Section 2: The Scottish Government as an Employer
The Scottish Government puts employee engagement and workforce development at the heart of its People Strategy. We are committed to giving all our people the opportunity to shine, to nurturing talent at all levels and to having a diverse workforce reflective of the communities we serve.
Our aspiration is to be open, capable and responsive so that we can continue to improve outcomes for people in communities across Scotland. We place value on relationships. We pride ourselves on the depth and breadth of our advice and analysis. We know that statements of value and intent have limited real life impact. Closing the gap between rhetoric and reality is central to our credibility and integrity.
This matters inside the organisation as well as externally.
- We don't want the effects of inequalities perpetuated in our own organisation. Everyone should be able to be themselves at work, knowing that they will be treated fairly and be supported to achieve their potential.
- We recognise and value differences and this makes our policies and practices better.
- Diversity and equality by their very nature are not 'one size fits all' policies or initiatives. A fairer, more inclusive society, community or workforce is one where everyone feels confident to play their part.
This vision is focused through the underpinning People Strategy. This sets out our ways of working: creating an environment, in partnership with our trade unions, where individuals can thrive and be successful and creating the conditions for consistently good people management and development - for all of our staff. The People Strategy underpins our SG2020 transformation programme. We are in the process of developing a People Plan to set out how that transformation will be embedded across our core services and processes and encouraged through changes to local practice and culture. Our approach is to build the evidence base and to use this to inform further action and future policy.
In addition to mainstreaming these priorities through the implementation of the People Plan, we have a core team responsible for advancing diversity and equality policies. More broadly, the Scottish Government's People Directorate has lead responsibility for providing advice and guidance on our employee policies on equal opportunities and diversity, implementing Scottish Government and wider Civil Service diversity strategies, equal pay and employment data.
At a UK level the Civil Service Talent Action Plan, first launched in 2014 and refreshed in 2016, was a key building block in the future vision of diversity and equality for the Civil Service and has provided a springboard for an ambitious programme of work across the whole Civil Service and reflected the drive to mainstream equality and diversity into every aspect of the business of Government to enable the delivery of world-class public services.
The Scottish Government supported this strategy with our own individual delivery plan with similar themes around Leadership, Representation, Culture and Capability. We have continued to develop these themes, with particular emphasis on improving the consistency of leadership and management, encouraging employee voice, building a supportive culture and talent management.
We have a renewed focus and ambition from the senior leadership team including our Permanent Secretary and executive team to bring about the step change required to truly become the organisation we want to see. This has included the appointment of Senior Civil Service and DG level Diversity Champions and Allies.
To inform our actions with regard to the public sector equality duties we have used evidence from a range of sources: our annual People Survey, our electronic HR systems, specific evaluations and interaction with our staff networks and individuals.
Ensuring equality of opportunity is a core stated aim of our Resourcing Policy and supporting procedures, in addition one of our key outcomes is to become reflective of the people of Scotland. In striving to achieve these aims we welcome applications from all suitably-qualified people, in particular those that are currently under-represented in our organisation. We are aware however that constrained resources have limited our opportunities to increase diversity through recruitment and have resulted in less progress towards this than we would have hoped, in particular in attracting disabled applicants and those from a minority ethnic background. Nonetheless, where we have opportunities, we continue to promote the diversity message in our standard job advertisement template and do what we can to ensure that those opportunities that do arise are promoted effectively and that through "Positive Action" we do our best to attract and support those from under-represented groups. We also advertise that we are part of the Disability Confident Scheme, are a Carer Confident employer and we also use the Happy to Talk Flexible strapline and our Stonewall Top 100 Employers logo.
We test how far diverse needs are met through our recruitment process by requesting and monitoring diversity information from all candidates. We use this information, which is held separately and accessible to a very limited number of colleagues, both to help ensure that our resourcing policy and procedures have no discriminatory impact on any groups of applicants and to assess the effectiveness of different recruitment campaigns for applicants from particular diversity groups to ensure equality of opportunity for all.
The Scottish Government is committed to offering a range of opportunities to unemployed young people, including Modern Apprenticeships. In 2011 we had an ageing organisation and were seeking to better reflect the people we served, while offering permanent quality employment for those young people who normally would not be able to access posts with the Scottish Government.
At that time we did not offer a Modern Apprenticeship programme and only advertised externally for entry level staff if and when vacancies occurred; there was no age limit, qualifications were required and no formal training provided.
One direct recruitment route - the Modern Apprenticeship Programme ( MAP) - is specifically designed as a youth employment initiative and was negotiated with the Civil Service Commissioner to be targeted at 16 to 24 year olds.
