Scottish Governments Reasonable Adjustments Policy: FOI Release

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

Information requested

The Scottish Governments Reasonable Adjustments Policy.


In response to your request, the Scottish Government are committed to supporting staff to raise requests for workplace adjustments, including the right of disabled staff to make a request for reasonable adjustments and have them considered through our HR policies and processes.
References to workplace and reasonable adjustments and how to access them are incorporated in the operation of other HR policies including attendance, grievance and discipline. For example, the grievance policy states, “all staff have a right to request consideration of workplace adjustments in the grievance process.

The Scottish Government has a dedicated Workplace Adjustments Service Team, established in April 2022. The Workplace Adjustments Service has been created to help people who have circumstances which impact their work. These may be disabilities, health conditions or caring commitments. The Workplace Adjustment Service operates under the Social Model of Disability which involves focusing on and resolving the barriers colleagues face, as well as considering their health condition, disability or other circumstance.

The right to request workplace adjustments also incorporates the right to request reasonable adjustments.

Furthermore, the Workplace Adjustment Service facilitates the Scottish Government employee passport. The employee passport is one of the main mechanisms for raising requests for reasonable adjustments to be considered with support from the Workplace Adjustments Service. The employee passport provides a framework for employees to have a discussion with their manager to discuss their circumstances and agree any adjustments to support them. The purpose of the passport is to help build an inclusive and supportive work environment where everyone can perform at work at their best. It is part of our work to make the Scottish Government a much more inclusive employer and an employer of choice for disabled people. Further guidance on the Employee Passport can be found at Annex A.


The purpose of the employee passport:

Almost all of us will have circumstances, health conditions or commitments which impact our work at some point in our career.

An employee passport provides a framework for you to have a discussion with your manager to discuss these circumstances and agree any adjustments to support you. The passport also provides a direct link to the workplace adjustments team, who will help to put formal adjustments in place.

The purpose of the passport is to help build an inclusive and supportive work environment where everyone can perform at work at their best. It is part of our work to make the Scottish Government a much more inclusive employer and an employer of choice for disabled people.

Passports are voluntary, but everyone in the core Scottish Government is encouraged to use them. The overall aim is to put workplace adjustments in place more quickly, which will allow colleagues to work to their full capacity. Often, workplace adjustments improve the performance of colleagues and may help avoid performance management issues.

The Scottish Government has a dedicated workplace adjustments team. As it is a dedicated team, they have a lot of experience and knowledge when managing workplace adjustments. They know what has worked well to support other colleagues previously and what hasn’t worked so well. If you are not sure what support you might need, just ask.

A growing number of Scottish Government agencies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) are adopting the employee passport. The process might be slightly different, but the purpose is the same. This means that the passport will be recognised and used when colleagues go to work in these agencies and vice versa.

Filling in the employee passport

Completing an employee passport is a two-stage process. Part one is a discussion with your manager.

Part two is seeking help from the workplace adjustments team.

Part one - discussion with your manager:

The passport process starts with you downloading and completing part one and detailing your circumstances. Circumstances can be short term, long term or permanent. These could include:

  • a health condition
  • childcare responsibilities
  • fertility treatment
  • religious observance arrangement
  • volunteering commitment

This list is not exhaustive – you should use your passport to discuss absolutely any circumstance which is affecting your working life.

Once you have completed part one, send it to your manager who will set up a meeting to discuss it with you.

Writing things down may feel a little daunting. It can also be quite emotional, which is a normal reaction. The passport gives you the chance to put these circumstances, and the impact of them, in writing before discussing them with your manager. This will allow you to put down as much information as you want to share in a way that you want to.

You should only share as much information as you are comfortable with. If you know you will find it difficult to talk about some of the information, it might help for you to write this in your passport. If your manager knows the conversation will be difficult for you, it will help them prepare better. If you find it difficult to put something in writing, but would find it easier to talk about, note this down. Again, It will help your manager, as they will know you are ok with them asking for a bit more detail when you meet.

Take as much time as you need to fill in the passport. You might find it helpful to fill it in and then review it the following day before sending it to your manager.

You should also check the two sample passports for an example of how passports can be completed. There is a sample part one and a sample part two.

