On Monday 2nd July, Lord Wei of Shoreditch launched “Next steps: Life transitions and retirement in the 21st century” – a report which recommended creating a National Retirement Service programme. In the coming months, The Shaftesbury Partnership (SP) will take forward this recommendation, developing a pilot programme to help enable retirees to smooth, and take charge of their transition to later life.
Millions of people make significant life transitions every year in Britain, whether it is related to schooling and youth (e.g. transition into adulthood), starting a family (e.g. becoming a parent), entering (self) employment, or entering later life and retirement. Although often planned and desired, for many people such transitions can be traumatic, carrying a high personal cost and stress as well as social and economic consequences for the state.
Lord Wei’s report found that there has been limited systematic focus in policy making on supporting life transitions holistically; and that there is scope to use National Service Programmes as a tool to address the most common ones, particularly those faced by young people, new employees, new parents and retirees. Given the millions due to retire in the coming years, the report highlights the potential to create a National Retirement Service, led by retirees, for retirees. This service would be designed to assist those entering retirement with the support of their employers and the state, to plan for the future, build self-help networks, and engender trust across generations.
Lord Wei said: "We politicians do not focus enough on helping people cope with the big changes in their lives. This is a very timely report and I am pleased that we will be working with the Shaftesbury Partnership to make the report’s key recommendation a reality."
Patrick Shine, Lead Partner at The Shaftesbury Partnership commented, “Understanding and supporting life transitions is vital in making civil society more resilient. The Shaftesbury Partnership is very excited to be leading the development of the National Retirement Service pilot. From our experience of designing similar programmes we know that they need to be co-designed with the end users and with every implementation detail considered. As the founding Chair of The Challenge Network, I have had real-world experience of taking such programmes from vision to implementation and I welcome the opportunity to do so again.”
Leading employers and voluntary organisations with an interest and expertise in life transitions and retirement have been consulted in developing Lord Wei’s recommendations and it is hoped that many of these organisations will now work with SP to design the pilot. These organisations include ManpowerGroup, Saga Group Ltd, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK, Beth Johnson Foundation and UnLtd.
Dr. Ros Altman, Director General, Saga Group Ltd. said: "The idea of a National Retirement Service is important because it can help promote better later lives for the rapidly rising numbers of older people in the UK. We are currently wasting valuable resources. The old fashioned concept of retirement does not fit well with 21st century realities - we need to rethink retirement. In our later years, it is much better to keep active - this can involve working part-time, volunteering or caring for others."
Ruth Harper, Head of Corporate Affairs, ManpowerGroup said: “ManpowerGroup often talks about the challenge, opportunity and value that the variety of baby boomers, Generation X and Generation Y brings to the labour market. Never before has there been the same range of skills and experience in society. We need to provide opportunities for those experiencing such a change to continue to play a valuable role in the labour market as they wish and that meets their needs. We're pleased to support this initiative and look forward to seeing how these ideas develop.”