This programme of recruitment and assessed development is helping to widen the age profile of the organisation. We also included in the recruitment criteria that applicants should be unemployed or underemployed and prepared to undertake a SVQ qualification; we do not ask for formal qualifications. The gender make up of MAs recruited since 1 April 2016 is reflective of the Scottish population - 51% female & 49% male.
When awarding the SG Investors in Young People accreditation it was noted that the SG demonstrates a firm commitment to attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining young people to help to reduce the youth unemployment landscape in Scotland. Young people are now an integral part of the SG's succession planning Strategy.
One of the many successful applicants to our Modern Apprenticeship programme was a young unemployed woman of 18 who was recruited to HR in 2013. She worked within the unit for 2.5 years during which time she passed a SVQ Level 2 in Business Administration, probation and a competency based interview; leading to a permanent position within the Scottish Government.
Having successfully experienced Further Education, she subsequently moved to Higher Education and started a course of study with the Open University studying for a BA (Hons) in Social Sciences.
She also sought promotion and was successful in moving, after 2.5 years in HR to Private Office in 2015.
In 2016 she applied for another new post and further promotion within the Directorate for Social Security as a Project Support Officer. Once again she was successful and has since moved to Glasgow to take up her new post.
The Scottish Government benefits from the Modern Apprenticeship programme. In this example, we have attracted a young person to an aging organisation, she joined us with new ideas and fresh thinking, she is a motivated and enthusiastic person and she is now qualified in Business and Administration at SVQ Level 2.
The young woman now has a permanent job, has gained a qualification directly related to her post - has been promoted twice and has a career plan and aspirations to be the best she can for herself, her family and the Scottish Government.
Young people on the autistic spectrum
The Scottish Government aims to redress the disproportionate unemployment rates experienced by young people on the autistic spectrum, while reflecting the society we serve and appreciating the different perspectives and skills sets those on the spectrum bring to our work.
The Scottish Government engaged with Project SEARCH, an initiative that aims to bring people with learning disabilities and autism into competitive employment and developed a collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council.
Using Scottish Government funding, the City of Edinburgh Council received a licence to deliver Project SEARCH. Subsequently, a young person on the spectrum joined one of our policy teams for 12 week internship - starting in December 2016. The internship included time within the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh College.
Colleagues in the host team were keen to support this young person in all aspects of his work and took just a little extra time with him to explain the policy background and enhance his knowledge of the work.
This young man has now successfully completed the internship and has gained skills, knowledge and confidence within the work place he is actively seeking full time employment as a Scottish Government Modern Apprentice within our Digital Directorate.
The intern met with the First Minister during January 2017 and this, together with their successful internship, has been highlighted across the Scottish Government to encourage further engagement with Project SEARCH and to increase opportunities for young people on the spectrum within the Scottish Government.
Increasing Diversity In Our Talent Pipeline
The Scottish Government values individual learning and talent development to allow everyone to grow and reach their potential. These commitments are at the heart of our People Strategy. We mainstream equality in learning and development through ensuring that our corporate learning offering is open and accessible to all. We recognise that each individual is unique and make available support and development which is appropriate to the needs of the individual. Every employee is encouraged to have an active learning plan.
Our direct-entrant Graduate Development Programme ( GDP) is now established and we are currently recruiting a second cohort. The GDP aims to be an exemplar in terms of diversity and equality with the advertising and recruitment process reaching deep into communities to connect with under-represented groups. Our first cohort was broadly representative of the Scottish population but we are keen to improve participation from groups which are under-represented in our senior management cadre.
We have had a particular focus on diversity in our marketing and as part of our role to foster good relations with stakeholders and to ensure we reach in to communities to highlight recruitment and development opportunities offered by Scottish Government, we have engaged with relevant stakeholders to promote the scheme to under-represented groups. As a result, first stage applications from BME candidates were up from 148 to 347. The selection process has been updated to reduce barriers (e.g. removal of competency based application forms, introduction of awareness sessions targeted at candidates with limited exposure to assessment processes) and features positive action for disabled and BME applicants.
Nominations to civil service high potential development schemes is another important opportunity for us to improve representation at senior levels. For schemes starting in 2017 we have been committed to raising the diversity of participants and this has produced a more representative cohort. In particular, our approach to nominations raised awareness and offered encouragement to people from all backgrounds. Through selection, although our diversity data was supressed due to low numbers (less than 5) we have at least 1 candidate in each of the protected characteristics and a gender split of 8 females and 7 males.
