Scottish Government staff working from home during COVID-19 pandemic: FOI release

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

Information requested

The number of Scottish Government staff who have been allowed to work from a location outside of Scotland during the pandemic.

This should be staff members who would work in Scottish Government offices but have been required to work at home during the pandemic.

Please include all those who have travelled internationally and continued working for a location overseas, and those who have travelled to elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Please provide the number of staff, and also the location/country they have been working from.


In your request, you have asked for information about Scottish Government staff. This response therefore covers staff in the Core Directorates of the Scottish Government (see Annex A).

You have asked for information about staff working from a location overseas. The Scottish Government has staff working overseas as a matter of course – such as in our established international hubs, where staff are permanently based – and this has remained the case throughout the pandemic.

Requests from other staff to temporarily work from overseas, (that is, outwith the UK) are not routinely granted but can be authorised exceptionally and on a case by case basis where there are essential reasons for the travel, for example on compassionate grounds. Compassionate circumstances could include supporting family members following a bereavement or helping to care for family members where normal arrangements are not available or are disrupted due to the pandemic.

Since the easing of lockdown restrictions, 32 members of staff who would normally work in Scotland have worked, temporarily, from overseas. Of those, 13 are still currently working from abroad (as at the date of this letter).
In relation to the location of where staff were working, 31 individuals worked from EU/EEA areas. One person worked from outwith the EU/EEA.

At the end of June 2020, there were 7,119 full-time equivalent (FTE) directly employed staff in the Scottish Government core.

You have also asked for information about staff working elsewhere in the UK during the pandemic. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Where staff wish to work temporarily from elsewhere in the UK, the local business area would consider the request taking account of business needs. There is no requirement to inform HR.

Regardless of where people are working, our staff are expected to comply with government travel and public health advice at all times.

Core Directorates of the Scottish Government:

·Director-General Constitution and External Affairs

·Director-General Economy

·Director-General Education, Communities and Justice

·Director-General Health and Social Care

·Director-General Organisational Development and Operations

·Director-General Scottish Exchequer

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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