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'Dial-a-dole' system due for rollout by year-end

JOB seekers will be able to 'Dial for their Dole' by the end of this year as the Government is spending €1.03m on introducing the service.

The Department of Social Protection is attempting to shorten dole queues by allowing jobseekers to certify their unemployment through their mobile phones.

It is hoped that new mobile phone technology, which is costing €1,033,346, will ease the pressure which social welfare offices are experiencing because of the rapidly lengthening dole queues.

Trials of the service will commence before the end of 2010, and jobseekers will instead go through the usual certification process through their mobile phone.

To qualify for Jobseekers' Benefit or Jobseekers' Allowance, claimants have to regularly make a declaration that they are still unemployed, available for and actively seeking work.

A spokesperson told the Herald that clients will be able to register their details using the system, and selected clients will be phoned to establish their location and certification data.

"The Department will contact the Jobseeker's Allowance and Benefit claimants on their mobile phone, verify their location and identity and will then capture their certification details."


"This is a project to examine the potential to develop an additional channel for jobseekers' certification via the mobile phone."

The department says it will not go ahead with the new mobile phone system unless it is extremely reliable and easily controlled.

"Deployment will not proceed unless the solution offers at least the same level of control as existing processes," the spokesperson said.

The current estimated unemployment rate in Ireland is 13.4pc, with 432,500 currently out of work. Recent CSO figures showed that some 50,781 more people claimed unemployment benefit in April this year than in the same month last year.

With no signs of economic recovery in Ireland, the Department of Social Protection is looking at speedier ways for people to collect their dole.

However, the department does not yet know how many jobseekers will find the method more favourable than calling into the social welfare offices.

"It is difficult to estimate the potential take-up of the service, which will be deployed on a phased basis," a spokesperson explained.

Dole certification is carried out mostly on a monthly basis, but the department may alter that interval as time goes on, according to the spokesperson.