Our learning offer
We actively target support to ensure that all our people can access learning. All who wish to attend a learning event are specifically asked if we can provide any additional support or adjustments. This includes making arrangements to ensure that disabled colleagues can access corporate courses and programmes, visually impaired colleagues can access course materials online using assistive technology or direct support and can also receive 1-2-1 training covering essential business needs (e.g. IT skills) as required.
Colleagues can also arrange loans of laptops and on-line learning materials to allow them to learn in a place and time that suits them. Materials are also made available in large print and in dyslexia-friendly print colours, and we have the option to record audio books of training materials.
Julie's story is about one of our colleagues who was finding it a challenge to develop further and gain promotion. She was later diagnosed as severely dyslexic and our promotion assessment process was a struggle for her.
At this time Julie was asked to help with an SG initiative, "Making things accessible for disabled people". This made her reflect on how she could help others with less visible disabilities. While acting as a mentor for a new colleague with dyslexia, they developed a Neuro Diversity awareness session. This has been welcomed by many staff across SG.
Meantime, Julie sought 1-2-1 support from her SG Development Advisor to help her prepare for going forward for promotion again. She explains, "This has been a very positive experience for me, Brenda's help was very encouraging, she took time to work with me and talk through how I could frame my answers and how I could manage the practicalities of the process. I felt that finally someone else was beginning to understand what my difficulties were and I now feel much better equipped to go through the application and interview process".
Our mentoring programme is a good example of a combination of openness and accessibility and equality of opportunity. It is open to staff in all bands across the Scottish Government. Our new online database has recently been introduced to make it even easier to get involved and benefit from the programme. Where possible we meet any specific requests for either mentor or mentee, e.g. location; gender; sexual orientation; specialism etc. and personal circumstances such as work pattern; travel constraints; special requirements. We also ensure that we promote it regularly through our staff diversity networks which in turn help us to foster good relations across different groups of staff.
Perm Sec shared a few thoughts on stand-out moments from her engagements during a week in February 2016.
The value of mentoring
While in London, I met with Tara McGinley, who won a competition to spend an hour with her chosen mentor at Edinburgh's Civil Service Live. She chose me! Tara is a HR consultant based in Leeds with Civil Service Employee Policy. We talked about how she is preparing for her next post, public speaking and impact amongst other things. Fascinating to hear her experience and perspectives as a young person joining the Civil Service. I can't recommend mentoring highly enough - both mentoring others and being mentored. I still see my mentor regularly and he was a great support (and challenge) when I applied for this post. What are your experiences of mentoring, and how has it helped you in your career?
Progressing Our People
We appreciate that our internal progression opportunities are also key to supporting our ambition of being a Scottish Government that is reflective of the people of Scotland and that we must ensure that we eliminate any discrimination in the processes.
Ensuring equality of opportunity to move through the organisation is a key consideration within Scottish Government. We have analysed closely our central promotion board and talent programmes and processes and, working closely with our trade unions, conducted extensive evaluations. Equality considerations have been at the heart of those reviews.
In response to reviews of our promotion process, we changed our approach to promotion to junior and middle management roles in 2016. One of the drivers for the change was diversity concerns arising from central promotion boards. Ensuring equality of opportunity was a key driver for this significant policy and process change.
Through the review we scrutinised the existing central board process and conducted evaluations and analyses of previous central exercises. These indicated:
- inconsistency and mixed quality of support offered to candidates
- lower success rates for staff based out with the central belt
- assessment too closely aligned to policy - potentially disadvantaging operational, corporate and specialist staff
- fewer older candidates (40+) applying and less successful
The new promotion policy was designed, tested and developed in collaboration with representatives from across the SG including staff diversity networks, both on a group and one to one basis.
Equality issues have been considered throughout the design and implementation phase of the policy and a full Equality Impact Assessment ( EQIA) undertaken. This is to ensure that the promotion process does not inadvertently discriminate against any group and attracts applications from under-represented groups.
Key improvements include the introduction of Lead Panel Members ( LPM), with LPM training having a particular focus on diversity and unconscious bias. A two day mandatory learning course and unconscious bias training is in place for LPMs. We now have a pool of over 100 fully trained LPMs from a variety of backgrounds, grades and locations.
We have also removed the requirement to meet all competencies for every promotion - thereby encouraging greater diversity among candidates and we have put in place a comprehensive evaluation plan to monitor diversity impact. We will continue to develop and improve this process over the coming year.
