Select Committee on Education and Employment Minutes of Evidence


  At the Committee's hearing on 16 May we were asked to provide further information on how the Department promotes equal opportunities internally.

  DfEE is committed to becoming an organisation which at all levels reflects, and benefits from, the diversity of the society it serves. We have embarked on a programme of cultural change which has equality of opportunity at its heart. It is intended to create an organisation that is inclusive, not exclusive, and that attracts and retains women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities across all management grades. As part of this programme, we have committed ourselves to the "modernising government" targets for the senior Civil Service (SCS) of 35 per cent for women, 3.2 per cent from ethnic minorities and 3 per cent for people with disabilities. We intend to achieve these targets in fair and open competition by developing internal staff and through new recruitment, by 2004-05. We have also set an additional target of 30 per cent of posts with a JESP score of 13 or above (roughly equivalent to director-level in DfEE) being filled by women. Six of the last 12 people promoted into the SCS were women as were two of our recent external recruits. A breakdown by level as at 1 December 1999 is below.

  While the figures for women are relatively encouraging, we have not yet had comparable success with regard to people from ethnic minorities or people with disabilities entering the SCS. However, a DfEE grade 7 from an ethnic minority background was recently successful in an open competition run by another department and is now on loan to them as a substantive member of the SCS. We are making particular efforts to attract suitably qualified ethnic minority applicants when we recruit from outside or set up secondments/attachments. With regard to people with disabilities, we have run numerous events to raise awareness of our responsibilities towards and awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities.

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