HC Deb 28 October 1987 vol 121 cc334-5W
Ms. Richardson

asked the Secretary of State for Defence 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 allocated to equal opportunities work, (d) the number of occasions when the departmental equal opportunities officer meets equal opportunities officers from other Government Departments each year, (e) the guidelines issued to departmental training officers and equal opportunities officers to promote the use of section 47 of the Sex Discrimination Act and (f) what action has been taken to facilitate job share, part-time working and parental leave.

Mr. Sainsbury

The departmental equal opportunities officer, who is generally responsible for industrial relations policy in the Department, allocates some 5 per cent. of personal working time to specific equal opportunities work. The promotion of equal opportunities is an integral part of personnel management, and it is not possible to attribute specific costs. The departmental equal opportunities officer or his representative regularly meets colleagues from other Government Departments at committees chaired by the office of the Minister for the Civil Service, and at other meetings to discuss specific issues. Action is being taken to ensure that women have access to relevant training, including women-only courses, and equal opportunities awareness is being promoted on all appropriate courses and through an instruction to all staff. In conjunction with the MOD Council of Civil Service Unions, a survey has been conducted to determine the demand for job-sharing and part-time working. As a result a circular is being issued throughout the Department drawing attention to the possibility of creating job shares or part-time posts. Arrangements exist to accommodate requests for special leave to cope with domestic responsibilities.