The EQIA report has been shared with our Staff Diversity Networks and Trades Unions. Engagement with these groups will continue as part of on-going evaluation and review process with key stages at six, twelve and eighteen months.
In 2016 a key progression focus was an internal Deputy Director Promotion Board. As part of the preparatory work for the Promotion Board research was undertaken with the Scottish Government's staff diversity networks on the perceived barriers to applying for promotion to the Senior Civil Service ( SCS).
Some of the key messages from the research were concerns around work life balance, alternative working patterns, lack of diversity profiles in the SCS, limited dedicated time to prepare an application and for assessment centre, concern about the support available through the process including mock interviews, practice tests; and limited flexibility of assessment centre timings and location.
These helpful insights were used to inform the awareness sessions, which were held for Band C staff who were eligible to apply for the Board. The insights also informed the planning and literature for the Board process and for future recruitment and promotions to the SCS going forward. These included clear messages about the diverse groups of staff we were interested in attracting and clear messaging around flexible working.
The Scottish Government's intranet was also used to enhance the message of welcoming applications from under-represented groups to broaden the diversity of the senior leadership with articles focussing on staff at SCS level who worked part time, compressed working, job share or who were in one of our under-represented groups. As a result of all of these factors, 42% of the Board applications were female and 45% of the successful candidates were female.
Lorna Gibbs - Chief Executive of Disclosure Scotland
I joined Scottish Government in 2001 and I was 'out' from the start. As far as I can tell, that hasn't had any negative impact on my career. I talk about my partner and our life together in the same way as everyone else does. Nobody bats an eyelid when they realise my partner is female. Why would they?
But I do think being gay has had a positive impact on my work. I know what's it's like to be 'other', I know what it is like to read articles in the media suggesting people like me are responsible for the decline in moral standards (never realised I was so powerful). I know what it's like to do a quick risk assessment before my partner and I hold hands in public - even on a Saturday afternoon in Glasgow. I think that makes me more aware of what it feels like not to fit into the norm. And I think that makes me a better civil servant.
I am valued by my colleagues for, I hope, lots of reasons. The gender of my partner isn't one of them. As I said, that's just another dull fact about me. Now, who wants to hear about my new kitten…?
Andrew Bruce, Deputy Director, Community Justice
I have worked a flexible pattern since my wife returned to work after the birth of our first child almost six years ago. This involves working compressed hours, with every Tuesday as a non-working day spent with the two children we now have. I felt very strongly that I wanted to take on some of the childcare responsibilities that are part and parcel of starting a family, both to increase the amount of time I could spend with my children and because it made sense for our family circumstances.
I was, therefore, working this pattern when I came through the last Deputy Director Board in 2013. I remember asking myself at the time whether I would be able to continue with my compressed hours upon taking up a DD post. But I quickly resolved that the commitment I made to contributing to our childcare arrangements was absolute and shouldn't go out the window simply because I had been promoted. Nevertheless, it was with some trepidation that I broached the subject of flexible working in discussions with my prospective Director prior to taking on my first DD role. I can honestly say the response I received could not have been more supportive and my continued non-working Tuesday was accepted, and indeed encouraged, without a moment's hesitation. There have been occasions when, in response to particular work requirements, I have had to swap my Tuesday for another day, or call in emergency cover from grandparents. But those weeks are very much the exception.
Two key factors have made all the difference. First, all my line managers have been hugely supportive - not once have I been put under pressure or made to feel guilty for not being at work on a Tuesday. Equally importantly, the teams I have worked in have been just as understanding. I believe there are all sorts of benefits to any employer in supporting flexible working, but I am also conscious of the potential impact on those in my team who shouldn't be inconvenienced by having a DD who chooses to work in this way. So, whilst I am not glued to my blackberry during my non-working day, which would defeat the whole purpose, I have a clear arrangement with my team that they should feel free to call me if there is an urgent issue they need to discuss.
Flexible working has provided me with a great opportunity to fulfil my aspirations as both a civil servant and a Dad. I feel lucky to work for an organisation where such an approach is possible, regardless of seniority, and very grateful to the managers and colleagues who have been so incredibly supportive.
Olivia McLeod, Director for Children and Families
I started working flexibly long before I had children. When I joined the Scottish Government as Deputy Director, I chanced asking for a nine-day fortnight to help make my long-distance relationship work! My director at the time was really supportive and it worked - the relationship turned to marriage and now we have two kids. I say this because I think it's really important everyone has the chance to work flexibly to achieve the right balance of work and other aspects of life, whether or not you have children.
