flexibleThe IWGB recently submitted an FOI request relating to flexible working at the University, and although many of the questions we asked have not been fully answered, we thought that the response would still be of some interest…

Could you provide details of all the flexible working requests received by the University of London from April 2015 to May 2016? Specifically:

1.       the number of requests made
2.       the number of requests granted
3.       the nature of each request (eg for reduced hours, for reduced days)
4.       a breakdown of requests made and granted by department
5.       a breakdown of requests made and granted by gender.

The University does not have access to easily calculable figures on flexible working requests. To provide this information would require level of manual checking of personnel files that would exceed the appropriate limits set in Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. This is set at 18 hours for Universities to determine whether information is held and then to locate, extract and retrieve that information.

Even if this was narrowed to a specific department, there is a significant risk that details of individual cases would risk identifying staff and details of their work arrangements. The University makes each Freedom of Information response as a public disclosure and therefore the Section 40 (2) ‘Personal information’ exemption is likely to come into play.

In order to fulfil the University’s Section 16 duty to assist and advise, I can provide figures relating to the number of staff whose working patterns or hours have changed. However, these instances may not necessarily reflect a new flexible working arrangement or give any indication of approvals or refusals.

Gender Hour Change Work Pattern
F 39 23
M 10 15


Department Hour Change Work Pattern
CoSector 3 2
Finance and Planning Department 3 2
School of Advanced Study 14 5
Senate House Library 2 6
The Careers Group 15 5
UoL International Academy 10 17
Vice-Chancellor’s Department 2 1