Fórsa has contacted the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) seeking to represent staff there. It follows a recent report, published in the Irish Times, about the high number of staff suffering from trauma.
The report states that nearly 60% of DPP staff are suffering from medium to high levels of trauma as a result of the distressing nature of their work.
Unlike many other civil service areas the DPP has not established a Departmental Council, as envisaged by the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for the Civil Service.
In a letter to the DPP, Fórsa official Seán Carabini said: “I note that there are no support mechanisms established for staff who work with the difficult issues presented by some of the cases handled by the DPP, other than the basic support mechanisms that are available to all civil servants.
“Additionally, and to the best of my knowledge, there is no such specialised support mechanism in place within any of the civil service legal areas. I also note the low levels of assistance sought by DPP staff,” he said.
Seán has been meeting with staff representatives, both legal professionals and generalist civil servants, in recent weeks in order to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by the staff at the DPP, and to examine ways to better address the welfare of staff at the state prosecutor's office.
“I’ve established that many staff don't feel that they have the correct structures in place to be able to address many of their concerns. I’ve requested that the appropriate forum be established in order to provide a definitive route to allow staff matters to be understood and resolved, and to provide an ideal outlet to begin a broader conversation within the office about the issues highlighted by the trauma study,” he said.
Seán said these measures would allow all parties to work together to identify the supports that staff need, and to address any the cultural shift that may be required to ensure that the supports be used appropriately.
Nearly 60% of DPP legal staff are suffering from trauma - The Irish Times, 28th September 2019.