Day-to-day staffing issues, such as temporary promotions, are the responsibility of management, not Ministers. However, I am aware that temporary promotions are routinely used across the Northern Ireland Civil Service Departments as cover for vacant posts, where there is a clear business need and no immediate alternative available. Temporary promotions are, as the name suggests, temporary arrangements that are intended to be in place only until a permanent appointment can be made.
At the end of February, my Department had 159 temporary promotions in place from a workforce of 2,973 staff. That represents 5% of the workforce and is below the Northern Ireland Civil Service average of 9%. Indeed, my Department has the lowest percentage of temporary promotions in place across the Northern Ireland Civil Service. The Department for Infrastructure departmental board regularly monitors the number of temporary promotions across the Department. My officials are also working with the Civil Service Human Resources to do what is required to fill all affordable vacancies as quickly as possible.