HC Deb 25 February 1980 vol 979 cc421-3W
Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many Government Departments meet the 3 per cent. quota for disabled persons in employment; and if he is satisfied with the figures.

Mr. Channon

I have been asked to reply.

The latest available figures show that 1 major Department and 7 minor Departments—that is those with less than 1,000 staff—are employing 3 per cent. or more registered disabled persons. These figures relate to those disabled people who are known to be registered. There are many disabled people who choose not to register or who have registered and have chosen not to disclose the fact to their employer.

I am satisfied that Departments are making every effort to ensure that opportunities to employ registered disabled persons are not overlooked. All Departments are regularly reminded of their individual responsibilities in this field and the need not to relax their efforts. In order to maintain impetus, my Department:

  1. (a) has issued a code of practice to all Departments;
  2. (b) has asked Departments to appoint departmental disabled persons officers with full responsibility for the recruitment and career development of registered disabled persons;
  3. (c) issues to all Departments an annual newsletter on the disabled;
  4. (d) holds meetings of groups of departmental disabled persons officers with general responsibility for the recruitment and employment of the disabled.

The Civil Service does, in fact, employ more registered disabled persons than any other single employer—over 12,500 at the last count. In the recruiting field the Civil Service specifically encourages applications for employment from registered disabled people. Where necessary, special arrangements are made for registered disabled candidates to attend tests and interviews, for example, in wheelchairs; and those competing for clerical vacancies are generally allowed to take "short-answer" tests if they lack the necessary qualifications.

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