Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ceisteanna (683, 684)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

683. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff assigned in his Department to the press office, public relations or communications roles in each year since 2015; the positions by staffing grade and designated role; when each new position came into existence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11706/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

684. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a panel has been established in his Department for communications officers; if a Civil Service position of head of communications or similar role or description has been appointed in his Department; if so, when the appointment occurred; the grade at which it occurred; the reason for same; the policy basis for same; the person that approved the appointment; his plans to make such an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11722/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 683 and 684 together.

There are currently 8 staff assigned to press office and communications roles in my Department.  This area is managed by a Principal Officer who also has additional duties as part of his role.  This number has been broadly consistent since 2015. 

Staff in this area have a wide range of responsibilities including dealing with media queries and other standard press office duties and supporting public and stakeholder consultations. In addition, these staff are responsible for issues related to both internal Departmental and external communications, desktop publishing, quality customer service, social media and other general communications functions. To this end, the Department's Intranet site and the Department's website have both been redesigned in this time period.  The communications area was restructured at the start of 2018 and this is reflected in the tables below.

In 2016, a Communications Officer at Assistant Principal grade was appointed to cover the area of the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive.  This role had previously been filled on a contract basis. This role has now been subsumed into a role encompassing wider communications duties.

All appointments are made in line with the appropriate guidelines set out by the Commission for Public Service Appointments. Workforce planning is carried out in my Department on an ongoing basis which enables the HR team to manage the overall staffing numbers and individual assignments in consultation with managers across the organisation.

The information sought in relation to the staff numbers, grades and roles is set out in the following tables. It is important to note that team members will often be called upon to assist wherever the priority applies at a given time and, therefore, it is possible that functions will be carried out by any of the officials, as necessary.

 End of 2015

 Number of Staff

 Role

 Assistant Principal

1 - Head of Communications and Media

1 - Communications Officer in relation to the implementation of EU Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework   Directives.

 Higher Executive Officer

 3

1 - Press Office duties

2 - Internal and external communications   including redesign of Departmental intranet, management of Department Website, public and stakeholder consultations, desktop publishing.

 Executive Officer

 1

 Press Office duties 

 Clerical Officer

 2

 

1 - Press Office duties

1 - General Communications

 Total

 8

 

End of 2016

Number of Staff

Role

 Assistant Principal

1 - Head of Communications and Media

1 - Communications Officer in relation to the implementation of EU Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework   Directives.

 Higher Executive Officer

 3

1 - Press Office duties

2 - Internal and external communications including redesign of Departmental intranet, management of Department Website, public and stakeholder consultations, desktop publishing.

 Executive Officer

 1

 Press Office duties

 Clerical Officer

 2

1 - Press Office duties

1 - General Communications

 Total

 8

 

End of 2017 

Number of Staff 

 Role

 Assistant Principal

 2

1 - Head of Communications and Media

1 - Communications Officer in relation to the implementation of EU Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework   Directives.

 Higher Executive Officer

 2

1 - Press Office duties

1 - Internal and external communications including management of Departmental intranet and Website, public and   stakeholder consultations, desktop publishing.

 Executive Officer

 1

 Press Office duties

 Clerical Officer

 2

1 - Press Office duties

1 - Internal Communications

 Total

 7

 

 End of Feb 2018

Number of Staff 

Role 

 Assistant Principal

1 - Internal Communications and Departmental   engagement including public consultations, stakeholder engagement, social media. 

1 - Development of longer term communications approach for the Department.

 Higher   Executive Officer

 2

1 - Press Office duties

1 - Internal and external communications including management of Departmental intranet and Website, public and   stakeholder consultations, desktop publishing.

 Executive   Officer

 2

Press Office and other general communications duties 

 Clerical   Officer

 2

1 - Press Office duties

1 - General Communications

 Total

 8