Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) home working policy: FOI release

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

Information requested

The following in relation to working from home during the pandemic:

1. To be provided in MS Excel/spreadsheet format:
The number of employees in your organisation and, of these, the number able to perform their work remotely (i.e., not those who are front-line workers) and the number who have started returning to in person work.:

Number of employees

Of which are able to work from home

Of which have returned to the office on a regular basis




The following questions refer to the members of the workforce who are able to work remotely. Please provide in spreadsheet or text format as appropriate:

2. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, what has been your organisational policy for employees working from home vs coming into work in person? Please explain this in terms of change to previous policy and how this has changed over the course of the pandemic. For example: “Prior to the pandemic, most staff were expected to work in person (except for managers who were able to work from home 2 days a week). When the pandemic started, all staff were sent to work from home, until August when some staff began to return to the office”.

3. Did your organisation have enough of the basic equipment needed for transitioning to remote working during the pandemic? If not – how long did it take to provide everyone with the basic equipment (laptops) they required and implement remote-working?

4. Did you provide further equipment at any point e.g. laptop stands, chairs, desks etc? If so what did you provide and was this based on a specified value (if so, how much was spent per remote worker)?

5. Has your organisation created a policy for reversing the option for working from home and/or creating new hybrid working patterns, or returning fully to ‘pre-pandemic’ practices? If yes, please provide details of your policy including how many days a week you will be aiming to have employees working in person and by what specific date or date range you are aiming to achieve this. Has this changed or been delayed considering the government briefing on 29th November regarding the new Omicron Covid variant and updated advice?

6. Did you consult your employees about their attitudes to returning to in person work? If so, please provide details of their responses (e.g. did you create a survey; if so, how many people responded and what % were in favour or against returning to the office)?

7. Have you implemented any changes to pay for those working from home and if so, please describe the average change in pay rates and who it applies to.
a) Were these changes implemented immediately or are you, for example, keeping current staff on the same pay but starting new remote employees on a lower rate?
b) On what rationale have you made changes to pay?


The answers to your questions are below and in the attached Excel document as requested.

1. Please see attached Spreadsheet.

2. While the office has opened for limited hybrid working, home working remains the default for most staff. Prior to the pandemic, staff worked from the office with the exception of a small number who had a homeworking contract. When the pandemic started, all staff except those who were not able to work from home were sent to work from home. Working from home was the default until hybrid working was introduced in November 2021. Those who were still going to the office were put on Rota Systems with a limited number of people attending daily.

3. Yes, the SPPA had enough basic home working equipment on site for smooth transitioning to remote working during the Pandemic. The IT Team successfully provisioned all staff with basic IT kit including Laptop, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse and Dock if requested. Within 2 weeks of the pandemic being announced all staff were provisioned to work from home before the lockdown was enforced.

4. Yes, the IT Team are still issuing equipment when necessary and needed, such as additional Monitors, Dock, mouse and keyboards. All the equipment is issued from stock. The Business Support team also provides staff additional equipment based on people’s needs working from home such as Desks, Chairs, Foot Rests and some DSE Equipment. The Business Support Team also ordered 60 Foldable desks each costing £75 + VAT from the Scottish Government. These are provided to staff who need them.

5. Yes, the SPPA has a policy for this.
a) The SPPA has created an information booklet with the policies for reversing the option for working from home and/or creating new hybrid working patterns, or returning fully to ‘Pre-Pandemic’ practices. You can find this information on an attachment to this letter. No targets have been set in regards to how many days a week that we aim to have employees working in person or any specific dates for this to be done by. SPPA employees have the freedom to continue working from home if they choose to do so, though office attendance has been encouraged in teams and zones to improve collaboration.
b) Since the Government briefing on the 29th November 2021 regarding the new Omicron Variant, changes have been put in place throughout the SPPA office. Attendance has been scaled back to ‘Business Critical and wellbeing needs only’ from the 6th of December 2021.

6. Two surveys were carried out by our Communications Team, the first was in April 2021 and was completed by 157 colleagues, of which 19% expressed a desire to work exclusively remotely and the remaining 81% expressed a desire to return to the office for a minimum of one day per week. This was followed by a second survey carried out between August and September 2021, which was completed by 237 colleagues. The result of this survey was similar to the initial survey: 22% of colleagues expressed a desire to work exclusively remotely, and the remaining 78% wished to return to the office for a minimum of one day per week. Both surveys included free text boxes that allowed colleagues to provide verbatim comments if they wished to do so.

7. There have been no changes in pay so questions 7A and 7B are there not applicable.

About FOI

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

FOI - 202100259888 - Information Released - Annex A
FOI - 202100259888 - Information Released - Annex B


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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