HC Deb 17 January 2002 vol 378 cc464-5W
Mr. Challen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to encourage staff to work from home; and how many staff do so on a regular basis. [21826]

Mr. Blunkett

The Home Office is committed to the work-life balance of its staff as part of its commitment to the diversity agenda. A range of flexible working patterns, including flexible working hours, part-time working, job sharing, and home working are available to staff by agreement with their management.

Guidance on the range of work-life balance options for staff was first published in a booklet, "Balancing Work and Home Responsibilities", in 1997. Subsequent developments reflect changes in technology which allow staff secure access to some Home Office systems remotely via laptop computers specifically developed for this purpose.

Over 350 staff have laptop computers which have facilities for them to access the Department's information technology system remotely, and many more have equipment which allows them to read or write documents off-line. Information on the number of staff who do so is not collected centrally but managers are responsible for ensuring that staff working from home are properly authorised to do so.