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Ministry of Justice – Winner 2018, Best Flexible Working Initiative Award

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) launched its Smarter Working programme to help create a culture that is truly flexible, where people can fully commit to life both inside and outside of work. Employees have been given the support and technology that enables them to work from their core office, their home or one of many commuter hubs. The focus is on ‘what’ work is done, rather than ‘where’ work is done. 

 Key Points

  • 80% of staff surveyed feel supported to work flexibly.
  • Improved staff wellbeing and reduction in staff travel time and costs.
  • Has enabled net savings of £14 million a year in estate costs. 

Staff surveys for the MOJ’s Smarter Working programme showed employees wanted more control over where they worked. As part of a wider estates strategy the MOJ opened up 52 commuter hubs across the country and rolled out tools and technology to help staff work effectively from outside their core office. A network of Smarter Working champions and sponsors helped drive behavioural change, challenge colleagues to think differently and adopt new flexible practices.  

For the MOJ, it means prime office space can be optimised – the ratio of desks to staff is now six to ten – which will ultimately contribute £14m net savings a year.  

Staff benefit from reductions in personal travel time and costs and improved work life balance and wellbeing. A staff survey from early 2018 showed the programme was popular and that 80 per cent felt supported to work flexibly.  

The MOJ has seen demonstrable increases in staff productivity and the organisation is currently capturing data on the positive impact Smarter Working is having on recruitment and retention. 

The programme kicked off with a launch campaign attracting thousands of interactions from staff who read blogs, stories and best practice tips or took part in events and workshops. 

The MOJ continues to support the campaign for working culture change through its Smarter Working Network of more than 120 staff sponsors and champions, monthly awards to celebrate successes and ongoing engagement from senior civil servants to role-model their own flexible working patterns. 

As the MoJ Schools Programme Pathway Manager, I spend most of my day engaging with volunteers, schools and other government departments across the country. With the introduction of new hubs, we can work in so many new ways in new places.  Long gone are the days of 9 – 5 tied to the same desk five days a week. The rest of MoJ Social Mobility Team are based in other UK locations and we make effective use of Skype to check in on one another regularly– location doesn’t have to be a barrier in delivering quality outputs within the MoJ. 

Victoria Gray, MoJ Schools Programme Pathway Manager