§ Mr. Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the progress made by his Department since 1999 in reducing sickness absence; what targets he has agreed with the Cabinet Office; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 30 October 2000]Since "Working Well Together Report, Managing Attendance In the Public Sector" was issued in 1998, the Department has reviewed and revised the procedures for managing sickness absence in line with the recommendations in that report.
The Cabinet Office prepares each year an annual report of sickness absence in the Civil Service which includes information for each Department. The report for 1999 is currently being finalised and will be published shortly.
Details of the Department's targets for reduced sickness absence for the years 2001 and 2003 against a baseline year of 1998 will be included in its Service Delivery Agreement. This is also to be published shortly.
This Department has agreed the following targets with Cabinet Office for reducing sickness absence: 20 per cent. reduction to 9.7 average working days lost by December 2001; a 30 per cent. reduction to 8.5 average working days lost by December 2003.