This morning the Times gives us an update on police sick leave:
"Police forces lost more than one million days to long-term sick leave last year at a record cost of nearly £90 million... The cost has soared by more than 20 per cent in the past five years despite a drive within the police to reduce prolonged sick absences... stress, depression, back pain and other musculo-skeletal disorders are mainly responsible."
We've blogged this before, and despite another huge bureaucratic programme to reduce the problem, it's clearly got worse. As the TPA's Matthew Elliott comments:
"The model of running the nation’s policing off a spreadsheet in Whitehall is failing the police and the public. Central mismanagement has produced a system so tangled with red tape and targets that good officers are being driven into illness."
The really shocking point is that when it comes to sickies, the police are among the best of the public sector workforces. They take an average of 8.3 days pa, whereas across the whole public sector the average is 9.8 days pa.
And some bits are much worse. When last sighted, average sick leave in the NHS was running at two and a half weeks pa (12 days pa), and in some HMRC offices it averages nearly five weeks pa.
For comparison, sick leave in the private sector averages 7.2 days pa.
As we've blogged many times, you can't entirely blame backsliding lead-swinging public sector workers. The fundamental cause is poor management.
In Tyler's experience, few managers ever enjoy confronting poor performers, be they in the public or private sectors. But in the public sector, managers know they can expect no support from the top. This government has actively undermined its managers through half-baked programmes to root out supposed discrimination and bullying. Tackling underperformance hasn't had a look in.
Taxpayers are reaping what the government has sown.
PS And let's not forget the Tory MP who worked in the City while on a sickie from the Commons.