When I came back to work after my first child as Director in the Department for Education, I worked three days a week. This felt challenging - I wasn't aware of any other part-time directors. One thing I'd love to change is the number of potential job shares in the SCS. I tried to make a virtue of it by explicitly focusing my role with everyone, including my boss and minister, and empowering my direct reports.
Strong programme management and effective meetings help me feel on top of the work without needing to be involved all the time. It's made me better at being strategic and prioritisation, but I can always improve on that! Investing time in coaching or mentoring over the years has paid off. On a practical level, having good office support is critical to ensure you're focused on what matters. And investing in relationships so people can anticipate where you're likely to come from if you're not there to speak for yourself. On the down side, I miss the more discretionary elements of the job - I'm told I'm not great at 'water cooler chat' and I have to work on not being too task-focused and allow enough scope for discussion and ambiguity.
The plus sides of working part-time far outweigh any down sides - I don't mind working hard knowing I'll have concentrated time with my kids, and it's allowed me to feel fulfilled at work and at home. Having a train commute is a great discipline - I'm invariably on the 17:15 and people know that! It requires me to prioritise, and I'm much more aware of the complexities of everyone's lives which I hope makes me a more compassionate manager and colleague.
DD Promotion Board Application and Success rates by Gender in 2016
Through improving our monitoring, reviewing evidence and evaluating the impact of our recruitment and progression processes we are working to continually improve equality of opportunity for those joining and those within our organisation.
We are keen to support all staff, including those at senior levels to identify the right work life balance for them. At SCS level there are examples of staff working part time, compressed working hours and partial retirement. In August 2016 two senior members of staff embarked on a job share at Director level. Both are mothers and factor childcare logistics into their day.
In their new job share arrangement, one works part time three days a week and the other works full time across four days. The 2 Directors were one of the winners in the Timewise Power Part Time List for 2017.
"It's early days. It's important for the credibility of this
arrangement that it genuinely works for people and isn't just
politically correct. But hopefully we'll prove it does work, and
encourage more men and women to think creatively about how jobs can
be done in the process."
Helen Cameron - Director of Children and Families
Diversity data on our staff
We know how important it is to have robust and accurate data on the diversity of our staff. However progress on increasing the levels of staff providing diversity information has provided several challenges around IT compatibility, staff reluctance in providing the information due to staff confidence and trust levels in providing the information, knowledge on what it's used for and some general questions around why it was useful for us to know.
To address this we have set up a Data Improvement Project. After investigating various other organisations' processes and best practice we decided that we would rather have staff providing the information because they want to and therefore more likely to provide accurate information rather than erroneous data. This would hopefully also move people to a position of feeling more engaged and away from feeling they were undertaking a tick box exercise for management.
This has resulted in us taking a more coaching approach rather than a mandatory approach, in the hope that it will help progress the wider inclusion agenda. This we acknowledge may mean progress will be slower but hopefully will lead to higher levels of buy-in and engagement.
The Data Improvement Project has now identified a "test" area, a selection of improvement test ideas, measurement methodology and a comprehensive communications strategy. This project will start small and will gather momentum very quickly as we start to obtain evidence of test ideas being successful enabling us to roll out promising approaches more widely and increase the levels of data completion.
The project has started to see some improvement; in Dec 2016 59.7% of staff had provided information on sexual orientation, up from 20.0% in Jan 2013 and 2.5% staff declared as LGBO in Dec 2016, up from 0.9% Jan 2013. If we adjust this to remove those who have not provided SO information this represents 4.1% of staff identifying as LGBO.
The proportion of those completing their sexual orientation information has increased by just over 8 percentage points over the last year, though there is still 40% of the workforce who have yet to supply any information. We will continue to work on this to meet the ambition set out in our Equality Outcome of 90% of employees providing diversity information by 2017 and being reflective of the people of Scotland by 2025.
Declaration rates across Protected Characteristics
Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination
To tackle bullying, harassment and victimisation, we have consistently good people management and well-being as core People Strategy priorities.
We understand not only the human cost but also the organisational and team costs associated with unacceptable behaviours. To support this we need to ensure that staff understand how they can get issues resolved and we have a Fairness at Work policy which supports resolution of complaints fairly and quickly.
