Headlines: July 12th, 2000

The Treasury has published the results of its investigations into the scale of early retirement in the public sector.And it has made 37 recommendations on stemming a practice adds up to a high cost in pension commitments for the taxpayer, and a loss to the employer of skilled staff.

Ill health retirement was a rarity in the 1970s. But during the 80s and 90s the incidence of ill-health retirement grew, particularly in the public sector. By the mid-90s about 40,000 public servants were retiring early each year on medical or injury grounds. The incidence has now fallen from this peak to about 22,000 per year but this is still high by historical standards, and considerably higher in many parts of the public sector than in the private sector.

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, deployment, rehabilitation, medical assessments, and performance measurement.

The review was set up last year under the chair of the Treasury, with the remit to review why early retirement was a more frequently used tool in some parts of the public sector than others, and to identify and recommend best practice methods of ensuring appropriate use of ill-health retirement benefits.

Link: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk .