Wednesday 23 January 2019

Printer and ink audit for health HQ costs €16k

Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Damien Eagers
Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Damien Eagers

Mark O'Regan

More than €16,000 was spent on a special report to establish the number of printers - and the amount of ink - Department of Health staff will require when they relocate to new headquarters.

And a special consultants report commissioned to optimise IT systems at the new HQ set taxpayers back €104,000, new records obtained by the Sunday Independent reveal.

A further €52,000 has been allocated to provide wireless internet for staff.

The Department of Health is set to move in the coming months from Hawkins House in central Dublin to new offices in Baggot Street.

However, civil servants have expressed concern about leaving their current location because of the open-plan office layout that awaits them at their new HQ.

The Department of Health will not be the only tenant in the building. It will be shared with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, along with staff from other government departments.

It was originally envisaged that Department of Health staff would move into their new headquarters, known as the Miesian Plaza, early this year. However, sources say the relocation is now likely to take place at the end of June.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will relocate in March.

Financial records show that €16,605 was spent last November on a special 'print audit'. Sources say this was carried out as part of a wider drive towards greater efficiency.

"At the moment there are a lot of printers scattered around the place," one source said.

"Some people currently have personal printers. However, in order to drive more efficiency, and reduce paper, we're moving to what's called a managed print service.

"Effectively, third-party companies will provide the printers and toner when the move happens.

"From the secretary general down, nobody is going to have individual printers in the new building.

"So an audit was carried out to see how much ink will be used, and how many printers are required."

Seventy one 'single occupancy' offices will be provided for certain members of staff, including Health Minister Simon Harris.

The Miesian Plaza site was once home to the Bank of Ireland's headquarters. The buildings were mostly vacated in 2008 and subsequently bought by businessman Larry Goodman in 2012. In total, it will house an estimated 900 civil servants.

Roughly 70pc of offices across the US are defined as open-plan, with the Irish workplace quickly catching up.

A Department of Health spokesperson said no staff would receive 'disturbance money' arising from the move to the new offices.

Sunday Independent

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