Whilst our scores for inclusion and fair treatment are reassuringly high remaining at 80% in 2016 which is 4 percentage points above the UK Civil Service average, we remain concerned that some staff are still experiencing unacceptable behaviour. We know from our People Survey that in 2016, 9% of respondents indicated that they personally experienced discrimination at work in the last 12 months (compared to 8% in 2015 and to 12% for the whole of the Civil Service in 2016). Ten per cent of staff reported having experienced bullying or harassment in the past year (compared to 9% in 2015 and to 11% for the UK civil service as a whole).
percentage SG staff reporting bullying, harassment or discrimination since 2009
Appreciating how difficult it was to fully understand the issues behind the B,H&D statistics, during 2016 we set up a small working group to investigate best practice and create a robust and multifaceted approach to support the business address bullying, harassment and unacceptable behaviours and create the culture we want to see.
From this we now have in place a robust measurement matrix, a mechanism for the anonymous reporting of unacceptable behaviour in addition to informal or formal action and a tried and tested range of options and interventions to support not only line manager and staff but also the HR and Diversity Professionals working with our businesses to be able to identify areas at risk quicker and be better able to deal with and address any under the waterline B,H &D.
We have also appointed a senior director to the role of Bullying and Harassment Champion, to provide leadership and ownership of this area at a senior level in the organisation. The B&H champion will lead on a programme of work to understand better what early intervention in B,H&D could look like and the benefits it can bring for individuals and for the SG.
Over the last few years the Scottish Government has undergone major transformation and is moving to be a smaller, more flexible organisation, operating within constrained running cost, and so our workplace and support services need to adapt and support these organisational changes as well as allowing employees to embrace new ways of working, both within and out with the office environment.
The Scottish Government is committed to making our office based and remote working facilities more flexible and responsive to everyone's needs, and to improving the experience of using these facilities. We are also committed to getting the best value we can from the costs of running our offices and buildings. The Smarter Workplaces Programme will oversee deliver of these commitments.
This project also reflects the needs of our people and aims to provide working environments in which individuals can thrive and be successful. It implements new and innovative workspace and technology solutions.
Smarter Workplaces Programme
The Scottish Government, together with Scottish Futures Trust ( SFT), are working jointly on this programme to deliver new ways of working across the central Government estate which will in turn help public bodies to deliver better services to our clients and customers as well as to the wider public.
"Our working environments enhance our people's experience of the workplace, enabling new ways of working and ensuring value for money for the public purse".
This is not just about saving money. It is about providing our people with modern, flexible working environments that enable them to deliver the needs of the business. We are committed to working with teams to find the right balance between saving money and providing improved workspaces.
- provide us with the opportunity to help shape and improve our workplaces to better support the range of job types and working styles found across the organisation;
- ensure that our workspaces and technologies are better aligned to needs of business areas and staff using them;
- ensure options for the use of workspaces and technologies are sufficiently flexible to respond to changing needs in the future;
- allow us to become a more efficient organisation, better equipped to respond to evolving demands and challenges;
- make more efficient and effective use of our assets - our people, technology and buildings;
- ensure we maintain a strong presence around Scotland;
- provide opportunities for co-location which will support improved integration and collaboration within the core SG and other public sector bodies; and
- contribute to our environmental targets.
The Smarter Workplaces team has been working with colleagues and staff diversity networks across the SG to embed diversity into the design principles that are shaping our buildings and facilities.
Through exiting buildings surplus to needs, reducing office footprint or encouraging sharing with others, the programme is working towards achieving the target annual saving from accommodation costs for the core SG estate and its wider network of public bodies of £28m per annum from 2017/18.
"We're putting wellbeing and needs of an increasingly diverse
workforce right alongside business needs. As well as improving
corporate spaces to match our more flexible ways of working across
locations, teams and through technology, we've been considering the
facilities that are valued in a 21st century workplace."
Jen McLeod, Change and Communications Manager
Some of our key achievements to date have included new accessible and gender neutral toilet facilities as well as multi-faith prayer room and contemplation rooms and ablution facilities.
"I went to a session on diversity charity Stonewall's Workplace
Equality Index. The conversation turned to how organisations can
show real tangible evidence that they
are considering the needs of all of their staff and visitors, regardless of their gender identity.
"Gender neutral toilets inevitably came up and I decided that
my diversity objective would be to include gender neutral toilets
in the refurbishment plans for Atlantic Quay and Victoria Quay.
"This not only shows our commitment to meeting basic needs
regardless of gender identity, but makes the best use of our
limited space and increases the number of facilities that anyone
Lorna Gibbs, Diversity Champion for LGBTI
"As ablution is a prerequisite for performing prayers, having
access to a suitable facility for this purpose is immensely
helpful. I was therefore very pleased when the Smarter Workplace
team took a real interest to determine requirements. These
facilities are excellent, have made the performance of daily
worship far more comfortable".
