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Mr. Jim Murphy: Departments and agencies are free to set the normal retirement age for their own staff below the senior civil service subject only to the requirement that the minimum age at which civil servants can retire with full superannuation benefits is 60.
Against this background, over 80 per cent. of the civil service now has the option to remain in work until 65, and a further 11 per cent. has the option to remain in work on short service concessions.
27 Feb 2006 : Column 42W
The normal retirement age for the senior civil service is 60. However, heads of departments and agency chief executives have the flexibility to retain members of the senior civil service beyond 60 if they judge it to be in the public interest and are satisfied about the fitness and efficiency of the individual to carry out his or her duties.
Legislation which will come into force in October 2006 will result in the normal retirement age in the United Kingdom being 65. As a result employers will not have to justify the decision to retire an employee after that age. This will be subject to review after five years. To ensure compliance, the civil service is currently quality proofing its terms and conditions in this area to raise the retirement age of all its employees, including the senior civil service, to 65. Those areas of the civil service which consider that they need to maintain a retirement age below 65 will only be able to do so if they can objectively justify this by reference to particular circumstances. It is anticipated, however, that this will be a negligible figure against the total number of permanent civil servants.
Mr. Jim Murphy: Individual Departments and agencies are responsible for their own decisions on the child care support they offer to their staff and figures on expenditure are not held centrally. Departments provide a range of support to staff including on-site nurseries and provision of child care vouchers.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the last Central Office of Information quinquennial review took place; how much it cost to complete; when the next quinquennial review is scheduled to take place; what estimate he has made of the likely cost; and what (a) recommendations and (b) changes resulted from each Central Office of Information quinquennial review since 199697. 
The review team was made up of staff from the Cabinet Office, the Office of Government Commerce, HM Treasury, COI and the Advisory Committee on Advertising. The cost of the time that officials spent on the review was not recorded.
Recommendation 2: The Regional News Network (RNN) and News Distribution Service should be relocated from 1 April 2002 to the GIGS in Cabinet Office. The RNN should also report at a regional level to the Government Offices and continue to work closely with COI;
Recommendation 3: COI should be responsible for developing research on strategic communications issues in consultation with Government stakeholders. Additional central funding should be allocated to COI for this research, subject to the 2002 Spending Review;
Recommendation 4: A new function to monitor and to advise on the co-ordination of Government marketing campaigns should be developed in COI and centrally funded, subject to the 2002 Spending Review. The chief executive of COI should undertake a new role as the Government's chief adviser on Marketing Communications and Information campaigns reporting to the Prime Minister's Director of Communications;
Recommendation 6: COI should continue to develop and test new and existing performance measures, including customer satisfaction, buying and campaign effectiveness and sustainable development; COI should continue to improve its services to customers by introducing new marketing materials, new internal structures and by developing a clear policy for the use of direct services.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much was spent on (a) the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, (b) the Strategy Unit, (c) the Office of Public Service Reform, (d) the e-Government Unit, (e) the Policy Hub and (f) UK Gov Talk in each year since 199697 or the date of establishment; and what the estimated expenditure for 200506 is. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Resource expenditure for the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit (PMDU), the Strategy Unit (SU), the Office of Public Service Reform (OPSR), the e-Government Unit (EGU) and UK Gov Talk in each year since their establishment and the estimated expenditure for 200506 are shown in the table.
The Prime Minister's Delivery Unit was set up in 2001; the Strategy Unit was set up in 2002 and the Office of Public Service Reform was set up in 2001 (and disbanded in January 2006). The EGU was formed in May 2004; the former Office of the e-Envoy had different functions and responsibilities, and its costs have not been included. The UK Policy Hub was set up in 2002 as part of a wider information technology Knowledge Management Project and its costs are not identified separately year-by-year. However, its cost from inception to January 2004 was £207,000 excluding VAT. Since 1 February 2004, the site has been located on the Cabinet Office server with the associated costs absorbed within general Cabinet Office IT costs.
|Net expenditure figures|
|PMDU||SU||OPSR||EGU||UK Gov Talk|
|Senior Civil Service 2||1|
|Senior Civil Service 1||9.6|
The total of 49.8 FTE excludes members of Strategy Unit staff who are on loan to other Government Departments, and are being paid by other Government Departments for the duration of the loan. There are six full time equivalents on loan to other Government Departments.
The total also excludes individuals who have been given an offer of employment with the Strategy Unit but were not in post on 31 January 2006. There were 5.8 full time equivalents yet to take up posts as at 31 January 2006.
The Prime Minister's Delivery Unit's agreed staffing profile for 200506 is set out in the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Southend West (Mr. Amess) on 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 2178W. Ian Watmore was appointed head of the unit at Permanent Secretary level on 9 January 2006.
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