Delays in issuing PPS numbers are hampering the delivery of construction projects

According to an industry group, delays in obtaining Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers for construction workers could lengthen delays for major construction projects across the country.

Lobby group the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) recently contacted Social Care Minister Heather Humphreys about delays reported to her by industry over staff receiving PPS numbers.

A member had complained to the CIF about a six-week wait for PPS numbers for workers, despite her claims it normally took five days.

A valid PPS number is required to complete the Safe Pass program. Safe Pass is a mandatory safety awareness training program for construction workers, enabling personnel to work on construction sites safely.

Dermot Carey, director of safety and training at CIF, said delays in workers obtaining PPS numbers could create difficulties in meeting construction deadlines.

“One of our main goals is to have enough skilled manpower to meet all the requirements of our national programs,” he said.

“We have to bring people in to fill in the gaps, and it has to be a reasonably efficient process. Having delays of six to ten weeks is not an efficient process.

“There are penalties for contractors who don’t meet their deadlines. Therefore, we need a system that allows a reasonable pace to move people through the system. That’s all we ask.

Carey added that Humphreys acknowledged the delays and that the Department would work to put in place a mechanism to address them.

A Department of Social Protection spokeswoman said the national average processing time for fully completed PPSN applications was nearly two and a half weeks (17 days) as of June 15.

“Ministry officials continue to engage with employers and employer representative groups to expedite PPSN applications,” she said.

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