The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ, 09:00, 29 October 2008

A one-day conference exploring the production and use of population projections in public policy, made possible by the generous support of Swiss Re.

The full programme of this conference can be downloaded from the Actuarial Profession.

David Brindle, Public Services Editor of The Guardian wrote about the conference here.

Across pensions, housing, health and social care, public policy relies on projections of population mortality and healthy life expectancy. However, disagreements among different academic and professional disciplines about life expectancy and how it should be forecast affect how projections are used in public policy, and the institutional arrangements that govern and shape the production of mortality projections for policymaking.

This conference explored how population projections should be chosen and used in the formation of public policy. Should government bodies requiring advice on mortality make their own separate arrangements? Should the government establish an independent ‘standing commission on mortality’ empowered to make sense of scientific disagreements and uncertainties, and to advise on future mortality and policy? Or should the task of forging consensus on population projections be left to the academic and professional communities through open, scientific debate?

The conference brought together a range of experts to discuss these issues, review the latest evidence on mortality from demography, epidemiology and actuarial science, and explored how the governance of population projections used in public policy can be improved. The conference looked at how we should make sense of different viewpoints on future mortality, and how the government should sponsor and use projections on mortality and healthy life expectancy in public policy.

The ILC-UK have put together a report following the event which can be downloaded at