Select Committee on Armed Forces Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Ministry of Defence



  1.  The 1996 Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill commented on the implementation of racial equality policies within the Armed Forces. In welcoming an Action Plan agreed between the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and Ministry of Defence, the Committee urged the Department to "implement it with a determination not hitherto displayed".[2] The Committee called upon the Ministry of Defence to implement all of the Action Plan's provisions in time to make a full report on progress to the 2000-01 Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill. This Memorandum now provides the Department's detailed account of the steps taken to implement both the Action Plan and subsequent Partnership Agreement. It reports on progress across the Armed Forces, comments on the major areas of policy focus and implementation and identifies where priorities remain. The Memorandum is supported by a series of Annexes, summarising individual developments in the Naval Service, Army and RAF (Annexes A-C). A separate Annex (Annex D) details, for the Committee, the latest situation in respect of the various measures which were agreed in the March 1996 Action Plan. Separate racial equality policies exist for the MoD Civil Service which are consistent in both strategy and policy to those in the Armed Forces.


  2.  When the Select Committee's predecessor took evidence from both the Ministry of Defence and the Commission for Racial Equality, it had before it a report[3] on the Commission's formal investigation into the Household Cavalry. The CRE had reached the conclusion that racial discrimination had occurred within the Household Cavalry and criticised the Department for inadequate arrangements on ethnic monitoring. Only serious and sustained efforts by all concerned would eradicate racial abuse; all in all, their overall findings suggested that a non-discrimination notice was appropriate. In the circumstances however, and following positive discussions between the Commission and the Department, Commissioners decided to accept MoD's wish to work in a spirit of co-operation on racial equality programmes across the Armed Forces generally. A decision on legal action was postponed for a year.

  3.  This spirit of co-operation led to the Permanent Secretary and Commission Chairman signing a joint Action Plan on 28 March 1996. Many of the Action Plan measures reflected the need for a review of practice and procedures within the Household Cavalry but some had a tri-Service application. Chief amongst these was the requirement for the Department to review ethnic monitoring arrangements both in the area of recruitment and serving personnel; such monitoring should enable detailed analyses of ethnic origin information with quarterly reports submitted to the Commission. Our work on ethnic monitoring is discussed in detail at paragraphs 11-15 below.

  4.  Much of the first year's efforts on the Action Plan necessarily concentrated on ensuring the various parameters were addressed. Although the CRE recognised some signs of progress when they reviewed progress in March 1997, Commissioners concluded that more work needed to be undertaken to effect permanent attitudinal change towards racial equality. As a consequence the Commission decided that it would be appropriate to retain the threat of legal action against the Department. However, following a further year's work, which included a fundamental review of equality training in the Armed Forces and the setting of goals for ethnic minority recruitment, the Department and Commission agreed to enter into a five year Partnership Agreement, subsuming within it the 1996 Action Plan.

  5.  The Partnership Agreement was signed between the Chief of the Defence Staff and the CRE Chairman on 25 March 1998. A copy is attached at Annex E. It reflects a joint commitment between the Department and CRE to achieve real progress in going beyond the requirements of the Action Plan with the aim of securing greater racial equality in the Naval Service, Army and RAF. Importantly the Agreement contained recognition, from the Commission, of progress to warrant the withdrawal of legal action. In it the CRE acknowledged the leadership and commitment being shown by the Chief of the Defence Staff and single Service Chiefs of Staff to racial equality. It acknowledged also past failure in Armed Forces (race equality) programmes, and provided a commitment to achieving permanent change. A number of priority areas were identified including the achievement of recruitment goals, and the examination of barriers to ethnic minority recruitment, promotion and retention.


  6.  Since the last Select Committee considered racial equality in the Armed Forces much has been done to convince members of ethnic minority communities that the Services are employers of first choice with the policies and leadership to remove prejudice, tackle racism and deal effectively with anyone who breaches equal opportunities policies. One of our main challenges remains recruitment and the encouragement of enquiries and applications from black and Asian people.

  7.  The Department recognises that the Armed Forces must take a real lead nationally in promoting and demonstrating racial equality and diversity. The Macpherson Report[4] into the handling of the investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence contained a number of recommendations that bear on all public employers. It provided, along with the Partnership Agreement, an unequivocal challenge for the Armed Forces to set a clear lead for others in managing racial equality and diversity programmes. The Chief of the Defence Staff, as a signatory of the CRE's Leadership Challenge, in May 1998, said:

    "I believe strong, visible leadership and commitment from the Service Chiefs is paramount to the Government's wish to remove any racism and to recruit more ethnic minority personnel. I and the Service Chiefs take this issue extremely seriously, and will continue to review progress on a regular basis to ensure equality of opportunity for all personnel."

