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Flexible Work Practices

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 9 September 2021

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Questions (324, 373, 375)

Carol Nolan


324. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the measures he is taking to promote or facilitate remote working for staff in his Department or bodies under the aegis of his Department; the costs this has generated in terms of the provision of laptops, desktop computers or contributions to Wi-Fi costs or phone-related expenses; the number of staff who have applied for permission to work from home on a permanent or hybrid-model basis (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41956/21]

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Dara Calleary


373. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the steps being taken to facilitate remote working within his Department in particular to encourage remote working for those who live in the regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42710/21]

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Holly Cairns


375. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the way in which his Department and public bodies and agencies under his remit are accommodating requests for persons to work from home. [42760/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 324, 373 and 375 together.

Departments and Offices are currently working in line with Government COVID-19 guidance, which provides for home working to continue where possible. Arrangements will be put in place in the coming weeks to allow for a gradual, staggered and physically distant return to the workplace for staff, as provided for in recently updated Government guidance. In respect of the longer-term, a central policy framework for Blended Working in the Civil Service will be finalised in conjunction with employee representatives over the coming months. This framework will inform the development of organisation level blended working policies tailored to the specific requirements of each Department/Office, whilst ensuring a consistency of approach across key policy areas.

My Department, in line with its ICT strategy, has adopted the Build to Share (BTS) Managed Desktop shared service provided by OGCIO – Office of the Government’s Chief Information Officer. End of life devices were replaced between 2019 and 2020 with laptops as per the Department’s Single Device Policy. My Department incurred an expense of €90,156 in mobile communication costs since March 2020 to support remote working. It is expected that future mobile communications costs will be minimised due to the adoption of the BTS Managed Desktop service, which includes a suite of communications tools that further support remote working at no additional cost.

Further, the Met Éireann Division of my Department purchased laptops, monitors and accessories for staff to facilitate remote/hybrid working during the pandemic. The total cost incurred was €153,671. While a number of staff within Met Éireann already had work phones, additional mobile phones were purchased to facilitate remote working during the pandemic. The total costs amounted to €14,822. Additionally, Met Éireann spent €1,042 on broadband expenses for individuals to work remotely.

As the Department is still operating within Government Covid-19 guidance, staff who can work from home are continuing to do so. Arrangements for post-pandemic blended working will be finalised in the Department’s Blended Working Policy, which will be developed based on the central policy framework.

With respect to the State bodies under the aegis of the Department, the information requested is not available within my Department and may be requested directly from the State bodies via their dedicated e-mail addresses for Oireachtas members, as set out in the table below.

Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Contact Details of State Bodies for Oireachtas Members

State Body

Contact E-mails

An Bord Pleanála

An Fóram Uisce (the Water Forum)

Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority

Docklands Oversight and Consultative Forum


Gas Networks Ireland

Heritage Council

Housing Finance Agency

Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency

Irish Water

Land Development Agency

Local Government Management Agency

National Oversight and Audit Commission

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee

Office of the Planning Regulator

Ordnance Survey Ireland

Property Registration Authority

Pyrite Resolution Board

Residential Tenancies Board

Valuation Office

Valuation Tribunal

Water Advisory Body

Waterways Ireland