Stress at Work

Jonathan made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Culture, Media and Sport,

I would like the total number of days off work taken by employees of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, where the reason given was for stress at work or anything related to stress. I would like this data to cover 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 so far.

Can you also provide the total number of employees? Again, I would like this data to cover 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 so far.

Please treat this as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Deans

FOI Mailbox, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

no-reply@dcms.ecase.co.uk on behalf of FOI Team, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

FOI2018/11963

Jonathan Deans

[FOI #512286 email]

Dear Mr Deans,

Thank you for your email of 22 August, in which you made the following
request for information:

I would like the total number of days off work taken by employees of the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport, where the reason given was for
stress at work or anything related to stress. I would like this data to
cover 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 so far.

Can you also provide the total number of employees? Again, I would like
this data to cover 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 so far.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act). I can confirm the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and
Sport holds information within the scope of your request.

The number of working days lost to stress in each of the years requested
is as follows:

* 2015/16: 17
* 2016/17: 169
* 2017/18: 327

I can confirm that the department also holds information concerning the
total number of employees covering the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18
financial years, however, we consider the information concerning the years
2015/16 and 2016/17 exempt from disclosure under section 21 (information
accessible by other means) of the Act. This is because the information can
be found at the following links:

* 2015/16:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
* 2016/17:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Furthermore, we consider information concerning the total number of staff
during the financial year 2017/18 to be separately exempt under section 22
(intended for future publication) of the Act. Section 22 provides an
exemption against release where the information will be made available to
the public in the near future.

For this exemption to apply there is a requirement to conduct a public
interest test to determine where the balance of public interest lies for
the release of the information.

We have considered the arguments in favour of release alongside those in
favour of withholding the information. It is our view that, whilst there
may be an interest in early sight of this information, there is also a
strong public interest to ensure that publication of the DCMS Workforce
Management Data Financial Year 2017/2018 report takes place in accordance
with certain procedures to ensure accuracy and consistency. The DCMS
Workforce Management Data Financial Year 2017/2018 report is published
yearly and the information you have requested is due to be published soon.
The Department therefore considers the balance of public interest to fall
on the side of withholding the information at this point in time.

To help you better understand our response, it should be noted that the
department has been improving sickness absence reporting over the last few
years and the overall increase in working days lost to stress reflects
this general trend.

Furthermore, the department has also implemented a number of policies to
ensure that staff feel comfortable in taking, and reporting,
stress-related sickness absence.

The Department takes a holistic approach to managing sickness absence and
improving wellbeing. As part of this approach, we have focussed on
specific actions to reduce the incidence of mental illness, including
stress-related absence. Actions include:

* early referral to occupational health experts, particularly for mental
health and stress,
* early referral to Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) for Cognitive
Behavioural Therapy based counselling support for mental health
issues,
* workplace adjustments that help to prevent conditions from developing
or worsening, whilst reducing the barriers to work for those affected
by mental or physical impairments,
* extensive training for managers and employees - including on
disability and mental health awareness, well-being, resilience and
stress.
* line managers can use the Stress Assessment and Reduction Plan toolkit
in identifying and managing stress when required,
* a page on the intranet is dedicated to stress management and it
contains resources to support line managers and employees identify and
manage stress.

Finally, the Department is a signatory to the 'Time to Change Pledge' and
raises awareness of mental health and coping strategies through national
campaigns such as the 'Time to Talk' day and the Mental Health Awareness
Week. The department also organises 'Mindfulness' sessions for employees.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

4th floor, 100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

Tel: 020 7211 6395

www.gov.uk/dcms

Complaints and comments

As is customary in our replies, I would like to explain that if you are
dissatisfied with any aspect of our response to your request for
information and/or wish to appeal against information being withheld from
you please send full details within two calendar months of the date of
this email to: [DCMS request email]

You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to
investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is
likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted
before beginning an investigation.

Jonathan left an annotation ()

I will put this all into a spreadsheet soon.