  The Secretary of State for Defence made clear the Government's commitment when, speaking at a major Armed Forces Equal Opportunities Conference on 10 November 1998, he said,

    "We do have a demanding vision—to create Armed Forces which truly reflect the diverse society we live in—and we can and will fulfil this vision."

  Recognition of the Services' progress on promoting race equality has been manifested by success in receiving a Gold Award in 1998 for Raising Diversity Awareness and winning the inaugural Windrush Champion award in 1999.


  8.  Leadership remains the key ingredient of our effective policy development and application. Only through the personal example and commitment of all commanders and line managers will our people understand why racial equality (and equality policies generally) is and must remain an issue for everyone. To strengthen the clear top level direction we established a corporate tri-Service framework for equality management in the Armed Forces, with a clearly articulated goal and series of principles.

The Goal

    "The Services Equal Opportunities goal is to achieve universal acceptance and application of a working environment free from harassment, intimidation and unlawful discrimination, in which all have equal opportunity, consistent with our legal obligations, to realise their full potential in contributing to the maintenance and enhancement of operational effectiveness. The Armed Forces value every individual's unique contribution, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, religion, gender or social background."[5]

Corporate Principles

    —  All personnel will be accountable for implementation of Service and civilian (where mixed Service and civilian working environments exist) equality and diversity programmes.

    —  All harassment and unlawful discrimination will be challenged and action taken to address prejudice and negative attitudes.

    —  Complaints will be dealt with fairly and expeditiously.

    —  All equality policies will be monitored and evaluated.

    —  The composition of the Armed Forces should better reflect the society they exist to defend.

  The Goal (and principles) were announced in Parliament in 1999[6] and have been widely published across the Services. They are reflected in the Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy at Personnel Strategy Guideline 15 and follow the principle of continuous improvement. A review of the Strategy Guideline is currently underway with a view to setting diversity in a military context and developing a series of performance indicators against which policy implementation can be measured.


  9.  In order to fulfil the vision identified by the Secretary of State we concluded that a strategy, which took as its foundation the achievement of greater racial equality and diversity in the Services, was required. Our vision remains for ethnic minority communities—and society generally—to recognise the Services as an organisation that has learnt from experience and successfully achieved greater racial equality, with all personnel progressing fairly on merit. We want the Armed Forces to be seen as an employer who has addressed with determination racial inequality and acted decisively to remove any racial discrimination or harassment. We concluded that such a vision needed to be built around a corporate tri-Service framework.


  10.  Annex E[7] sets out the parameters of the Partnership Agreement, including terms. The main components of the Agreement are identified in paragraph 13 and reflect the Department's general racial equality objectives for the Armed Forces. Specifically they include affording priority to achieving recruitment goals and objective examination of barriers for attracting, promoting and retaining ethnic minority personnel. Also reflected, in accord with our determination for commanders to show effective leadership, is a commitment to include assessment of equal opportunities performance as part of the annual appraisal process. The main focus of the individual Services work on racial equality programmes over the last four years is set out in detail in Annexes A to C inclusive and follows the main headings of the Agreement with the Commission.

Ethnic Monitoring

  11.  The early focus of tri-Service work was on ethnic monitoring. Given the Commission's criticism and our wish to have an accurate baseline against which to assess progress we decided that this should be afforded a high priority. Our ethnic monitoring requirements are based entirely on our wish to ensure that there is no racial bias in the selection, promotion and retention procedures involving personnel in the Armed Forces.

  12.  At the time of the 1996 Select Committee's report ethnic monitoring of serving personnel, through a voluntary postal survey, had produced a response rate of 67 per cent; no ethnic monitoring procedures were in place in respect of recruitment. Within three months of the Committee's report we introduced, by using the 1991 Census categories, ethnic origin questions on the Armed Forces Recruiting, Enquiry and Application forms. In addition a management-led self-classification survey of all serving personnel was initiated and completed by October 1996. This meant that, for the first time, arrangements were in place to allow systematic monitoring by ethnic origin across recruitment, promotion and retention activities. The in-Service survey revealed that, as at June 1997, ethnic minority representation across the Armed Forces stood at 1 per cent.

