I have given the committee a detailed note on the business of the Department. I will briefly go through the main elements. I thank the committee for the opportunity to meet it and to set out the various areas in which we are involved. My colleagues, Mr. David Hegarty and Mr. Declan Hughes, are both members of the management board and can also contribute.
We operate against a very diverse background. We have a broad range of stakeholders, ranging from businesses to consumers to employees, and we lead on all of the key policies areas relevant to Covid-19 and enterprise, innovation, regulation and trade policy. We have 16 offices and agencies, all of which are working with us on the Covid-19 pandemic. We cover areas such as consumer protection, standards, health and safety and, obviously, enterprise and innovation supports. We have engaged across the board. We lead for the Government on economic analysis and on informing it in respect of the roadmap. We have published two reports on the latter in which we set out economic analysis of the scale of the challenge facing Ireland and the severe impact this has had on our economy.
From the earliest stage, we have responded to Covid-19. We have used every avenue possible. We have fast-tracked our employment permits section, brought in 1,800 health service workers and established a procurement working group to assist the HSE, and we are working with IDA Ireland and others to secure PPE with our colleagues across the Far East and China. We established a new supply chain unit to identify blockages and to leverage expertise from the science community and our stakeholder groups. We have also recently established a rapid response research and innovation programme with Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland to lead on solutions for Covid.
In terms of regulation, we have had a range of activities across our agencies, for example, the extension of deadlines by the Companies Registration Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland, as well as the SOLAS safe pass and various certification products to support companies as they find their way through this. For the business community, we established a Covid-19 business call centre through which we have had over 5,000 inquiries. We wrote to 230,000 companies to inform them of the supports available to them. Since the beginning of the crisis, the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, myself, senior officials and all sections of our Department have met on a regular basis with the business community. We have the enterprise forum and the retail forum, and we have met all affected groups, which has been hugely valuable to us in developing the supports we have developed.
Our business supports are tailored and they impact particularly on the SME and micro-enterprise sectors. There is a mix of grants, vouchers, low-cost loans and credit guarantees. We publish weekly data on all of the supports and their take-up. We see that, when combined with other supports like the write-off of commercial rates, wage subsidies and deferred tax liabilities, our overall package is aimed at improving cash flow, building confidence and assisting companies.
We have done a huge amount of work on health and safety in the workplace - working with the Labour Employer Economic Forum - and I have given the committee some details on that. The collaboration with the forum and with employers and workers has been central to our success to date. Just recently, we announced the deployment of more than 500 inspectors to work with the Health and Safety Authority, which is leading on that work.
As to other departmental work streams, obviously, there is legislation outstanding for some of our supports and we are working on this so it can be expedited for a new Government. We are working with the Company Law Review Group on all of the company law aspects, as well as working on all other aspects, such as credit insurance, commercial rents and remote working. At EU and international level, we lead on trade policy and, again, a huge number of issues have arisen which we are tackling. We are also involved in the rebuilding of the economy through Future Jobs Ireland and groups that have been set up, such as the senior officials group on economic recovery and the labour market group, and the National Skills Council.
From an internal point of view, we redeployed our staff very early and very quickly. We have made huge changes in our organisation and all of our practices are being delivered remotely.
I am enormously proud of the team that I lead and their commitment. They have absolutely turned themselves to support the public that we serve. Obviously within the time available this is a very high-level overview but I am very happy to take questions and answer any queries that members might have.