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Age Discrimination

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to address the issue of age discrimination. [109441]

We have already implemented recommendations from the Performance and Innovation Unit Report, "Winning The Generation Game". The Department has already implemented policies to allow staff to stay on up to age 65, and we have delivered the Green Paper on Pensions. The Department has also taken steps to promote the provisions of the Government's Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment.We are currently developing our policy on age alongside new legislation from the EC Article 13 Employment and Race Directives. The legislation to outlaw unfair discrimination at work on the grounds of age is required to be in place by December 2006.The Department has taken age into consideration in its development and equality proofing of all human resource policies and processes and is committed to tackling any negative attitudes towards older staff. We are currently working with the Employers Forum on Age to progress age diversity policies by using their policy review toolkit 'One Step Ahead'. The toolkit sets out the framework to enable employers to undertake a comprehensive age equality review and to deliver age "neutrality" across the business. The toolkit will shortly be issued across the DWP HR community.The Department plays an active role in promoting age diversity to the wider employment market through the Age Positive Campaign. The campaign material can be

Research involving opinion polls
Welfare Reforms Omnibus SurveyMonitoring attitudes towards various aspects of the work areas covered by the Department.£9,600
Disability and Carers Benefits Directorate (DCBD) Customer Satisfaction Survey 2001–02The postal survey conducted in February 2001, provided Disability and Carers Service (DCS), which replaced the DCBD in April 2002, with valuable customer feedback and a baseline from which the DCS can measure future improvements in service delivery. The questionnaire asked customers to comment on their experiences when dealing with the DCBD by telephone, written correspondence or when visiting the offices and, additionally, when claiming one of the benefits DCBD administer.£5,015 (postal charges only as survey was conducted in-house).
Jobcentre Plus Customer Satisfaction SurveyA large scale client survey undertaken to determine satisfaction with the level of service received from Jobcentre Plus. The survey involved 3,100 telephone interviews with a range of benefit recipients accessing a variety of Jobcentre Plus services.£88,600
Appeals Service Customer SurveyTo assess performance against Service First Standards which cannot be measured internally and to obtain information direct from customers about the service they have received. The survey also informs the work being undertaken by the Modernising Appeals Programme on the shape of future service including opening hours and tribunal session times.£46,455
Attitudes and Awareness SurveyTo obtain information on the level of awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Rights Commission.£20,000
Young Disabled People SurveyTo obtain information on the opinion and attitudes of young disabled people.£94,000
Attitudes to Electronic Service DeliveryTo explore public attitudes to providing DWP services on-line, and examine how to maximise take-up. This research included 20 mini focus groups, as part of a wider project.£41,347

accessed via the website and includes the Government's current code of practice "Age Diversity in Employment" which is also available in the Library. It has examples of good practice and ministerial support.

There are well-advanced plans to establish an Age Champion and a network of staff groups across my Department's businesses to focus on age issues. A Diversity Awareness Programme is being rolled out across my Department and this includes important messages about behaviour and negative attitudes towards age.