Retirement Age

House of Lords written question – answered on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the adoption by the Department for Communities and Local Government of the national default retirement age of 65 is compatible with its responsibility as the lead department for equality and human rights; and

How the Department for Communities and Local Government can fulfil its commitment to promoting economic and social inclusion in its adoption of the national retirement age of 65.

Photo of Baroness Andrews Baroness Andrews Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Within Communities and Local Government there is no default age for retirement for staff below the Senior Civil Service grades, allowing an individual to continue work provided they receive satisfactory reports and have a good attendance and conduct record.

In the Senior Civil Service the retirement age is set by the Cabinet Office at 65.

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Joyce Glasser
Posted on 19 Jan 2007 2:06 pm (Report this annotation)

Although the DCLG is one of the few government departments that has not adopted the National Default Retirement Age for staff below Senior Civil Service grades, it remains a mystery why the retirement age is set by the Cabinet office at 65 for Senior Civil Servants. What is the logic? What is the justification? There is also the question of why, if some departments and grades can do without the National Default Retirement Age of 65, others need to cling to it?

When the idea of the National Default Retirement Age was first announced in late 2004, the DWP wrote to me that it was hoping most employers would not need to rely on the default retirement age. Apparently it was intended as a transitional feature for backward, unprepared companies, especially small businesses. Why then are so many government departments, including the entire Senior Civil Service, opting for it? Shouldn't the government be leading by example and abolishing the most ageist policy of all, a fixed retirement age?

Most senior civil servants will retire as soon as they can, given their generous pensions. What concerns me is the lack of new opportunities for older people wishing to join the civil service, but prevented from doing so by this antiquated fixed retirement age.

Lord Ouseley is to be commended for asking this question.