Faheem Bhatti, Policy Executive in Higher Education and Science
It has also allowed up to provide a wider range of options for different working preferences and activities. Introducing a 'laptop first' approach, improved Wi-Fi, increased video conferencing and Skype for Business enables more flexible and collaborative working.
"We've all converted to laptops which has been really great for
the flexibility it allows us, particularly if we have to work in
different buildings or cities. We've already taken advantage of the
spaces available in the VQ Business Centre on the third floor,
working collaboratively and using the smart screen technology
provided in the booths, which is great for looking over different
screens at one time."
Rachael Hay and Lyndsay Turner, Public Appointments Team
Environment - Carbon Footprint
Collaboration - Working together within and across organisations
Better Working Environments
Financial - Value for money for the public purse
We understand the importance to individuals to remain in and engaged with work to be able to contribute fully in the workplace. To support our colleagues who are absent from the office we have a dedicated Attendance Management team who provide support, advice and guidance to individuals and managers. The team works with individuals, their managers and the Scottish Government's Occupational Health Adviser to ensure appropriate measures are in place to support those experiencing health problems.
We use a range of measures to reduce sickness absence across the organisation. As part of the Attendance Management Policy, return to work discussions are used to identify health/health and safety issues affecting individuals. Periods of illness and the reasons for absence are recorded on the e-HR system allowing us to monitor absence trends and to identify areas where support or further intervention is required. We also work closely with our Occupational Health Adviser to ensure that decisions (including reasonable adjustments) affecting an individual with a health condition are informed by medical advice.
We are also working in partnership with colleagues in the trades unions to ensure that our attendance management processes support disabled colleagues and we are currently piloting a "Reasonable Adjustments" passport as a robust process to underpin conversations between relevant parties about what is required to ensure an individual is able to remain in work and continuing to contribute to their own wellbeing as well as to the benefit of the organisation.
Occupational Health and Safety
The Scottish Government's Occupational Health and Safety ( OHS) Adviser ensures appropriate measures are in place to support those experiencing health problems and disabilities so as to minimise any barriers to retaining and rehabilitating colleagues.
The Scottish Government continues to make any reasonable adjustments to premises or employment arrangements if these place a disabled or non disabled employee, or prospective employee, at a disadvantage, to ensure that these colleagues and those with on-going health issues are able to work to their full ability and remain in employment.
Our Occupational Health and Safety ( OHS) Branch work closely with IT and HR colleagues to ensure our people are able to access the equipment and environment required to allow them to contribute fully.
The branch has kept abreast of new adaptive technologies that allow disabled people and those with health conditions who cannot utilise standard pieces of furniture and equipment to access alternatives. They continue to trial new products to ensure individual needs can be fully considered and managed.
To date, 2313 individuals have completed the 'Display Screen Equipment Self-Assessment' module to aid ensuring desks and associated equipment is adjusted to suit each individual to help minimise the risks to health.
The outcomes of each assessment are supported by a network of trained local Health and Safety Liaison Officers and the OHS Branch who can make recommendations relating to posture and equipment alterations. In 2016 two members of the OHS Branch attended specialist ergonomic training to allow them to better understand the needs of individuals with disabilities and health issues.
The OHS Branch have conducted approximately 60 specialist assessments in the last year, typically supporting computer users by providing postural and ergonomic advice. The OHS Branch have been instrumental in recommending and supplying specialist seating options, sit/stand desks and a variety of ergonomic desk equipment to aid the management of individuals who present with health issues or disabilities.
"I slipped a disc in my back, and required to be off work feeling physically sore and miserable about my restricted movement. Once reliance on strong painkillers lessened, I was keen to get back to work but could not be signed fit to work until there was clarity about what the working arrangements to support my recovery would be.
Through my line manager and HR, I was put in touch with the OHS Branch, who quickly put my anxieties at ease. I had an initial telephone discussion with the Advisor and then arranged to come into the office whist on sick leave for an assessment.
A needs assessment quickly and efficiently, recommended the use of a standing desk, an adapted chair (I was able to trial 2), use of a rucksack to carry office equipment; we explored whether I could or should work from home but it was recommended a short phased return to enable me to readapt (this proved more necessary than I had anticipated) and she was also very clear about the responsibility I needed to take for ensuring that I was supporting improvement in my back health.
I greatly appreciated the Advisor's knowledgeable, kind and no-nonsense approach and the very practical suggestions she was able to make to get me back to work as soon as possible: this was of direct benefit to me and to my team, who had been under significant pressure in my absence. Had I not been able to access this support, it is unlikely that I would have been signed fit to work for some further weeks which would have been very frustrating for all.
