In my blog last month I mentioned how challenging it is for us all to come to terms with what is going on. In many ways, and over four weeks later, many of those challenges remain.

As Civil Servants we are all trying to adapt and adjust to the current circumstances and conditions. Many of you are having to self-isolate, many of you are working from home, and many of you are still in workplaces providing essential services to citizens and businesses. 

None of this is easy or straightforward especially when coupled with family and caring responsibilities. The challenges for us socially and economically are huge and the work of the Civil Service is more important now than ever before.

I thank each and every one of you as you continue to give your best in these difficult circumstances.

It is so important that we continue to provide public services but we must do so in line with the latest guidance. Safety has always been our number one priority – and that remains the case.

Over the last six weeks we have all experienced huge changes in our day to day life, including the way we work.

Over the last two years, the Civil Service has been striving to change the way it works, including the provision for staff to work more flexibly and remotely. This has meant we have been able to respond quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure service delivery has continued more or less as normal. Our services and working practices will continue to evolve in the future with more digital services coming online. This means staff will be able to work efficiently from remote locations to serve citizens.

You will have heard the UK Government’s update on COVID-19, and our Executive has published its plan for a phased, strategic approach to recovery.

Right now the message remains the same. We must stay at home and save lives.

The Executive will face some of the most challenging decisions in the days and weeks ahead.

I will keep you updated and will continue to work with stakeholders, including Trade Unions, to maintain colleagues’ safety as this situation evolves.

In the meantime, the advice remains the same. Please continue to keep in touch with your line manager and stay up to date with the latest information and advice for NICS colleagues on the Department of Finance website.

Thank you very much for your continued support in these exceptional times.

David Sterling

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