§ Mr. Andrew Turner
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the public consultations undertaken by his Department since June 2001, stating in each case the(a) number of respondents and (b) percentage of those specifically consulted who responded. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the former Department of Social Security and parts of the Department for Education and Employment. The data requested are included in the table. Consultation documents are issued directly to interested parties which the Department recognises have a special interest in the issue. In accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice they are also published on the departmental and UK online websites.
Of these, only the Executive Bodies actually employ staff.
- Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
- DRC employ staff directly and have no restriction on the age at which employees retire. In addition they have no upper age limit for applicants.
- Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra)
- Opra directly employ staff and also have a number of DWP staff (civil servants) on loan:
- For those staff directly employed by Opra there is no maximum retirement age. However, these staff are part of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme and as such will be governed by the pension scheme rules. The rules for DWP staff on loan are the same as for the rest of the department, namely that they can choose when they retire between ages 60 and 65.
- There is no maximum age restriction for new staff recruited by Opra (as DWP staff on loan to Opra leave, they are replaced by Opra employees).
- Pensions Ombudsman (PO)
- The staff employed by PO are actually civil servants and are therefore covered by the PCSPS rules, ie the normal retirement age being 60, but with staff having the option of staying on up to 65.
- Remploy directly employs staff and the maximum retirement age for most employees is 65. They have no restrictions on the age of people recruited.
§ Mr. Andrew Turner
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department enforces a maximum retirement age for most staff; and whether it has a policy of not considering applications for employment by persons over a particular age. 
§ Mr. McCartney
Civil Service equal opportunities policy provides that all eligible people must have equality of opportunity for employment and advancement on the basis of their suitability for the work. There must be no unfair discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, or (in Northern Ireland) community background.
All L/C in DWP, below the Senior Civil Service, are able to choose to remain in employment beyond the age of 60 for any period of time up to the age of 65. Staff over age 60 are subject to the same terms and conditions as staff under age 60. No special reviews of performance are applied.
The Department's flexible approach to age retirement allows staff to continue to work in their current grade and, subject to business need, to seek promotion to a higher grade or voluntarily to downgrade. Subject to business need staff may also choose to work full or part time.
In line with the Civil Service equal opportunities policy, applications for employment or reinstatement are considered from individuals up to the retirement age of 65.