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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-23837

  • Asked by: Mark Griffin, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 13 December 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Shona Robison on 11 January 2024


To ask the Scottish Government what the underoccupancy rate has been for each of its offices in each month since January 2019, also broken down by location.


The data set available which can be used to calculate occupancy levels for Scottish Government (SG) core buildings has been developed into a table format for years 2020 - 2024. This information can be obtained from The Parliaments Information Centre Bib number 64841.

The percentages represent the number of attendees on the first Tuesday of each month against the workstation spaces available within that building. Data is no longer available for 2019 or before and is only available for part of 2020 due to limitations on information retention periods.

During 2023 SG committed to a flexible hybrid working model for its workforce, enabling staff to work from a range of settings. Managers have flexibility to work with their teams to determine a model that ensures business needs are met. The shift to hybrid working is being built into future estate planning and our Estate Strategy. In light of the changing expectations the SG core estate is under review with all opportunities to right-size considered which can both reduce SG costs and contribute to the wider Public Service Reform agenda. Estate Planning for the entire portfolio continues in line with guidance in the Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM).

Over the last 12 months SG have closed 3 leased buildings in Edinburgh and 1 in Glasgow with staff and operations relocated to existing buildings all opportunities for rationalisation and sharing are utilised in line with the SPFM. A decision to close 4 Atlantic Quay has also been taken with staff being relocated to 5 Atlantic Quay in March 2024 to reflect the changes in working patterns and improve building efficiencies.

A detailed review of the Edinburgh estate will be completed during 2024 to develop a recommended approach for maximising the use of the buildings while aligning with the Single Scottish Estate Programme.