§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
I have reviewed the arrangements for monitoring and control of future use of the NHS premature retirement scheme. Health authorities will continue to need a facility to retire staff prematurely as a result of organisational change, redundancy or in the interests of the efficiency of the service, but I have today issued guidance to health authorities on the precise criteria to be used in considering future cases. I have also decided that in future regions will only be able to approve such premature retirements within annual totals, for which prior approval must be sought from my Department. Approval will only be given if the Department is satisifed that the proposals are consistent with the criteria in the circular. Arrangements have also been made for regular monthly monitoring of cases approved, so that the Department can intervene quickly if a region appears to be departing from the approved policy or heading for an excess. I have also issued instructions that all premature retirements of senior regional officers, staff of special health authorities and cases of proposed premature retirement on limited efficiency grounds will require individual approval by my Department.
I believe that, with these changes, we shall in future be able to determine in advance how many premature retirements are necessary. The costs of compensation will, as now, be allocated to the health authorities concerned.
I am placing in the Library a copy of a health circular describing the new arrangements.