Support and advice for managers:

The employee passport is developed in a way that supports managers just as much as it supports the passport user. Managers can seek advice from the workplace adjustments team at any point in the process.

The process can feel a bit daunting for managers. You might be worried you’ll say the wrong thing, or simply don’t know what to say. If you want advice or support before a discussion takes place, contact the workplace adjustments team. They can provide information and can also signpost you to resources and HR guidance and policies.

During the discussion, it’s ok for managers to say they’re feeling a bit nervous. If you’re worried about terminology, you can say so and tell your colleague you want to learn and ask them to help you with this. Managers can be guided by their colleague on how much they wish to discuss. You may both feel slightly apprehensive about the conversation, but it should be a positive experience for you both.

Outcome of the discussion:

After the discussion with your manager, you should record any adjustments you have agreed in part one of your passport. We refer to these adjustments as local arrangements. Local arrangements can include:

  • changing working patterns
  • amending ways of working – perhaps more (or less) home working or working in an office closer to home
  • equipment, such as a wireless mouse or keyboard, or a large screen monitor

Managers have discretion to put in place a range of adjustments to lessen the impact of a person’s circumstances on them at work. If you’re not sure what you can agree to, or need a bit of support or advice, contact the workplace adjustments team. The team can support both passport users and managers at any point in the process. There are links to a number of useful HR policies in the list of common adjustments, which also provides an idea of what types of support are available. This is not an exhaustive list, so contact the workplace adjustments team if what you feel you need is not listed.

Data shows the majority of passports are managed in part one only. Most passport users do not need to seek support from the workplace adjustments team and therefore don’t need to complete part two. This shows the importance of having a conversation with your manager.

Getting help from the workplace adjustments team:

The second part of the employee passport process is about getting help from the dedicated workplace adjustments team. This might be advice and support for you or your manager. The team can help identify, agree and arrange more formal adjustments which can’t be arranged locally. This will often be adjustments to remove barriers related to a disability, impairment or health condition. However, there might be other areas the team can help with.

If you or your manager feel you might benefit from a more formal adjustment, even if you don’t know what that might be, you should download and fill in part two of the passport and submit it to the workplace adjustments team.

The team know what support is available and, more importantly, what has worked well for other colleagues. They will discuss your circumstances with you and may suggest adjustments to support you which they will put in place.

The workplace adjustments team will meet the full cost of adjustments. This removes any local barriers relating to budgetary pressures. At the end of the process, the workplace adjustments team fill in the last part of the employee passport with all the adjustments that are in place. The information is signed off by the passport holder and their manager and recorded on the passport holder’s personal HR record.

If an adjustment is put in place, whatever it may be, and it simply doesn’t support you or support you enough, contact the workplace adjustments team to discuss the situation.

Withdrawing from the employee passport

You can withdraw from the employee passport process at any stage. You can also have any information regarding workplace adjustments, or the passport removed from your HR record at any time. You can do this by contacting the workplace adjustments team and asking for the information to be removed.

Colleagues who have existing workplace adjustments

If you already have workplace adjustments in place, you can still benefit from the employee passport. It may lead to improvements in the adjustments you have and gives you the chance to discuss them with your manager, helping them understand better.

If you feel you don’t need this as you’re already comfortable with your manager’s understanding and any adjustments already agreed, you can still download and submit part two of the passport to the workplace adjustments team. This ensures any formal adjustments, like equipment or software, are recorded on your HR record.

Having adjustments recorded will give us a clearer picture of the make-up and needs of our colleagues. This will help us continue to improve our service.

Benefits of the employee passport

Employee passports provide benefits for both passport holders and managers. Benefits for passport holders:

One practical benefit is when a passport holder changes post or manager they don’t have to re-tell their story. Research has shown this is a common issue for colleagues with health conditions or long-term circumstances which impact on their day-to-day work. The employee passport will show what adjustments are in place, why they are in place and how they support you.

The passport process, where you set out your circumstances in writing, allows you to explain the impact of your circumstances before discussing them with your manager. You have complete control over what you disclose and how you disclose it. It also give you the opportunity to set out what you are and aren’t happy to discuss further. This helps the discussion when the passport holder and manager meet.

