HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 cc134-5W
Mr. Challen

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to encourage staff to work from home; and how many staff do so on a regular basis. [21825]

Mr. Morley

The Department is committed to the work-life balance of its staff. A range of flexible working patterns including part-time working, job sharing and home working is available to staff by agreement with their management.

DEFRA publicises its policy on flexible working and encourages managers to respond positively to requests as part of their commitment to the diversity agenda.

Information on the number of staff undertaking home working on a regular basis is not kept centrally and a complete list of those using working from home arrangements could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, IT dial-in facilities which enable staff to work remotely are widely used, with around 1,400 having access to this facility. A regular element of home working is normal practice for certain groups of staff. It is estimated that around 10 per cent. of staff make use of informal arrangements to work from home occasionally.

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