HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc749-50W
Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if(a) his Department and (b) its agencies have a policy of not considering applications for employment by persons over a particular age. [59452]

Dr. Moonie

Under the Ministry of Defence's equal opportunities policy discriminatory practices, procedures, decisions or actions in recruitment based on gender, marital status, race or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, age, disability or anything else unconnected with an individual's ability to do the job are unacceptable.

When advertising for civilian staff it is the MOD policy that age limits do not appear in adverts, except when they can be fully justified in terms of allowing the MOD time to benefit from any training investment it might need to make.

The Armed Forces regard the ability to recruit sufficient people of the right age as critical in order to retain the correct balance of youth and experience required to maintain operational effectiveness. All three Services keep the age limit criteria for entry under regular review. Maximum age limits are imposed in order to maintain a balanced age/rank structure, with individuals benefiting from a visible career structure. The Services wish to recruit individuals who are operationally fit and are likely to give a good return of service. When considering upper age limits, the length and cost of training an individual is also taken into consideration.

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