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Working Hours

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 15 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what policy on (a) core hours and (b) flexible working hours is operated by her Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which her Department is responsible. [107609]

Defra is committed to accommodating staff requests to work flexibly subject to the overriding needs of the Department. Flexible working hours are available to staff except where overriding business, operational or management requirements make this inappropriate. Most Defra staff are required to observe core hours (10–12 am and 2–4 pm) although pilot schemes are exploring how greater flexibility could be offered to staff without reducing operational efficiency.The position in the Agencies for which Defra is responsible is similar, although the Rural Payments Agency has recently introduced new flexible working arrangements on the basis of daily bands of 7.30 am to 7.30 pm without core hours. Defra sponsors a number of other public sector bodies, including 20 executive NDPBs. Information is not held centrally on their working hours arrangements and could only be obtained as requested at disproportionate cost.