Rural Inspection Payment Division staff sickness: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02593
Date received: 30 October 2017
Date responded: 24 November 2017

Information requested

You made the following request for information:

  • What is the latest statistics on the number of sick days taken on average by the agricultural office staff?
  • Can I have this broken down by area office?
  • Do you have the average number of days taken as sick leave over the last few years?
  • Is it possible to ascertain the reasons for the sick days? I am interested to know how many are taken due to stress or other related problems.
  • What is the average number of sick days off for the public sector in general?


Our response covers staff who are based in the Rural Payments and Inspection Division area offices who are subject to Scottish Government terms and conditions of employment. It also covers Senior Civil Servants working in those areas.

The information requested is detailed below. I have included sickness absence expressed as Average Working Days Lost per Full Time Equivalent member of staff (AWDL/FTE), which allows comparisons between organisations of different sizes and across years when headcount fluctuations would lead to variations in total sickness absence.

The following definitions may be of aid in interpreting this information:

Scaled Sick Days: number of working days absence in the last 12 months, i.e. calculations exclude weekends and public and privilege holidays from the period of sickness. A weighting is also applied to spells over 125 working days to account for annual leave not taken and subtracts this, pro rata, from the number of days off sick (assumes a working year of 225 days). Includes all lengths of absence.

Staff Years: This is a decimal representation of the staff employed over the 12 month period, taking into account part-time hours and length of employment. e.g. 0.5 staff years could either represent a full year of 18.5 hours per week or 6 months working as a full time employee, or a combination of part-time and part-year.

AWDL / fte: Average working days lost / full-time equivalent. Scaled sick days divided by total staff years. Gives comparable figures for any size or level of organisational unit.

Table 1. Average Working Days Lost for directly employed staff in the Rural Payments and Inspection Division, by office for the last 3 years covering the period October to September.

Average Working Days Lost

Rural Inspection Payment Division Office Oct 14 to Sep 15 Oct 15 to Sep 16 Oct 16 to Sep 17
Customer Service Delivery - Ayr Area Office 5.7 5.4 8
Customer Service Delivery - Benbecula Area Office 14 1.6 4.4
Customer Service Delivery - Dumfries Area Office 4.1 5.3 7.1
Customer Service Delivery - Elgin Area Office 37.2 11.1 12
Customer Service Delivery - Galashiels Area Office 3.9 5.8 6.3
Customer Service Delivery - Golspie Area Office 7.8 7.3 6.3
Customer Service Delivery - Hamilton Area Office 3.5 1.4 1
Customer Service Delivery - Inverness Area Office 8.6 3.4 6.5
Customer Service Delivery - Inverurie Area Office 10.4 9.6 9.6
Customer Service Delivery - Kirkwall Area Office 2.2 3.1 3.3
Customer Service Delivery - Lerwick Area Office 11.2 4.7 4.2
Customer Service Delivery - Oban Area Office 5.3 4.1 8.5
Customer Service Delivery - Perth Area Office 4.9 4.1 3.5
Customer Service Delivery - Portree Area Office 4.8 4.3 6.6
Customer Service Delivery - Stornoway Area Office 6.9 17.7 6.7
Customer Service Delivery - Thurso Area Office 9.7 9.5 3.1
Customer Service Delivery - Tiree Area Office 8.3 2 3.3
All 7.5 6 6.5

We have grouped the area offices together to prevent the identification of individual staff members.

Table 2. Average Working Days Lost due to stress, anxiety and emotional upset for directly employed staff in the Rural Payments and Inspection Division, for the last 3 years covering the period October to September. Includes both work related and non-work related stress absences.

Average Working Days Lost - Due to Stress, anxiety & emotional upset

Rural Inspection Payment Division Office Oct 14 to Sep 15 Oct 15 to Sep 16 Oct 16 to Sep 17
All 1.45 0.75 0.54

Scottish Government overall sickness levels of 7.2 days per full time equivalent employee per year remain lower than the average levels for public services (9.8) and for all sectors (7.5) as reported by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) 2016 annual absence survey Absence Management Survey

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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