Sicklist shrinks but Civil Service has more to do

The government is making progress in reducing sickness absence across the Civil Service, but more needs to be done, according to a ministerial taskforce set up to tackle the problem.

Cabinet Office figures released earlier this month showed that Civil Service sickness absence as a whole has fallen by about one day per person over the past 12 months, with more than 40% of public sector staff taking no sick leave at all.

But the data did reveal that some Whitehall departments, such as HM Revenue & Customs and the Prison Service, are still struggling to tackle the problem.

Lord Hunt, who is leading the ministerial taskforce on health, safety and productivity, said that action across the public sector to prevent sickness absence was having an impact.

The details of progress made over the past year have been published by the taskforce in its One Year On assessment.

It shows that management commitment, the use of trigger points and return-to-work interviews are leading to a gradual reduction in sickness absence.

But Lord Hunt warned that departments still have a long way to go.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that there is no room for complacency and there is still more work to be done right across the public sector,” he said.

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