Equality of opportunity for all is of paramount importance within the Department and my officials have been pro-active in ensuring the age discrimination regulations are adhered to. In light of this the Department has considered and reviewed all the HR policies and processes that were in place prior to the implementation of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. That review led to us introducing, from 1 October 2006, a policy where we have no maximum retirement age for people outside the senior civil service, and procedures where there is no mention of a date of birth on applications, for example, for recruitment or promotion.
Furthermore the Secretary of State and the Learning and Skills Council have both been involved in drawing the attention of the FE sector to the age legislation through correspondence with FE governing bodies and by issuing guidance to learning providers. Higher education institutions have been supported in this area by the Equality Challenge Unit, which is the sector body responsible for providing advice and guidance on equality issues to these bodies.