Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice the actions her Department has taken to establish a one-off simplified case processing approach applying to all applicants who will have been two years or more in the system by the end of 2020 as outlined in the recommendations of the report of the advisory group on the provision of support including accommodation to persons in the international protection process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19398/21]
1430. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice the actions her Department has taken to establish a temporary, dedicated multi-agency task force to process all backlog cases as outlined in the recommendations of the report of the advisory group on the provision of support including accommodation to persons in the international protection process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19399/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1429 and 1430 together.
My Department is committed to achieving efficiencies to reduce processing times for international protection applications of both first instance decisions and appeals to 6 months respectively as advised by the Catherine Day Advisory Group and as outlined in the recently published White Paper to End Direct Provision and to Establish a New International Protection Service.
I have established a Programme Board in my Department to oversee the implementation of recommendations of the Advisory Group relevant to my department’s areas of responsibility, as appropriate, including the recommendations relevant to implementing the White Paper. It is supported by an Implementation Working Group comprising senior officials from the relevant areas of my department to support their implementation and to report to the Board on progress at regular intervals.
Work is underway in my Department towards identifying mechanisms which will assist with working towards improved processing times. Additional ICT resources have been secured for 2021 and detailed work including an end-to-end review of processes to guide enhanced processing times is underway. When this first phase of work has been carried out it will enable a more detailed set of milestones to be put in place.
The Advisory Group's recommendation in relation to applicants who will have been two years or more in the system being granted leave to remain, will be considered in the context of the ongoing analysis of progress. In relation to the current backlog of international protection cases, my Department intends, in the first instance, to prioritise processing of all cases using improved processes and the planned ICT investment in the system.
My Department will, by October 2022 at the latest, commence a review of progress made in reducing and improving processing times and based on the outcome of that review, decide by the end of 2022, whether additional measures are required in order to ensure that the new system can come into operation without the overhang of any significant number of legacy cases.