Employee working patterns – children and vulnerable people

a.How many of your employees work with children or vulnerable people (e.g. social workers, or those who work in fostering, education or child and adult care)?

Adult social care = 1202

Childrens social care  = 502

b. How many of your employees who work with children or vulnerable people are ‘remote workers’ or ‘flexible workers’ (i.e. they perform some of their duties away from a fixed/office location ‘ for instance, performing home visits or working from home outside of regular office hours)?

We may hold information in relation to this question but to determine what we do hold, identify, locate and compile it would require a manual review of several different data sources for 1704 employees and even at five minutes each the total time needed would be well in excess of the 18 hours allowed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 12  – Cost of Compliance.

All the below questions relate to those employees who work with children or vulnerable people, and are also considered ‘remote workers’ or ‘flexible workers’ as identified in questions a. and b. above

c. Do you provide these employees with any of the below devices so that they can perform their jobs outside of the office (indicate all that are applicable)?
a. Basic mobile phone
b. Smartphone
c. Tablet
d. Laptop computer
e. Desktop computer


We offer both simple voice phones and smartphones (a, b), the service determines which staff need these devices. As standard all staff are provided a portable managed device (c or d) based on their working role, business need and preference. Devon positively enables mobile working with technology for all staff and particularly those with the most demanding needs.

d. Are they able to perform the following tasks on these council-provided devices?
a. Access centrally stored information on the individuals they are dealing with
b. Save information on their cases or specific individuals to the device
c. Save information on their cases or specific individuals to central storage that isn’t on the council-provided device (e.g. through a VPN connection)
d. Communicate with colleagues over email
e. Use collaboration tools (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Slack, WhatsApp)
f. Communicate with the specific children or vulnerable people they are working with (e.g. over email or instant messaging)
g. Communicate with people who work outside the organisation (e.g. contractors or other public services)
h. Personal tasks ‘ e.g. visiting non-work-related websites or accessing personal email accounts

We are focused on continuing to improve the secure and appropriate methods of communication within and outside the organisation. We already enable routes and provide tools across all the areas asked for (a-h). Devon operates a cloud first policy and avoids sensitive information being stored on individual devices (c) by enabling access to appropriate case management, document management and communications tools. We use and support staff with Microsoft Teams, Sharepoint, Yammer and other tools (e).

e. How many of these employees have complained to the organisation that they could not perform work they need to on their council-provided device (e.g. because of issues with the device, difficulty accessing information, or a lack of training) in the past 12 months?

Devon operates a service desk receiving thousands of contacts from social care and other staff across a 12 month period. In any fault there is likely to be some impact on a worker’s ability to perform their role until it is fixed. These are classified according to ITIL standards, resolving systemic problems as well as addressing individual’s specific challenges. The service also runs staff user groups and engages in other forums with staff, to gather general feedback. There are no specific metrics in the terms defined that would not either overly simplify the picture (formal complaints are extremely rare) or distorting (we are constantly listening and responding to prove user experience).

f. Do you prevent these employees from using their own personal devices for work-related tasks due to concerns over data privacy?
a. Yes, we prevent all tasks
b. Yes, we prevent some tasks
c. No, but they have to take specific actions ‘ e.g. installing security on their device, using specific vetted applications
d. No
e. Don’t know

ICT does prevent unauthorised access and does and ICT does take precautions to prevent the loss of council data to private or external devices or systems.

g. Are you aware of any of these employees sharing their personal mobile phone number for work purposes when instructed not to? If possible, how many have done so?

No. We do not have any means of knowing if any employees have shared their personal mobile phone number for work purposes when instructed not to. It is possible we would only become aware of this if any instances had been identified as part of a data protection breach or information security incident, and we do not hold any relevant information about that.