Hamish Davidson (Personnel Today, 31 May) quite rightly pointed out the impact that improved absence data can have on efficiency in public services. But better computerised HR systems and data warehousing can also make a difference.
At Hertfordshire County Council, our absence rates were running at 8.3 days per employee. This was relatively low compared with the public sector average of 10.7 days, and close to the private sector average of 7.8 days.
However, as a result of the introduction of an improved HR data system and a positive attendance management programme, over the past 12 months we have been able to reduce this figure to 8.0 days, saving the business a further 25,000 in the first year alone.
So, while I agree with Digby Jones’s call for improvements in managing sickness absence in the public sector, government intervention isn’t necessarily the answer.
Assistant HR director
Hertfordshire County Council