– Scottish Parliament written question – answered on 4th February 2011.

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Photo of Des McNulty Des McNulty Labour

Question S3W-38192

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-14113 by John Swinney on 25 June 2008, what progress has been made in promoting more home and flexi-working in the public sector.

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

The expansion of home and flexi-working is closely aligned with a number of the strategic objectives within the National Performance Framework. We have taken it forward as part of our wider travel planning policies to reduce transport emissions by reducing the need to travel. Travel planning delivers targeted information direct to travellers and raises awareness of cycling, walking, public transport, home and flexi-working and how to overcome actual or perceived barriers to their use.

The Draft Report on Proposals and Policies published on 17 November 2010 addresses the need to reduce travel as well as widening travel choices and driving more efficiently. It provides for a major increase in travel planning advice and information on alternatives to car journeys, including those to work. www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/11/18104445/9.

The Energy Saving Trust has helped public sector organisations to develop and deliver staff travel planning, over the past five years. This has offered the organisations up to five days consultancy to develop travel planning including policies on home and flexi-working. Nevertheless, policies on home and flexi-working remain an operational matter for individual organisations. They need to consider a number of issues such as business needs as well as HR policies.

Transport Scotland will also use the lessons learned from the Smarter Choices Smarter Places demonstration programme to work with COSLA, Regional Transport Partnerships and local authorities to consider how best to deliver travel planning post 2010-11.

The draft Report on Proposals and Policies (RPP) also addresses the need to reduce travel through the provision of mixed-use "community hubs" in smaller settlements. The Scottish Government will undertake further analysis of options for introduction of shared facilities in settlements of population less than 10,000 (of which Scotland has over 100). Equipped for remote working, with ICT and remote office facilities (including video-conferencing suites), such facilities could remove a key reason for travel and reduce travel costs.

Additionally, these hubs potentially offer an additional range of benefits such as health, education, shopping delivery, post office and other financial services, and storage for ecommerce deliveries.

The draft RPP is now being considered by Parliament.

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