Three years later, I continue to use a standing desk and regularly refer to the tips given to continue to manage my condition."
The Scottish Government aims to be an exemplar employer on LGBT and I issues, with policies in place to support LGBTI employees, including those on gender reassignment and civil partnerships. Our Fairness at Work policy makes specific reference to discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.
The Scottish Government ( SG) is a Stonewall diversity champion and regularly contributes to Stonewall activities, including this year's Workplace Equality Index ( WEI). We have participated regularly in the WEI since 2006, coming first in Scotland in 2009 and 2010.
We were consistently in the Top 100 until 2012 when we were ranked in 90th position. In 2015 we dropped to 213/397. We engaged closely with Stonewall over the last 2 years to improve our ranking and Perm Sec and our LGBTI Ally and Champion made a commitment to restore our position in the top 100 within 2 years.
This renewed focus and priority has seen us move back into the Top 100 at position 50 having climbed 56 places from 2016 and 163 places from 2015. At the same time competition in the Top 100 has increased from 397 employers in 2015 to 439 employers participating in 2017. This dramatic improvement resulted in us being awarded "Most Improved Scottish Employer in 2017".
We have an active LGBTI and Allies network. Our networks are a valuable resource in helping us understand the issues our under-represented groups face in joining and progressing through the organisation.
Our Allies network allows non- LGBTI staff to provide additional support on these issues. The networks are supported by champions at Senior Civil Service level to support and work with the networks to identify the future direction, remit, role and strategy.
Allies training and training in Role Modelling was identified as an area where we could make improvements that would make the biggest difference not only to LGBTI staff but all staff.
We have worked with Stonewall to run this programme in January 2016 for 76 staff across both programmes. Run by Stonewall Scotland, the programme empowers role models and allies to be active change agents throughout the Scottish Government - creating a more inclusive workplace for LGBTI colleagues, as well as everyone else.
Diversity is also important for our people's engagement - engagement is a measure of how attached and proud people feel to be part of the organisation and how motivated and inspired they are to achieve its objectives.
The People Survey is our annual organisation-wide initiative seeking opinions about work. The survey runs from the 1st to the 31st of October across over 100 UK Civil Service Departments. It is well-understood and embedded across the organisation and our response rate varies between 73-79% in the past four years. It provides an opportunity to gain a good measure of the effectiveness of HR policies, in particular our Fairness at Work policy and our Flexible Working Policy. It also helps to establish how different groups of people feel in the organisation in terms of their inclusion, fair treatment, wellbeing, discrimination, harassment, bullying, and their levels of engagement.
Inclusion & Fair Treatment
Since 2009, responses to 'Inclusion and Fair Treatment' questions have been consistently high, with the positive score for the overall theme remaining at 80% in 2016. This is 4 percentage points above the UK Civil Service average and +1 above Civil Service High Performers, Indeed, when compared against Civil Service organisations of a similar size, Scottish Government comes out top for positive responses to the 'Inclusion and Fair Treatment' theme.
Percentage of SG staff responding positively to the Inclusion and Fair Treatment theme in 2016
Inclusion and fair treatment 80%
Difference from previous survey 0
Difference from CS2016 +4
Difference from CS High Performers +1
The People Survey also measures staff engagement, that is, how attached and proud people feel to be part of the organisation and how motivated and inspired they are to achieve its objectives. We know from the annual survey that there are some groups that are less engaged in the workforce than others and we want to change this. This is important because research indicates that people who are more strongly engaged with their work tend to have higher wellbeing at work, to perform better, be more innovative and take less time off sick. For example, colleagues who report they have a long-standing condition have a lower engagement score than the Scottish Government average, and across the survey themes, a less positive workplace experience in general.
In 2016 respondents who reported a disability had an engagement score of 59%. Those reporting that their disability impacted upon their daily activity 'a lot' had an engagement score of 52%. Through 2017/18 we will work with our disabled staff and our staff disability network to better understand any reasons for this and work to reduce or remove any process that maybe impacting on this. On the contrary, LGB (68%) and BME (67%) respondents continue to have a higher percentage of positive engagement scores than SG average (62%).
Engagement by ethnicity, compared against UK Civil Service average in 2016
Engagement by sexuality, compared against UK Civil Service average in 2016
Individuals in the youngest age category (16-19) have the highest engagement score overall (72%).
Engagement by age in 2016
Email: Nicole Ronald, Mainstreamingequality@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House