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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Ministers' Private Offices

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons the attendance of additional private office staff in his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street was (a) required from the beginning of June 2020 and (b) not required from 21 April 2020 when hybrid proceedings began in the House of Commons.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what date his Department decided that additional private office staff would need to attend his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street in person to undertake work in connection with the return to physical voting in the House of Commons.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what date his Department's human resources team was informed that additional private office staff may be required to attend his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street in person to undertake work.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what date his Department's estates team was informed that additional private office staff may be required to attend his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street in person to undertake work.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what guidance on covid-19 social distancing measures his Department complied with when deciding on the steps to take prior to asking staff who have been working at home during the covid-19 outbreak to return to work in the office.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what risk assessments his Department undertook prior to the decision that additional private office staff may return to work in his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street in connection with the return to physical voting in the House of Commons; and if he will publish those risk assessments on his Department's website, redacted to protect personal data.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the reasons given to his Department's (a) people, capability and change team and (b) estates team for requiring additional private office staff to work in his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street in connection with physical voting in the House of Commons.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether instructions issued to his Department’s (a) people, capability and change team and (b) estates team on the requirement for additional private office staff to work in person in his Department’s office at 2 Marsham Street in connection with the return of physical voting in the House of Commons were subsequently changed.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what date his Department's (a) people, capability and change team and (b) estates team was given for the commencement of work by additional private office staff in his Department's office at 2 Marsham Street in connection with physical voting in the House of Commons.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether private office staff in his Department's (a) people capacity and change team and (b) estates team were provided with dates for their return to the workplace during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

A small number of Private Office staff have been working out of 2 Marsham Street on some days of the week since 22 April in support of Ministers and their attendance at Parliament in line with Cabinet Office guidance for Private Offices and Parliamentary Clerks. These staff have volunteered to work out of 2 Marsham Street.

Advice was communicated to these staff on social distancing measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Ministerial team and Private Office staff.

The Private Office team, the People, Capability and Change team and the Estates team have regularly discussed the need for the presence of Private Office staff as part of its business continuity preparations for COVID-19 and as it became clear that hybrid proceedings would potentially start in the House of Commons. These discussions have continued as the House of Commons operations have evolved to include physical voting. No instructions have been issued to the People, Capability and Change team nor to the Estates team on the return of Private Office staff as these decisions are taken by line managers as part of our business continuity arrangements.

Line managers have discussed with Private Office staff the return to 2 Marsham Street to support Ministers as it became clear that proceedings would potentially start in the House of Commons. Return dates were agreed with staff and line managers as staffing requirements became clear.

A risk assessment is being completed to support the return of MHCLG staff to offices in line with the BEIS guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments published on 11 May. For the time being the vast majority of MHCLG staff continue to work from home.

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