Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (510)

Réada Cronin

Question:

510. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Social Protection if special interpersonal or other relevant training has been given to staff dealing with the public in the context of the stress of Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8838/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The well-being of the Department's staff has been to the forefront in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. The huge impact on the organisation necessitated a new Well-being policy and associated delivery plan which was approved and supported by the Management Board in July 2020.

The strategic plan was developed centrally by the Department's Human Resources (HR) area with a dedicated unit being established to plan and manage health and well-being for its 6,500 staff. In addition, a staff led approach using information and suggested approaches from staff surveys and regional wellbeing champions has enabled the Department to roll out a focused and targeted programme to all staff in the Department during this challenging time.

The DSP HR Wellbeing Unit has offered supports in terms of webinars and initiatives in areas such as remote working, mental health, parenting during Covid-19, nutrition / motivation and suicide awareness to staff. The Unit will continue to provide similar initiatives in the coming months to support staff wellbeing .

HR also issued support guidelines to managers on how to manage staff remotely with a focus onensuring regular communications individually and in groups to ensure connectivity and real support to staff who may feel isolated, stressed or vulnerable.

Throughout the pandemic period, HR have also communicated the importance of staff taking regular rest periods and annual leave in an effort to help them manage their personal well-being. In addition, the Department works in partnership with the Civil Service Employee Assistance Service to increase awareness of best practice in relation to personal wellbeing and of the supports available to staff during Covid-19.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.