Further Update on accessibility policy

13 May, 2024

Policies

Further Update on Accessibility Policy 

Since our last update, the DSS has been continuing its engagement with stakeholders and reviewing our processes in preparation for the implementation of our Accessibility Policy as published on 2 April.

The focus of the Accessibility Policy is to support persons who have accessibility issues and to ensure our resources are appropriately deployed to meet their needs.

The DSS now wishes to announce that the Accessibility Policy will come into effect on 20 May. From 20 May all requests for manual applications will be subject to our accessibility policy. 

Please note that a request for a manual application that is received by the DSS on dates up to and including the 19 May will be processed as at present. Any manual application that is already in progress will continue to be processed manually.

General information for those requiring special assistance to access our services is available by clicking on Additional information in relation to accessibility . The accessibility policy is available here Accessibility Policy. 

Please contact our information team between 9-4pm, Monday to Friday for assistance.

Phone: (01) 2119750

Email:  queries@decisionsupportservice.ie

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As previously outlined people across the country have been engaging with the DSS to create an enduring power of attorney since the new State service was launched in April 2023 under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

An EPA is a legal arrangement that can be set up by a person to allow someone they know and trust to look after their property and financial affairs, and/or personal welfare decisions, if they lose the capacity to make those decisions in the future. EPAs have been in place since the Powers of Attorney Act 1996 but with relatively low take-up. According to a survey of 1,000 adults by Safeguarding Ireland in late 2023, only 11% of Irish adults reported having an EPA.
 

“Although we are still a new service, and much work has to be done to ensure everyone is aware of the benefits that the new Act offers - particularly in the area of advance planning - we are really encouraged by the high numbers of people who are accessing our digital system and starting to create their own EPA,” said the Director of the Decision Support Service, Áine Flynn.

“The 2015 Act provides advance planning tools because at a future time, any one of us could experience difficulty exercising our right to make our own decisions, due to an accident or a degenerative illness, so it is important that more and more people start to avail of these supports.

“We can clearly see from the figures on our portal that EPAs are by far the most popular support arrangement that people are applying for on our digital system. Thousands of people have opened an account on the MyDSS portal to apply for an EPA and are working their way through the system, with over 2,900 people having completed the substantive EPA form and proceeded to download the required supporting documentation. By May, 941 completed applications had been submitted and were queued for review and registration by the DSS.”

From May 20, 2024, the service will commence operating a new accessibility policy to promote the use of the MyDSS portal.

“To manage the registration process in a secure, efficient and sustainable way, the DSS has adopted a ‘digital first but not digital only’ approach in line with government policy and based on expert advice and a consideration of the experience of other jurisdictions.

“Manual processes have been shown to be inaccessible, resource-intensive and prone to delay, significant levels of error, and risks in relation to data privacy. It is important to promote the digital path to avoid a significant additional burden on our resources, which can - as a consequence – cause delays in the registration of all support arrangements, including EPAs and impact on our ability to supply supports where needed.

“In order to ensure that we can process all applications in a timely manner, including those for other decision support arrangements and to meet the accessibility requirements of certain service users,  we have taken the decision to only accept manual EPA applications directly from donors who are unable to use the online portal for reasons linked to disability, lack of digital ability or connectivity, or in other exceptional circumstances. This is to help ensure that resources are targeted to provide the right level of individual support where it is required and the efficient operation of the service generally.”

The DSS accessibility policy can be accessed at the link DSS Accessibility Policy.

 

Click on the link to access our step-by-step video guide to making you EPA Video Playlist Making your EPA online.
 

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