Employee passports also enable you to make suggestions for improvements. They provide a forum for you to set out clearly what has worked in the past, why and what might work best in the current situation.

You should note, employee passports don’t confer any additional rights or benefits to the passport holder. Both the passport holder and their manager must adhere to Scottish Government policies and processes.

Agreeing a workplace adjustment with one manager also doesn’t mean that a passport holder is entitled to have that adjustment in place for the duration of their career in Scottish Government. For example, any decisions which are at the discretion of managers, in line with HR policies, will continue to be at their discretion. It is hoped most adjustments will continue to be agreed, but it’s not an entitlement.

Benefits for managers:

Employee passports benefit both the passport holder and their manager. Research has highlighted managers often feel unprepared to deal with workplace adjustments.

This might be because they:

  • are unaware of the help available
  • are unaware of where to seek help
  • don’t fully understand the impact of a person’s circumstances on them
  • are too busy to dedicate the time needed to address the workplace adjustments needed

All of these reasons are valid.

There are thousands of people working in our organisation with a huge array of health conditions, disabilities and circumstances impacting on their working life. As a manager, it is impossible to know what support will be needed in every circumstance and how to put that support in place.

The experience of the workplace adjustments team is the relationship an employee has with their manager is the most important relationship they have at work. The employee passport provides a direct link to the workplace adjustments team, who will support both the manager and the passport holder.

The workplace adjustments team is a dedicated team and will often know what has worked well for other staff previously.

Employee passports allow managers to better understand their staff, their circumstances and the possible impact on their work. This will enable managers to balance the needs of the individual with that of the business.

The feedback from managers who have used the passport has been extremely positive. Some of their comments include:

Being new to line management and having an employee who required specific help in select areas, I found the passport invaluable.

Having a central point of contact for workplace adjustments means that we can get advice and equipment quickly and efficiently.

Confidentiality and data security in employee passports

Your employee passport is your passport. You control the information in it and you can amend your passport at any time.

It’s up to you, if and when, to share your passport with a new manager. You can remove information and amend your passport in any way before you share it with a new manager. Equally, you may decide you want to share everything straight away. You may also decide it would be helpful to share your passport with your countersigning officer. Again, this is your choice.

Neither your manager nor countersigning officer are permitted to share your passport with anyone else without your consent. Your manager may need to ask for advice from the workplace adjustments team in general terms. For example, if they want to find out more information about a particular condition to increase their own understanding, or if they want to check what adjustments they can agree to locally.

Your passport will not be used for any purpose other than for having the conversation about circumstances impacting on your daily work and any subsequent conversations about workplace adjustments.

Your passport will not be used as part of a recruitment process. If you need an adjustment to attend an interview or assessment centre, you should include this as part of your passport. Rather than sharing your whole passport, you should copy and paste that part of your passport and share it with the relevant people in the recruitment process. Often the adjustment you need for an interview or assessment centre will not be the same as adjustments you need for daily work.

Reviewing your employee passport:

Passport holders are encouraged to review their passport with their manger every six months. This is useful even if only to confirm all adjustments are working well. Passport holders and their managers can of course agree to review the passport more frequently.

Where you have completed and submitted part two to the workplace adjustments team, they will review your passport annually with you, or more frequently if this is agreed.

Storage of employee passports

You and your manager should save your passport in your personal eRDM files. Managers must destroy their copy of the passport when the managerial relationship ends.

Support for neurodiverse colleagues

One of the many benefits of the employee passport, and the dedicated workplace adjustments team, is we have better data on what workplace adjustments are needed. This has enabled us to improve the workplace adjustments service with one area we've improved being in our support for neurodiverse staff.

If you are neurodiverse, you can ask for an assessment of workplace needs. In the assessment, a person (qualified in assessing neurodiverse conditions) from an organisation called Organisational Psychology Matters will meet you and talk to you about your circumstances.

This involves looking at your current job and focusing on overcoming any obstacles you may be experiencing. At the end of the meeting, a report is drafted with recommendations. This is a service which is very much tailored to individuals with feedback from colleagues who have used it being very positive.
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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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