HC Deb 02 November 1987 vol 121 c544W
Ms. Richardson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is (a) the proportion of working time allocated to his departmental equal opportunities officer for equal opportunities duties, (b) the other duties carried out by the departmental equal opportunities officer, (c) the proportion, and the amount, of the departmental budget which is allocated to equal opportunities work, (d) the number of occasions when the departmental equal opportunities officer meets with equal opportunities officers from other Government Departments each year, (e) the guidelines issued to his departmental training officers and equal opportunities officers to promote the use of section 47 of the Sex Discrimination Act, and (f) the action taken to facilitate jobshare, part-time working and parental leave.

Mr. Eggar

[pursuant to his reply, 28 October 1987, c. 269]: There are two equal opportunity officers in the diplomatic wing and one in the aid wing. The proportion of their time allocated to equal opportunity work is 15, 10 and 10 per cent., respectively. They combine their equal opportunity duties with personnel management, policy and training responsibilities as assistant heads of departments.

There is no budget specifically allocated to equal opportunity work. Costs are borne on many budgets and could be calculated only at disproportionate effort and expense.

The equal opportunity officers meet their counterparts from other departments formally once a year. In addition, they or their representatives meet other departments' representatives regularly to discuss specific equal opportunity matters and participate in seminars and briefings.

Guidance is issued to equal opportunity officers and training officers on all aspects of equal opportunities, including the Sex Discrimination Act.

Following consultation with the trade union side, departmental procedures have been amended to facilitate jobsharing, part-time working and parental leave. A booklet was recently issued to staff explaining these and other equal opportunity initiatives. The aid wing is discussing with the trade union side a formal agreement on jobsharing and part-time working.

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