As the Deputy is aware, and as outlined in my response to Question no. 171, part of my Department’s initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic involved social media listening to ensure that the Department could react effectively to issues as they arose in relation to services being provided across the Justice Sector. This involved two officials at Executive Officer and Clerical Officer level who followed “hashtags” and keywords that related to the Justice Sector as part of their wider day to day responsibilities.
This work meant my Department was in a position to respond earlier to issues that were arising online, when most of its workforce was working remotely. It also enabled my Department to respond to, or investigate issues, that were being raised on social media that were not being raised directly with the Department, its service providers, or through the various helplines or supports put in place for various agencies. Understanding the conversations that were happening online also assisted my Department in responding to queries raised by national and regional journalists on behalf of the public.
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department ceased this social media listening exercise earlier this year in July.