HC Deb 10 January 2002 vol 377 cc1023-4W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out for each of the conclusions in section 6.4 of the Performance and Innovation Unit report, "Winning the Generation Game",(a) what progress his Department has made and(b) what future plans his Department has for acting on them; and if he will set out against each of the conclusions the targets and deadlines that have been set. [24207]

Mr. Blunkett

[holding answer 19 December 2001]: The Home Office is committed to equality of opportunity for all staff, and our policies are designed to avoid unfair discrimination on any irrelevant grounds, including age. We are reviewing those policies in the context of the Performance and Innovation Unit recommendations, as follows:

Conclusion 6: Consider ways of increasing downshifting in the Civil Service.

The Home Office offers support to any member of staff who chooses to revert to a more junior grade for personal reasons, irrespective of age. Each application is given sympathetic consideration.

Conclusion 7: Consider creating a work pool of retired civil servants to retire at 65.

The Home Office uses retired civil servants for recruitment and selection boards on an ad hoc basis. We also invite retired members of staff with appropriate experience to carry out reports, enquiries and investigations from time to time.

Conclusion 8: Each Government Department should look at the case for allowing its civil servants to retire at 65.

The Home Office has recently completed a comprehensive review of age retirement, resulting in a change in age retirement policy throughout the Home Office, including agencies (except for the Prison Service, which will announce details of its own age retirement review in due course). The new policy, which will come into force on 1 April 2002, will allow staff the option of retiring at any point between the ages of 60 and 65.

Conclusion 9: Civil service departments should consider whether a short-service concession for those with less than 20 years' service should form part of its policy on normal retirement age as an interim measure.

Not applicable, as conclusion 8 recommendations have already been implemented.

Conclusion 10: Departments should take steps to integrate age into their equal opportunities policies.

We are currently drafting a new equal opportunities policy statement. We will consider carefully how to include age in this statement.

Conclusion 11: The Cabinet Office should develop a process for monitoring age-related employment practice.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, on 19 December 2001,Official Report, column 335W.