff have always provided a trusted and valuable service to the department and to their local communities and I welcome the opportunity to continue working with them over the coming years.”
An Post CEO Donal Connell said: “We are pleased to have won thisimportant contract and we are fully committed to providing a top quality service for both the Department of Social Protection and its customers. As leaders in the development and application of post office counter technology, An Post will continue to innovate and to invest in next generation systems and products for customers across our unique retail network.”
Speaking at the contract signing at the GPO, Ms Burton said: “An Post has an excellent track record.
“Since the economic crisis, the number of people dependent on welfare payments increased significantly, meaning heavier demand on the An Post network.
“An Post, the postmasters, and their staff ensured that all our customers were paid each week on time and in full and delivered an excellent customer service.”
Referring to the future of the services, she spoke of the business challenges that the Department and An Post face: “The department is moving through a phase of significant transformation.
“The transformation of our local welfare offices into Intreo Centres is key to delivering more modern, efficient and dynamic services to our customers and providing value for taxpayers and the economy. Intreo is the department’s approach to help people get back to work and promises to offer an integrated employment and support service.”
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