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.
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.
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.