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.
18 June 2020
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.