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Departmental Staff

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Solicitor-General if his Department will (a) carry out an age audit of its staff to establish an age profile of its work force, (b) negotiate an age management policy with trade unions and employees to eliminate age discrimination and retain older workers, (c) identify and support training needs and offer older staff flexible working to downshift towards retirement and (d) extend to over-fifties the right to request to work flexibly and the right to training with paid time off; and if he will make a statement. (96486)

The information is as follows:

(a) The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) carried out an age audit of its staff in the summer of 2005 and 2006; the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) produces a monthly HR report to its board which includes detailed statistics on the age profile of its work force; the RCPO has now adopted staff profiling and a new database will enable regular age audits; the Treasury Solicitor’s Department keeps a record of the age profile of its staff and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate plans to carry out an age profile of its staff in the near future.

(b) The CPS carried out a review of all human resources policies to ensure they were age compliant, and as a result has updated its retirement age policy to reflect the new contractual retirement age of 65; the SFO has taken steps to remove any potentially discriminating measures as regards age, for example, by changing its policy on annual leave, and the SFO also offers a flexible policy, allowing staff to select a retirement age of 60-65; the RCPO is drafting new retirement policy and procedure and will consult Union representatives before implementing; the Treasury Solicitor’s Department and HMCPSI ensure that all terms and conditions of employment are applied equally to staff of all ages.

(c) The Treasury Solicitor’s Department, the CPS, the SFO and HMCPSI identify and support training needs for all its employees, irrespective of their age; RCPO has doubled its training budget this year and will continue to support the training and development needs of all staff.

(d) In the Law Officers’ Departments all employees, irrespective of age, can request to work flexible hours and the flexible working policy ensures that all requests are treated fairly.