Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Questions (531)

Gary Gannon

Question:

531. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Justice the percentage or number of staff working with a disability within her Department and the agencies under her aegis in 2018, 2019 and 2020; and the actions being undertaken by her Department to actively recruit and retain persons with disabilities. [42148/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005 provides for a statutory report on the employment of people with disabilities in the public sector. This report is compiled by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, from information provided by all public bodies staffed by civil servants, and gives details of the number of people with a disability employed in the Civil Service. This report is submitted to the National Disability Authority (NDA).

I wish to inform the Deputy that my Department’s 2018 report indicated that 146 out of 2488 employees, or 5.9%, reported having a disability. The 2019 report indicated that 144 out of 2676 employees, or 5.4%, reported having a disability. This exceeds the current 3% target of employment of persons with disabilities set in the Disability Act 2005. Officials in my Department are currently preparing the 2020 return.

Considerable work is undertaken within my Department to retain staff with disabilities and to improve the quality of their experience within the work environment. Efforts across a range of areas such as role adjustments, redeployment in some cases, additional and specific training, physical work space adjustments and use of assistive technologies have enabled staff within my Department who have a disability to perform effectively in their role and make a meaningful contribution to the work of the organisation.

My Department follows the Civil Service Code of Practice on the employment of people with disabilities. My Department’s Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) is available to assist and support staff with disabilities, in confidence, and their line managers by providing information, guidance, and support, as well as assisting in the provision of reasonable accommodations. My Department will roll out Disability and Autism Awareness training to all staff next year in line with the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2121.  

At induction, new entrants are advised in relation to the role of the DLO and how the Department works to facilitate staff with disabilities. If additional training is required to facilitate an individual to meet the job requirements, the Corporate Learning Unit will source the training. My Department has purchased additional assistive technologies, which allow greater access to training and courses conducted within the organisation. All invitations to attend courses specifically ask participants to identify any special requirements.

The Deputy may also wish to note that my Department takes part in the Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) programme every year. WAM is an initiative of the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD), which offers a six-month paid mentored work experience placement to graduates with disabilities. My Department also participates in the Job Shadow Day initiative, which brings people with disabilities and local employers together for one day in the workplace.

With regard to the Deputy's question regarding the number or percentage of staff in my Department, this information is provided in tabular format below.

-

2018

2019

2020

Department of Justice

5.9%

5.4%

N/a*

An Garda Síochána**

3%

3%

3%

Courts  Service

3.2%

3.2%

3.3%

Judicial Council

0

0

0

Legal Services Regulatory Authority

0

3.7%

2.6%

Legal Aid Board

18 staff

7 staff

12 staff

* Currently preparing the 2020 return  

** This figure is an estimation from returns of the Staff Census form, which all Garda Staff employees are furnished with when they are commencing employment within An Garda Siochána. However, not all forms are returned. As it is at the staff members’ discretion if they choose to disclose a disability, the percentage may be higher, but the organisation has not been informed.

Please note that the "Department of Justice" figures shown in the table above include the following agencies/offices:

- Garda Inspectorate

- Insolvency Service of Ireland

- International Protection Appeals Tribunal

- International Protection Office

- Irish Film Classification Office

- Irish Prison Service

- Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

- Office of the Inspector of Prisons

- Office of the State Pathologist

- Parole Board

- Private Security Authority

- Probation Service

- Property Services Regulatory Authority.