The recently published Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 Plan for Living with COVID-19 sets out five levels of a Framework for Restrictive Measures. The Framework provides for home working to continue where possible across the five levels. Civil Service Departments and Offices will continue with this arrangement where possible, and having regard to the differing requirements at each level of the Framework.
The Resilience and Recovery Plan also recognises the importance of public services, and highlights the need for civil and public service organisations to ensure they identify backlogs in service delivery and develop medium term "catch-up" plans. In this context, the continuation of important public services during COVID-19 is a priority for the civil service, and Departments and Offices will regularly assess whether workplace attendance is necessary in order to continue to provide services to the public, whilst at the same prioritising public health.
My Department developed guidance for civil service organisations - Working from Home during COVID-19 Guidance for Civil Service Organisations - in response to the requirement by Government for employees to work from home where possible during COVID.
The purpose of this guidance, which issued to civil service employers in June, was to support the health and wellbeing of employees; to ensure good practice has been followed by employees when working from home during COVID; and to support the regular and effective delivery of service.
The Government, has committed, in the Programme for Government, to mandating public sector employers to move to 20% home and remote working in 2021. In this context, my Department is now, as a matter of priority, working with employers across the civil service to develop the longer term approach to remote working in the sector. My officials are also working closely with the wider public sector to ensure a consistency of approach.