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Departmental Staff

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland of 22 June 2006, Official Report, columns 2046-47W, on sickness absence, how many and what percentage of staff on loan to the Scotland Office from her Department have had more than two periods of sickness of less than five days in each of the last three years. (89186)

The DCA is responsible for maintaining absence data in respect of its staff working at the Scotland Office. Only a small percentage of the staff working at the Scotland Office is employed by DCA, the majority being employees of the Scottish Executive. Of those staff that are employed by DCA, 20 per cent. have been absent due to sickness for fewer than five days on more than two occasions in each of the last three years. In order to protect the identity of those members of staff, given that the 20 per cent. figure is based on a very small group of employees, it is not possible to provide details of the number of staff to whom this 20 per cent. relates.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2006, Official Report, column 2074W, on departmental staff, how many staff in her Department were disciplined as a result of poor sickness records in each of the last three years. (89190)

The number of sickness absence days is recorded by the Department. However the way in which individual absences are managed is not recorded centrally. Managers are expected to manage all instances of employee absence appropriately, whether through rehabilitative or disciplinary channels, but are not required to report on the numbers of staff that are subject to either process. To obtain this information from managers would incur disproportionate costs.

The Department remains committed to managing sickness absence effectively, and to ensuring that managers are equipped to carry out their responsibilities effectively in this arena.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what tax-efficient schemes for the purchase of bicycles her Department makes available to its employees; how many and what percentage of her Department's staff purchased bicycles through such schemes in 2005-06; whether the schemes are available through a range of suppliers; and whether arrangements are made to enable staff with disabilities to purchase adapted bicycles from a specialist supplier. (90069)

My Department does not participate in the cycle-to-work scheme nor do we currently offer any tax-efficient schemes for the purchase of bicycles. Therefore no staff have purchased bicycles through such a scheme in 2005-06. However, we are currently undertaking a Department-wide review of pay and grading and it is possible that the cycle-to-work scheme will be considered as part of that review. The Department currently offers staff the facility of an interest-free loan to purchase a bicycle.