§ Mrs. Peacock
To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what new initiatives the Civil Service is taking to help recruit and retain staff in the 1990s.
§ Mr. Luce
Working mothers will be an important section of the labour force in the 1990s. The Civil Service recognises the need to offer working conditions and career opportunities that will be attractive to them. We have therefore revised our policy on financing child care schemes to give Departments the freedom to support these within running cost provisions, where this offers good 307W value for money. We have also clarified the rules on unpaid special leave to encourage Department to give a career break with a right of return for up to five years to staff with family responsibilities. Together with the existing programme of action to increase equality of opportunity for women at all levels we think these new measures will help to ensure that the service can recruit and retain staff in the labour market of the 1990s.