Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (275)

Shane Cassells

Question:

275. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount spent on purchasing mobile telephones for staff in his Department for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade; if his Department has a contract with a mobile telephone company (details supplied) to supply mobile telephones if needed; if so, the name of the company; the date on which the contract for the supply of mobile telephones to his Department is next due to expire; and the robust steps taken to ensure that the costs incurred on work related telephones are the best value for the taxpayer. [47929/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department currently has a contract with Eir to supply mobile phones, which expires in May 2020. In addition, my Department has a small number of staff utilising the Vodafone (currently 1 staff) and Three (currently 2 staff) networks in order to address signal coverage-related issues.

In order to ensure that the costs incurred on work related phones are the best value for the taxpayer, my Department has taken advantage of preferential rates as a result of utilising the Office of Government Procurement's mobile phone services framework. Mobile phones are only issued on foot of a business case from the Head of Function and are relevant to the role that the officer occupies. Mobile phone handsets are procured along with a monthly tariff bundle for calls, texts and data. Different tariffs are chosen depending on the individual usage of the staff member and are chosen to give the best value to the taxpayer. Handsets were refreshed during 2018 and a suitable device was chosen at an initial cost of €129 per device. 22 staff availed of an option to upgrade the proposed supplied device, and paying the difference between the cost price and €129. The figures listed in the table for handsets also include replacement and repairs during those years. Officials in my Department monitor the cost of usage of mobile phones on a monthly basis and staff are requested to indicate non-work related charges and to reimburse those to the Department.

When roaming for business purposes outside of the EU, staff are placed on specific 'add on' mobile tariff rates for the duration of their trip to help reduce costs. Staff are encouraged to utilise secure WiFi in non-EU destinations when data is required. Staff also use Departmentally supplied mobile data hotspots for data access during their trip - the cost of usage of these devices is significantly lower than roaming data charges.

Details of the amount spent on purchasing mobile phones for staff within my Department for work-related business in the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 are provided in the table. The figures by grade include some charges for handsets but also include charges for calls, data usage and roaming. Direct handset costs are listed in the last line of the table.

Grade

2016€

2017€

2018€

2019 (to end Oct)€

Minister (and Advisors)

3,432.28

2,628.70

1,111.39

1,158.41

Secretary General

1,929.99

1,055.90

2,792.37

148.91

Assistant Secretary

5,598.44

2,206.38

1,582.28

1,472.61

Principal Officer (or equivalent)

9,813.91

9,705.68

8,695.10

6,148.98

Assistant Principal (or equivalent)

24,092.93

22,611.08

22,138.79

16,112.51

Higher Executive Officer

4,387.05

5,559.99

4,531.26

2,964.16

Administrative Officer

213.41

273.63

189.83

253.60

Executive Officer

2,037.61

1,847.84

1,790.46

1,040.89

Clerical Officer

708.16

519.98

564.77

394.81

Service Officer

849.90

631.44

974.23

800.49

Handset costs

1,660.50

2,025.81

18,525.67

3,392.40