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Civil Service: Sickness Absence

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 7 February 2008

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office (Tom Watson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Managing sickness absence continues to be a key priority for the Civil Service.

The latest figures for 2006-07, now available at, show that departments need to continue their effort to address this. (Copies are also available in the Library).

Over the past year, Permanent Secretary Management Group has focused on this area and agreed a suite of actions that include:

guidelines to departments—to help boards assess their current procedures and systems on a “comply or explain” basis;

senior management master classes—a series of events exploring management aspects of the health and well-being agenda for senior Civil Service management; and

high impact interventions—a series of good practice case studies from both the public and private sectors on how to achieve a healthy workplace has been identified.

From April 2008, departments are now required to collect, analyse and publish their own sickness absence data each quarter and annually in departmental reports.