  13.  Over the last three years we have continued to refine and develop ethnic monitoring, partly as a result of the quarterly reporting arrangement required by the Action Plan. Service policy staffs engaged with recruitment and equality policy implementation now employ the analysis to probe more deeply behind particular issues, such as the unsatisfactory conversion rate of ethnic minority enquirers in the Naval Service and to review the performance of individual recruiting offices. The success of the Armed Forces in achieving and maintaining a near 100 per cent ethnic origin response rate has been commended by the Commission and has led to interest from other employers.

  14.  As at 1 December 2000 ethnic monitoring showed that 1.45 per cent of Armed Forces' personnel had declared themselves as from ethnic minorities. This amounts to 2,985 personnel. The details are:

Trained Numbers
Untrained Numbers
Total Strength
per cent
Black Caribbean
Black African
Black Other
Other Group

  Of the overall Service figure of 1.45 per cent each Service's position is as follows:

Naval Service

  15.  Work is in hand to introduce the 2001 Census ethnic origin categories into all stages of the tri-Service recruitment process. Current planning is predicated on the basis that analyses of the 2001 Census categories should be used by Service recruiters and personnel policy staffs from late autumn 2001.


Recruitment Goals

  16.  The Armed Forces need to recruit the required numbers of personnel, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, religion or gender and without reference to social background or sexual orientation. In April 1997, ethnic minority personnel made up 1 per cent of the total strength of the Armed Forces. At the same time the ethnic composition of the total UK population was thought to be nearing 6 per cent. In a determined effort to increase the ethnic representation of our Armed Forces we agreed a strategy of setting recruiting goals to which we would aspire. Consequently, on 22 January 1998, the then Minister(AF) announced in Parliament[8] that ethnic minority recruiting goals were being introduced, starting at 2 per cent for 1998-99 and rising annually by 1 per cent to reach 5 per cent in 2001-02. There are two main reasons why the Armed Forces wish to recruit many more suitably qualified ethnic minority personnel:

    —  so that the Services may better reflect in their composition the society they are called upon to defend and from which they gain their legitimacy and resources;

    —  in order to tap into a rich source of talented applicants which had previously been under-used.

The Challenge of Ethnic Minority Recruiting: The Strategy

  17.  Within the objectives set by Government, the three Services are responsible for undertaking the recruitment of their own personnel. In 1998, when ethnic minority recruiting goals were introduced and the push to increase ethnic minority recruits started, the generality of recruiting activity was carried out using tried and tested strategies and methodologies which were delivering general success. The elements of recruiting can be broadly summed up as follows:

    —  advertising in all forms to heighten awareness of both young people, their parents and local community leaders;

    —  generating a positive image of the Services and careers in the Armed Forces;

    —  engaging young people to come forward and see what the Services have to offer and to experience something of Service work and life by vigorous and persistent outreach programmes;

    —  where necessary, nurturing candidates through the stages of the recruitment process from initial enquiry to selection/enlistment;

    —  analysing achievement and building upon success.

  18.  However, it was plain from research commissioned previously (and since confirmed by experience) that recruiting ethnic minority young people posed difficult and different challenges from those usually encountered and that, for an initial period at least, it would be necessary to concentrate on these obstacles. Chief among them were:

    —  a lack of familiarity with the existence, roles and career opportunities of the Armed Forces;

    —  the view that a Service career was low status employment;

    —  fear of bullying and racial harassment;

    —  lack of parental support or, at worst, parental and community opposition;

    —  population largely concentrated only in specific locations (unlike the more even spread of the majority population), therefore needing different types of targeting.

  19.  It was known from the outset that there would be an absence of detailed demographic and in-depth marketing statistical information; and it was realised that it take time to build up to a point where campaign and marketing decisions could be made with a high level of confidence in the outcome. Furthermore, no robust monitoring system was in place to record achievement from individual initiatives/events; nor was there a system to enable unexpected deviations from recruiting norms to be identified and action taken to remedy the cause. Taking all of these factors into account, the recruiting strategy was to take a pragmatic approach that enabled the obstacles to be clarified and tackled (with a combination of outreach campaigning, refocused advertising, etc) while experience and data were built up.

Change in Action

  20.  Advertising. Armed Forces advertising has become threaded with the diversity message. All general campaigns contain material designed to impact on ethnic minorities. In addition, all three Services take maximum advantage of the opportunities available in ethnic minority media, including advertising in minority language papers. Access to major festivals, cultural events and large minority public gatherings is used to heighten awareness and to provide opportunities for all present to gain knowledge both of the Armed Forces and to encounter people who are typical of those who are already serving.

