Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (91)

Joan Burton


91. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach if his Department has prepared written guidelines for staff and the public for dealing with transgender matters; if they are published; if staff have received training in respect of this; and if his Department is participating in or making a submission regarding the review being undertaken in respect of the operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015. [7576/18]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The delivery of effective, quality customer service is a priority for my Department and forms an integral part of my Department's Strategy Statement, Corporate Governance Framework and the business plans of individual Divisions within the Department. While my Department is primarily engaged in policy development and does not have the same level of contact with citizens as other Departments, staff in the Department of the Taoiseach endeavour to provide a high level of service to all citizens who they interact with.

My Department is also committed to protecting dignity and respect of all its employees and to maintaining a positive working environment. As part of my Department’s induction process, all employees are asked to read ‘Dignity at Work - An anti bullying, harassment and sexual harassment policy for the Irish Civil Service’. This document was developed in partnership between the Civil Service management and the staff panel of unions. The key aims of this policy are to achieve a work environment where dignity and respect are to the forefront of our values and to ensure that each individual is aware of his/her responsibility to behave in a way that reflects a culture of dignity and respect. Training on unconscious bias is also provided for staff in my Department.

While my Department has not prepared written guidelines for staff and the public in dealing specifically with transgender matters, my Department's policies on customer service and dignity at work are designed to ensure that customers and employees of the Department are treated at all times with dignity and respect.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is leading on the review of the Gender Recognition Act and has appointed a Review Group comprising stakeholder groups and relevant departments. While my Department is not directly involved at this stage of the process, it will support the cross-departmental work through the Cabinet Committee structure as required.