The response to the Covid-19 crisis was swift, with many Civil and Public Servants transitioning to working from home at short notice. This was an unprecedented event, but was necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff across the system was protected, while maintaining quality and continuity in the provision of public services.
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 IT resources required is to be met from within existing resources. The management of resources in this regard is a matter for each individual Department and Minister. This approach will be maintained into 2021.
In relation to my own Department specifically, the OGCIO – 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 has been aimed at facilitating staff to work remotely through the purchase of IT 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.