  21.  Generating a positive image. The introduction by the Armed Forces of a policy of "zero tolerance", with the associated equal opportunities training programmes and confidential Helplines, is used repeatedly and determinedly to counter and then reverse previous negative images of the Forces. Each Service seeks to engage all its personnel in pursuit, not only of recruitment, but also of the duty to promote racial diversity and equality. Each Service relies heavily on the use of role models. For example, the RAF has a carefully selected corps of some 200 ethnic minority personnel who volunteer to carry out this role. All three Services provide access to their units and establishments where potential recruits (or their parents) can meet and talk to role models in situ. These encounters are designed to remove preconceptions concerning prejudice, employment options and career value.

  22.  Engagement. A wide range of activities is undertaken in support of a vigorous, active and persistent outreach campaign that is designed to encourage the interest of ethnic minority young people, their parents and others with influence over career intentions. The aim is, by giving a taste of Service life, to stimulate applications to join. Each Service has developed its own approach to outreach to suit its needs. The Army, for example, has engaged a consultancy to facilitate its access to ethnic minority young people and their leaders. This access is then consolidated onto a more permanent footing by the formation of local community partnerships that provide an ongoing presence. The RN and RAF, with their very different footprints, have and are expanding liaison teams to support campaigns in selected areas of the country, looking to achieve maximum heightening of awareness and encouragement of applications. In addition, the Naval Service has developed the use of personal development courses (PDCs) to stimulate applications while increasing the self confidence of would be candidates and thus boosting their potential success in the recruiting process. Each of these methods has a geographic focus and this helps to counter the difficulties posed by the geographically disparate locations of ethnic minority populations. Outreach in itself does not necessarily result in immediate increases in direct recruiting, being primarily concerned with sowing seeds for the longer term by increasing access to, and knowledge of, the Armed Forces. However, results from the Navy's PDCs, the Army's most recent London campaign and the RAF's Leeds/Bradford initiative last year indicate that outreach can also achieve immediate generation of enquiries and applicants. Evaluation of these and similar initiatives has demonstrated to us the critical importance of persisting with recruiting and liaison activities once initial contact has been made.

Monitoring, evaluating and learning from experience

  23.  Initially, the gathering of statistics was neither robust nor thorough. For example, statistics for ethnic minority recruiting in 1997-98 included non-UK citizens recruited from the Commonwealth but it is not known how many. Although problems remain with utilising legacy systems that were never designed to record ethnic origin, a much more reliable and robust system has been developed with the Defence Analytical Services Agency to monitor the inflow of ethnic minority recruits from the UK labour markets. The detailed statistical data being built up by the Services is also providing the basis for analysing whether there were or are any barriers within the recruitment process itself. Being ethically proactive employers, the Armed Forces need to be assured that their procedures, above all the psychometric tests, are not in any way harder for ethnic minority applicants than for any other group. Both the Naval Service and the Army have found that the failure rate of their basic Other Ranks entry test amongst ethnic minority candidates is disproportionately greater than with candidates from the majority community. Both the Army (in 1999) and the Navy (in 2000) commissioned the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, a national centre of excellence, to investigate their tests, the British Army Recruit Battery (BARB) and the Recruit Test (RT) respectively. While some items in the tests were found to be unsound, the overall "adverse effect" was assessed to be negligible. Nonetheless, a new BARB is to be introduced in 2001 and items in the RT are likely to be rewritten. The RAF's new Airmen's selection test, introduced in April 2000, was subject to field trials in schools where there was a broad gender and ethnic mix; the trials endorsed the psychometric fairness. Research offered to the Navy suggested that institutional bias in schools could sustain underachievement in ethnic minority pupils and that such pupils may have limited test-taking experience. All three Services now use members of their ethnic minority liaison teams to mentor applicants through the test-taking process. Experience with, and development of, the tests is also considered by a tri-Service committee that facilitates the sharing of information, research and best practice.

  24.  Another feature disproportionately common among ethnic minority applicants is failure to attend pre-arranged interviews. As both interviews and tests occur early in the recruitment process this was of concern. Again, the Services have learnt to use members of their ethnic minority liaison teams to nurture applicants through the recruitment process and thereafter until entry into the Service. Improvements in interview methods were introduced early on, following advice from ethnic minority religious leaders but further research into the recruitment process has been commissioned in order to improve the "conversion rate" (ie enquiries-applicants-enlistments-entrants).

