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LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO HELP TO REDUCE ILL HEALTH RETIREMENTS

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Local government is playing its part in reducing the incidence of ill-health retirements in the public sector and i...
Local government is playing its part in reducing the incidence of ill-health retirements in the public sector and implementing the recommendations made in a new government report published today.

The report, The Review of Ill Health Retirement in the Public Sector, covers all public service pension schemes and makes recommendations to ensure the appropriate use of ill-health retirement benefits.

It outlines progress to be made in key areas such as sickness management, workplace health, redeployment, rehabilitation, medical assessments, and performance measurement.

Government departments responsible for public sector pension schemes, trades unions, the medical profession, private sector pension schemes, the Confederation of British Industry and a number of other interested parties have been consulted.

DETR is responsible for the Local Government Pension Scheme and therefore it will be submitting an action plan covering all 37 recommendations by the end of October.

Local government minister, Beverley Hughes said: 'This report provides a challenging framework from which to move forward, building on the modernising improvements already made to the regulations governing the Local Government Pension Scheme and early retirement generally.

'Recent evidence from the Audit Commission confirms that the steps we have taken to reduce the incidence of ill-health and other early retirements in local government are working but there is still more to do.

'The involvement of the key local government stakeholders in taking forward the recommendations is crucial. We will work in partnership because their input into the preparation of the department's plan and subsequent action to implement it will be essential.'

NOTES

1. In response to the Audit Commission's 1997 report into early retirements in local government, 'Retiring Nature', and of similar studies into the experiences of other public service pension schemes, the then chief secretary, Alan Milburn, announced a review last year into the incidence of ill-health retirement in the public sector as a whole.

2. A working group, chaired by HM Treasury first met in May 1999 to examine three areas :-

- to review the factors leading to ill-health retirement, including why its incidence is much higher in some parts of the public sector and in some employing authorities than others;

- to identify best practice both in the management of pension scheme provisions and the operation of relevant human resource policies; and

- to make recommendations to ministers on the implementation of measures to spread best practice and to ensure the appropriate use of ill-health retirement benefits.

3. Copies of the report will be made available on the HM Treasury website at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.

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