HC Deb 16 December 1999 vol 341 cc263-4W
Mr. Crausby

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what percentage of the total workforce in her Department is of ethnic minority origin; and what steps she is taking to encourage the employment of people from the ethnic minorities in her Department. [102739]

Mr. Stringer

Making a dramatic improvement in diversity is a central part of the civil service reform programme. We are taking action across the civil service to address the under-representation of ethnic minorities particularly at senior levels. We have set a target to double the number of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds in the senior civil service to 3.2 per cent. by 2004–05.

The Cabinet Office is putting in place measures to help achieve corporate action, including: the appointment of an outreach worker who is working with university ethnic minority groups to build a better understanding of the opportunities in the Fast Stream; appointing a Senior Adviser to establish further pools of secondees and potential recruits and act as a source of advice to departments; planning to hold a civil service ethnic minority careers fair annually.

The Cabinet Office, as an organisation, has developed and is implementing, a Diversity Action Plan, which includes objectives and actions for setting targets for recruitment and selection; retention; and progression of under-represented groups, strengthening links with ethnic minority communities (open-days and seminars), summer work placements for school pupils, and a mentoring scheme for Cabinet Office staff and external ethnic minority undergraduates.

As at 1 April 1999 9.02 per cent. of permanent staff in the Department were of ethnic minority origin.