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Six months a-waiting - the PSC will finally be removed as a requirement for a theory test on 31 August

How much it’s costing to do so is another matter however.

psc The Public Services Card

THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT that a person must hold a Public Services Card in order to obtain a driver theory test is finally to be done away with by the end of this month.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has confirmed that 31 August has been set as the date for the changeover.

The mandatory nature of the PSC in order to get a theory test has been in jeopardy ever since the government rolled back on plans to make the PSC a mandatory requirement for getting a driving licence in March.

An initial scoping period of eight weeks was set out for the project to revert theory test applications to how they were before the PSC requirement was brought in in June 2017.

At end August, that process will have taken nearly six months.

Repeatedly

At present, though the RSA has repeatedly stressed that the PSC requirement is to be removed, a prospective driver can not get a theory test without a card.

Documents released under Freedom of Information in recent weeks have shown a deal of consternation within the authority as to how much the reversal of the theory test requirement might cost.

1 The PSC is still listed as a requirement on the Driver Theory Test's web portal Source: TheoryTest.ie

“The cost of the change has not been decided at this point. Discussions and final identification of the preferred solution are continuing,” an RSA spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

They further stated that an extra charge of €20,000 was added to the contract with Prometric, the company with responsibility for delivering the driver theory test, upon the original introduction of the mandatory requirement.

It is not expected that the reversal of the requirement will increase the cost of a theory test (currently €45), a worry that had been expressed by RSA officials in recent times.

“All aspects of the change are not yet finalised but we are not anticipating an increase in the cost of the theory test,” the spokesperson said.

They also added that no alternative to MyGovID - the card’s online alter ego - is currently being planned with regard to the online renewal of driving licences, a service that went live at the end of June (it had initially been projected to go live on 30 April).

‘Verified’

8 Driving licence online renewal advisory notice Source: NDLS

4 Advice screen asking person looking to 'verify' MyGovID to attend their local INTREO office Source: MyGovID

While about three-quarters of the population have a PSC (according to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection), just 3% of currently-licensed drivers possess a ‘verified’ PSC – one in which the owner’s address and identity has been further verified online via MyGovID.

In order to renew a licence at present, a person’s PSC must have been so verified.

In recently released documents the RSA had confirmed “indeed we are likely to have to build an alternative to MyGovID for non PSC holders”, presumably because so few people have verified their card, a process which can often involve having to make an appearance at a social welfare (INTREO) centre.

Since the expansion of the card was first announced in May 2017, it has been the subject of persistent criticism from privacy professionals and advocates as to its fundamental legality, amongst other concerns.

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