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Mentally Ill Staff

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department has gathered on the effect of its policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of employees with mental illnesses within (a) his Department and (b) the public sector bodies for which he has responsibility; and what use has been made of that information. (228547)

As prescribed by best practice, the Department uses the social model of disability to monitor adverse/positive impact of its policies. This limits the amount of specific evidence that can be drawn about mental health issues through routine employee monitoring exercises. However, the Department gathers relevant information through analysis of sickness absence statistics; reviews of trends emerging from casework; and regular liaison with the staff disability network. These data are used to inform the development of new policies and the review of those in existence. The policies which directly affect the recruitment, development and retention of employees with mental illness are those covering recruitment and selection, training and performance management. All policies are equality impact assessed and build in ‘reasonable adjustment’ provision for people with disabilities, including mental health issues. There is now a separate mental health policy which promotes positive attitudes in this area and provides guidance which is designed to enable employees to remain in the work-place, wherever possible. These policies and processes apply to the Department’s agencies.