HL Deb 10 April 2001 vol 624 cc81-2WA
Lord Ahmed

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What training is given to Customs and Excise Officers in relation to race, religious and gender issues. [HL 1334]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

HM Customs and Excise is strongly committed to the avoidance of discrimination in all that it does, to valuing diversity and ensuring equality of opportunity. In support of the culture we are working towards, we have run an awareness campaign to emphasise the importance of treating people with dignity and respect.

Customs and Excise provides a range of training on equality and diversity issues. The programme includes training specifically for staff who deal with the trading and travelling public, covering a wide range of diversity issues including those of race, religion and gender.

Customs and Excise also provides training for all staff designed to raise awareness of the department's equal opportunities and diversity policies covering racial discrimination, sexual harassment, disability and bullying.

A booklet is available giving information on the major world religions. This helps to give an understanding of the basic beliefs and helps to recognise some of the things which people from different faiths take for granted, and which form part of their culture. This is to help people appreciate and respond to the needs of people from minority ethnic communities. This information is published on the department's intranet site and is widely available to all staff.

Diversity awareness training for all senior managers has been given, with ongoing support provided through an intranet site which includes a guide to practical diversity.