The Deputy has waited patiently to contribute. The response to the Covid-19 crisis was swift, with many civil and public servants transitioning to working from home at very short notice. This was an unprecedented action but it was entirely necessary to ensure the health and well-being of staff across the system was protected as best we could.
Most Departments and offices, including my Department, would have had remote access solutions or systems in place and issued mobile devices such as laptops and tablets before the pandemic. In my Department, approximately 97% of staff are enabled to work from home, with most of the other client organisations of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer at between 80% to 95% staff remote working coverage.
No additional expenditure allocations have been provided to Departments to facilitate working from home arrangements or flexible working hours across the Civil Service in response to Covid-19. Any additional funding incurred by Departments, including in respect of information technology resources required, is to be met from within existing resources, and they have done so. The management of resources in this regard is a matter for each individual Department and Minister.
With regard to my Department specifically, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, which is an office of the Department, has spent €267,000 to date on capital equipment for the Department, including for itself, from its Vote. The vast majority of this expenditure relates to facilitating staff to work remotely through the purchase of information technology equipment. This cost is being met internally through existing capital budgets by reprioritising expenditure. My Department has also spent €22,000 on remote working equipment from its own Vote to date.