§ Mr. Crausby
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of the total workforce 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. Mandelson
The Northern Ireland Office is composed of staff from the Home Civil Service (HCS) and the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS). Of the HCS group based in London, 20 per cent. are of ethnic minority origin. Information about the ethnic origin of staff within Northern Ireland is not yet available. Race Relations legislation was recently introduced to Northern Ireland and the NIO has surveyed all staff on their ethnic origin. The data are presently being analysed.
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office set out in his reply of 16 December 1999, Official Report, column 264W, corporate action that we are taking to encourage the employment of people from ethnic minorities. Staff are recruited to the NIO HCS group by way of a recruitment agency and figures indicate that candidates from ethnic minorities are joining the Department.