I propose to take Questions Nos. 180 and 181 together.
As Civil Servants, staff in my Department have a responsibility to ensure that their work is carried out to the highest possible standards at all times.
The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour, which was introduced in accordance with the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 sets out a framework within which all Civil Servants must carry out their duties. The Code upholds the core values of honesty, integrity, equality, fairness, respect and impartiality.
Under Section 20 of the Code, all Civil Servants must obtain approval from the Secretary General of the Department prior to taking up an offer of appointment or consultancy following retirement or resignation from the Civil Service. My Department has a strong culture of providing the best possible service to citizens and staff in my Department are aware of their obligations under the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour, both during and post-employment as Civil Servants.
It has not been possible to ascertain, in the time available, the exact number of staff who have left the Department who were or were not covered by the cooling-off period. This information is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.