The Department does not issue guidance to local authorities on managing sickness absence levels. Local authorities are independent employers and free to manage their workforces. However, the Government has recently announced that it intends to review sickness absence in public sector workforces. The gap in sickness absence levels between the public and private sectors is reported to have narrowed over the past 20 years but levels still remain higher in the public sector. The Government intends to consult on possible reforms and will consider legislation where necessary to reduce the impact of sickness absence on public service delivery.