‘Queueing confusion’ as welfare office is opened
IMPROVEMENT MADE NOW MORE STAFF NEEDED FOR FASTER SERVICE
THE LAUNCH of the new Social Welfare Office at the Civic Offices was welcomed, but guardedly so, by members of the public and officials last Friday.
Opened officially by Minister Mary Hanafin with Joe Behan T.D. & Cllr. Caroline Burrell, users agreed that the facility is much nicer than the old one near the seafront but complained that the queuing system is chaotic.
‘I always get there early and queue for around 40 minutes when I sign on,’ said one out-of-work Bray woman. ‘However, I would imagine that if I were delayed, the wait could be up to an hour and a half. The queue is very long.’
She said that there is always some confusion on the part of people who are there for other reasons than their regular ‘signing on’.
‘It’s not clear that they don’t have to stand in the same line,’ she said. ‘Invariably, some- one who may have a query about maternity payments or something ends up standing there for up to an hour before they are told they could have gone straight to the other desk.’
She added that although there are double doors, only one of them is ever left open, meaning that people with other issues have to squeeze past the blocked door to get in. ‘The line stretches outside the door and around the corner,’ she said. ‘It’s grand on a fine day, but in bad weather the elderly and disabled people, as well as mothers with young children, are forced to wait out in the lashing rain.’
While the service user was very eager to point out that the new facility is much better than the old one, she said that simple changes to the queuing system such as properly labelling the desks and leaving both doors open could make a big difference. ‘ The staff are very nice and very prompt once you actually get to the desk,’ she said.
Cllr. John Byrne of Bray Town Council and Mayor of Greystones, George Jones, both agreed that more staff are needed to speed things up.
Minister Mary Hanafin opens the new Social Welfare office with Niamh O’Donoghue (Director General of the Department of Social Welfare).