HomeData Protection GuidelinesUse of PPS numbers

Use of PPS numbers

There is a strict statutory basis providing for the use of PPS numbers allowing organisations use the PPS Numbers in support of a provision of a public service to a customer. The Department of Social Protection manages the issuing and use of PPS Numbers.

The PPS Number is therefore a confidential and important piece of personal information, and all use of it is prescribed principally by the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005, or specific sectoral focused legislation such as that relating to tax legislation. The Social Welfare Consolidation Acts prescribe that the PPS Numbers may only be processed by specified and name public bodies for specified purposes. (The Department of Education and Skills, NCSE, NEWB, Education and Training Boards (ETBs), institutes of technology and some universities are listed and are registered with the Department of Social Protection as users of PPS Numbers. Click here for further information.

The Department of Social Protection is responsible for the allocation of PPS Numbers. A number of ‘Specified Bodies’ are entitled to access and use of PPS Numbers. These bodies are listed in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005. A school recognised under the Education Act is recognised as a ‘specified body’ within the meaning of the 2005 Act. However it should be noted that the Act provides that a PPS Number should only be sought where it is relevant and is required. 

Parents/guardians should be advised in writing that the school is collecting the student’s data (including PPS number) and sharing that data with the Department of Education and Skills. The Department of Education and Skills have prepared a number of “Fair Processing Notices” to explain how the personal data of pupils (including their PPS Numbers) in the Primary Online Database (POD) and Post-Primary Online Database (P-POD) will be recorded, processed and shared. Click here for further information