Scottish Public Pensions Agency workplace arrangement during 2020: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. For the period of lockdown (between March 23rd 2020 – January 2021 ), please answer the following questions regarding the staff in (XXXX government department) – if a question isn’t possible to answer in the time allowed, please let us know:

1.a What is the total number of civil servants (excluding third party contractors such as cleaners, security etc) in the department?

1.b Of the department staff whose roles could have been performed from home – i.e. who did not have to be in the office in order to perform their jobs AND would not usually be expected to travel for work – how many couldn’t work from home during lockdown due to device or connectivity issues (such as insufficient or unreliable broadband connectivity at home, or not having access to a suitable laptop or smartphone)?

1.c How many department staff were put on furlough for some or all of the lockdown period?

1.d How many staff could not perform their roles from home and so had to come into their regular workplace during lockdown?

1.e How many staff were able to work from home during lockdown?

1.f If possible, how many staff were restricted from full activities due to home devices not being capable of accessing secure information (such as information classified ‘Official Sensitive’, ‘Secret’ and ‘Above Secret’)

2. The next questions relate to IT spending:

2.a What was the department’s budgeted IT spend for the last tax year (April 2019 - January 2021)

2.b How much was spent to get people online between March 23rd 2020 - January 2021

2.c Did the department have to request extra budget in order to respond to Covid-19?

2.d If possible, how much extra budget did the department have to request?

2.e If possible, how much was spent per person on internet and connectivity

3. Out of the following services, please let us know: i) which (if any) were used by staff who were working from home, and which (if any) staff were not permitted to use due to security concerns?

3.a Zoom
3.b Skype
3.c Microsoft Teams
3d BlueJeans
3.e WebEx
3.f Google Hangouts
3.g Were any other technologies used not listed above

4. For the same period as the other questions (i.e. March 23rd 202 – January 2021), was the department’s minister ever unable to join meetings, virtual parliament or select committees as a result of technical issues such as device or connectivity problems? If yes please specify the number of occurrences.

5. If possible, how often did employees in your department experience the following during the lockdown (between March 23rd 2020 – 31 January 2021) which affected their ability to communicate:

5.a Connectivity failures that meant staff couldn’t communicate

5.b Slow connection speeds

5.c Lack of appropriate equipment where people were working – e.g suitable laptops or smartphones for secure video calls, or fast enough home broadband

5.d Broader communications outages e.g. the virgin media outage on June 25th


Question 1
Q1.a As at 30 January 2021 – Three hundred and twenty one (321)
Q1.b One person (1)
Q1.c None (0)
Q1.d Six business support staff work in the office on a rotational basis to perform set
functions. A further twelve visit the workplace on an occasional, pre-arranged basis to
carry out tasks that cannot be done from home i.e. setting up laptops for new starters.
Q1.e Three hundred and twenty (320)
Q1.f None (0)
Question 2
Q2.a 2020/21 SPPA IT Resource Budget: £2,058k
2020/21 SPPA IT Resource Budget Jan-21 YTD: £1,426k
Q2.b No extra costs of getting staff online so that they could work from home as a result of
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q2.c The SPPA did not have to request extra budget from the Scottish Government in order
to be able to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q2.d Not applicable (see response to c. above).
Q2.e Not applicable (see response to c. above).
Question 3
Q3. Only Skype, Webex and Microsoft Teams are permitted on the Scottish Government
Question 4
Q4. On this occasion SPPA do not hold the requested information. For clarification SPPA is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, rather than a Government department and while the responsibility for Agency falls within the portfolio of the Minister for Trade, Innovation and Public Finance, the Minister's private office function does not sit within SPPA.
Question 5
Q5.a On this occasion SPPA do not hold the requested information and we are applying exemption 17(1), however you may wish to contact iTECS at iTECS, Scottish Government, K1 Spur, Saughton House, Edinburgh EH11 3XD as they provide information regarding network services
Q5.b Please see the response to Q5.a above
Q5.c All SPPA staff supplied with necessary equipment within one week. One member of
SPPA staff, due to personal circumstances has no broadband connectivity at home.
Q5.d Please see the response to Q5.a above.

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

Back to top