Written Answers. - Civil Servants with a Disability.

Ivor Callely

Question:

147 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Finance the percentage of persons with a disability employed in the Civil Service; whether the Government intends to improve and develop such employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11930/96]

As of 1 October 1995, the most recent date for which data are available, the proportion of people with disabilities employed in the Civil Service was 3 per cent. The following tabular statement lists, by Department, the percentage of staff with a disability employed on 1 October 1995.

Each Head of Department is fully aware of the Government policy in relation to the employment of people with disabilities, which was reiterated in the Code of Practice for the Employment of People with Disabilities in the Civil Service, a copy of which is issued to all staff. The code of practice calls on all Government Departments to continue to play their full part in employing people with disabilities. In addition, since 1993, the Civil Service Commissioners have assigned a member of their staff as liaison officer for the recruitment of people with disabilities to the Civil Service to liaise with candidates, Departments and relevant specialised organisations.

The quota of 3 per cent applies to the Civil Service as a whole, not to individual Departments or grades. However, as can be seen from the list, the majority of Departments had 3 per cent or more disabled people on their staff as of 1 October 1995.

While the matter is kept continuously under review, there are no plans at the moment to alter the 3 per cent quota. The priority at present is to ensure that (a) the quota is maintained; and (b) the working environment in the Civil Service is such that staff with disabilities can contribute to their full potential.

The policy in relation to the employment of people with disabilities in the Civil Service is implemented by (a) from time to time holding competitions confined to people who are registered with, or entitled to be registered with, the National Rehabilitation Board as having a disability, (b) facilitating people with a disability when competing in open competitions not confined to people with a disability and (c) where possible, retaining staff who become disabled after their recruitment.
While the emphasis for some time has been on the achievement of the target quota, it is also important to ensure equality of treatment between staff with and without disabilities once in employment. With this in mind, the code of practice drawn up in 1993 covers issues such as recruitment, reception and integration into the workplace, career development, accommodation and equipment and safety and evacuation procedures. The ideas for the code of practice were developed in conjunction with the Civil Service unions, the relevant voluntary bodies and in consultation with staff with disabilities.
The Civil Service, as an employer, is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for people with disabilities, which includes ensuring that people with disabilities who are capable of effective performance in the jobs to which they aspire are not disadvantaged by reason of having a disability.
Percentage of Staff with Disabilities in the Civil Service as of 1 October 1995, shown by Department

Department/Office

% of Staff with a disability

%

Agriculture, Food & Forestry

2

Arts, Culture & the Gaeltacht

4

Defence

5

Education

3

Enterprise & Employment

4

Environment

3

Equality & Law Reform

6

Finance Group (i)

3

Foreign Affairs

3

Health

3

Justice Group

3

Marine

5

Office of Public Works (ii)

4

Office of the Tánaiste

0

Revenue Commissioners (ii)

2

Social Welfare

3

Taoiseach's Group (iii)

5

Tourism & Trade

3

Transport, Energy & Communications

3

Overall Total

3

(i) includes the Civil Service Commission, the Offices of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Ombudsman's Office, the President's Establishment, the State Laboratory, the Valuation Office and the Ordnance Survey in addition to the Department of Finance.
(ii) under the aegis of the Minister for Finance, but shown separately in view of the numbers of staff employed.
(iii) includes the Offices of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor, the Central Statistics Office and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in addition to the Department of the Taoiseach.