Government Departments: Staff Absence

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th May 2009.

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Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Shadow Minister (Community Cohesion), Communities and Local Government

To ask Her Majesty's Government what the rates of staff (a) absence, and (b) sickness absence, were at (1) the Department of Health, and (2) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies, in each of the past three years; and what the targets for the department were in each case.

Photo of Lord Darzi of Denham Lord Darzi of Denham Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

Information about absences other than sick leave is not held centrally and to establish it would incur disproportionate cost. All staff are entitled to 30 days annual leave per year.

The figures for sickness absence in the department and its agencies for the past three years are given below:

Sickness absence rates shown as average working days lost per person
2008-09 5.6 6.0 5.1
2007-08 5.3 6.9 4.7
2006-07 6.5

The figure for 2006-7 is combined, because in that year (and before) the report was prepared in that way by an external company directly from payroll data.

Reducing the level of sickness absence is an important issue for the whole Civil Service. All government departments have been set a target of reducing the average days of sickness absence per person per year to 7.5 or less.

More information on sickness absence is available on the Civil Service statistics website at www.

The figures for sickness absence in the past three years for the non-departmental public bodies associated with the department are given below:

Name of Non-Departmental Public body Sickness absence rates shown as Average working days lost per person
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
The Alcohol Education and Research Council 0.00 0.00 1.00
Appointments Commission 5.86 9.78 5.44
Commission for Social Care Inspection 11.65 12.49 11.92
Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence 6.20 3.70 1.90
General Social Care Council 2.44 2.00 2.57
Health Protection Agency 8.17 8.32 9.00
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority 5.10 6.70 6.50
Human Tissue Authority 4.00 4.00 5.00
Monitor-Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts 2.10 2.80 2.90
Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board 5.20 11.00 7.50

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