From platform to pockets: getting payments to people in need
When the pandemic hit, the economic impact was devastating. As nations went into lockdown, companies closed, with enormous consequences for employees and their families.
In Ireland, an unprecedented number of people sought financial help, putting huge pressure on the government to respond. Existing benefit provisions would not suffice – it needed something different.
Deloitte, in partnership with the Department of Social Protection, was able to respond and, together, we ensured essential payments got to those in need.
As hastily enforced restrictions tried to slow the spread of COVID-19, thousands of people found themselves out of work.
“Almost 85 per cent of businesses in Ireland had to scale back or close in 2020,” explains Deloitte Ireland manager Tara Reilly. “It speaks to the volume of citizens whose incomes were impacted as a direct result of the pandemic.”
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme offered financial support to those who needed it most. But the sheer volume of claims – and the limitations on the existing service delivery channels due to government restrictions – meant the Department knew it needed something radical to meet demand.
"We were able to make an impact not only for our client as they responded to the pressures of the pandemic but for some of the most-affected citizens of Ireland."
manager, Deloitte Ireland
The making of MyWelfare
Back in 2015, a team of designers, developers and business analysts from Deloitte Ireland had worked with the government to create the cloud-based platform MyWelfare to offer citizens a range of services, including out-of-work payments and child benefits. Designed to handle thousands of applications, it had the capability to deliver PUP at the scale required.
“There was more than a 3,000 per cent increase in users on the platform compared to the same period in 2019,” continues Tara, “so it was critical we scaled the system to handle such a huge volume.”
Working with the client, Deloitte was able to design, develop and launch an online application service for PUP in a matter of days, ensuring there were no delays in people receiving the financial benefit. Less than a week after the government announced the scheme, PUP had processed over 60,000 payments.
PUP payments totalling €210 million made in one week alone
Millions in financial support
Our team continued to enhance the online PUP application service on the MyWelfare platform during the pandemic to reflect updated government guidance and legislation changes. It also introduced additional services related to the PUP scheme. This included a PUP certification service brought in to verify claimants’ current circumstances to ensure they were still eligible to receive the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The team extended the system to check essential information, such as whether people had returned to work or moved away from Ireland and no longer qualified for payments.
Throughout 2020, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grew, over 1.2 million citizens engaged with these new digital services for PUP. At its peak, more than 605,000 people received PUP payments in a single week, totalling in excess of €210 million.
Altogether, working across both the customer-facing functions and the back end, we had teams comprised of colleagues from Business Operations, Customer and Marketing and Human Capital, bringing the best of Deloitte to the Department.
The PUP scheme was a success thanks to the flexibility and agility of the MyWelfare platform to grow and meet demand. What was an unprecedented and challenging situation was made a little bit easier, with Ireland's citizens able to use a fast and efficient service to get the money they needed.