932. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice the steps being taken to facilitate remote working within her Department in particular to encourage remote working for those who live in the regions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42711/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Departments and Offices are currently working in line with Government COVID-19 guidance, which provides for home working to continue where possible. 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.
The proposed Blended Working Framework paper sets out a number of core principles to apply to blended working across the Civil Service post-COVID. Key to all this is the duty of Departments to deliver a quality service to Government, the Oireachtas and the public with flexibility and agility. There is recognition also of a need to create opportunities for people to balance their working and personal lives more effectively where possible.
Similar to our colleagues across the Civil Service, the Department of Justice has commenced work on developing its own blended working policy and arrangements, which take into account our specific business needs and requirements, while remaining grounded in the Civil Service Framework. Blended working arrangements are expected to be implemented by March 2022.
In the interim, the Department will begin the process of transitioning those staff who have been working remotely back to the workplace the 20th of September 2021. This transition phase will also help to inform future blended working policies and practice. All transition arrangements remain subject to change and are dependent on the public health advice in place during that time.