§ Mr. Crausby
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of the total work force in his Department is of ethnic minority origin; and what steps he is taking to encourage the employment of people from the ethnic minorities in his Department.
§ Mr. Lock
As at 30 September 1999, 9.3 per cent. of staff in my Department (including Associated Offices, Court Service and Public Trust Office), who had completed a questionnaire, were of an ethnic minority origin. If all the staff who did not make a declaration were white, the figure would be 8.9 per cent.
My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office set out in her reply the corporate action being taken to encourage the employment of people from ethnic minorities. In this Department we provide sponsorship for undergraduates of ethnic minority origin each year under the Windsor Fellowship scheme. We also provide sponsorship and mentors annually for the National Mentoring Consortium, which brings professionals together with students of African, Caribbean and Asian origin to offer expertise, experience and support, as well as contributing to the Department's efforts to attract high calibre staff of ethnic minority origin. An officer has recently been appointed to develop interchange, outreach and recruitment; to take forward key aspects of the Modernising Government agenda; and generally increase the Department's profile at recruitment fairs and among potential ethnic minority recruitees.
We have recently appointed an Equality and Diversity Adviser to provide guidance on all aspects of the application of equal opportunities across the Department and its business. Furthermore, in response to the Report into the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, we are conducting a wide-ranging audit of all our policies and procedures, including recruitment. The Equality Audit will be making its recommendations in January.