UK - Local authority pension experts are getting together to look at the sensitive issue of the increasing costs of ill health retirements among council workers.
A seminar - organised by the £6bn Greater Manchester Pension Fund - comes in the wake of new figures which show that more work needs to be done to prevent costs spiralling out of control.
The Tameside-based fund has already attracted 150 delegates to the seminar – drawn mainly from pensions and personnel departments from its employing authorities – as well as external medical advisers to its Manchester venue.
GMPF head of pensions administration Ged Dale said: “Incapacity retirements can be traumatic for individual members and extremely expensive for employers.”
Regulations regarding doctors approved by schemes is set to change in April, in a bid to increase their independence.
Dale said he hoped the event would enable those involved to fully understand the regulations that apply, the costs of decisions and what doctors take into account in forming their opinions.
Speakers at the seminar will include the chairman of the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisers, Patricia Turner; staff from the Local Authority Pension Fund (LAPF) and Bob Holloway from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, who will be giving an update on the Treasury’s review of incapacity retirement in the public sector.
A 1998 Audit Commission report – Retiring Nature: A Management Handbook on Early Retirement – found that nearly three-quarters of local government staff retire early.
Around 40% of these early retirements were on the grounds of ill health. Updates to this paper in 2000 found that although this situation had improved, more work still had to be done to avoid costs spiralling out of control.
The conference will take place in Manchester on February 8.
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