  25.  Until comparatively recently, there was not sufficient statistical data derived from many ethnic minority recruiting activities to act as a basis for decision making. This is changing. The Naval Service work on conversion rates noted above and the further research to be undertaken is based on statistical evidence gathered by the recruiting organisations' monitoring. The annual recruiting plans of the Services and their underlying strategies are evidence based and increasingly reliant on robust evaluation of experience since 1998—ie what worked and what did not.

Cost of EM Recruitment

  26.  It is difficult to identify separately that element of the recruitment budget (>£100 million) which is specifically attributable to ethnic minority recruitment. Currently, it is thought that between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of single Service marketing budgets may be attributable to the ethnic minority recruiting campaign but this figure is misleading by itself since it cannot sensibly be taken in isolation from the activities promoted by the remaining to 85 to 90 per cent of the budgets

Overall Achievement

  27.  The tri-Service ethnic minority annual recruiting achievement thus far, with the year relevant shown in brackets is:

2.2% at mid-year point

  Further details of ethnic minority recruiting achievement for each Service since the introduction of goals, broken down by officers and other ranks, can be found in Annexes A-C. The figures show that although the goals have not been attained, there has been a year-on-year increase of ethnic minority recruits, both in terms of numbers recruited and the percentage total intake, since monitoring began. Significantly, although the figures are too small to have trend setting significance, the intake of ethnic officers to the Naval Service and the RAF in 1999-2000 all but doubled the achievement of the previous year.

MoD Centre Role: Propagation of Best Practice

  28.  While the single Services are responsible for undertaking their own recruitment, the centre of the Department sets corporate strategy. In the case of ethnic minority recruiting this includes:

    —  goal setting;

    —  liaison with the CRE on policy;

    —  facilitating the spread of best practice not only between the three Services (and Reserves) themselves but also from other, non-Service sources eg Prince's Trust;

    —  commissioning research into, for example, best practice assessment, selection testing, and future social and demographic trends;

    —  prompting and sharing the evaluation of outcomes;

    —  ensuring early shared visibility of ethnic minority recruiting action plans to enable activities to be de-conflicted;

    —  high-level focus on improving the effectiveness of the recruiting process e.g. conversion rates;

    —  The Defence Recruiting Committee established a working group in 1999 to focus specifically on identifying and spreading best practice in ethnic minority recruiting.

Retention of EMs

  29.  The current ethnic minority proportion of the Armed Forces is 1.45. As far as retention is concerned, this small baseline makes trend spotting difficult if not statistically impractical, and the best active approach adopted to date is to monitor the figures to ensure outflow is no greater than that of the majority. Monitoring has failed to show any evidence that the retention of ethnic minorities is less than for other groups. However, as numbers build, trends should become more discernible. Retention will become a matter of importance as Public Service Agreements drive the focus into examination of promotions trends etc.

Future Tri-Service Strategy

  30.  The strategy for ethnic minority recruiting has evolved pragmatically in the light of experience gained over the past two years. In order to review progress, the Department is conducting a policy evaluation, consulting interested parties like the CRE. An examination will also be made into whether the recruiting activities of the Reserve Forces and Cadet Forces have transferable lessons for the Regular Forces. Recruiting efforts are now likely to focus more on areas of large ethnic minority populations. Although a high level of outreach activities will need to be maintained for the foreseeable future, the current trend is to place an increasing emphasis on the directly attributable recruitment outcomes that they can show. The growth in numbers of ethnic minority recruits has been slow so far but the Services point to the perceptible year-on-year increase they have achieved. With the benefit of more meaningful data and the hard won knowledge gained over the past two years, together with a more experienced and better trained field force, we expect to maintain current gains and to increase the momentum. As part of this, we would expect any extra costs to reduce and conversion rates to begin to equate more closely to those found among the population in general.


Tri-Service Equality Training

  31.  Effecting permanent attitudinal change towards our racial equality goal is a cultural issue. Indeed, from the early days of the Action Plan CDS and the Chiefs of Staff made clear that tackling racial prejudice was an issue for all. Top level commitment is now firmly established and continues to emphasise the importance of raising awareness of Service equality policies through comprehensive training across the Command chain.

  32.  In November 1996 the then Financial Planning and Management Group (Service Personnel) (FPMG(SP)) concluded, in its consideration of work to implement the Action Plan, that equal opportunities training in all three Services should be reviewed and that the establishment of a Tri-Service Equal Opportunities Training Centre be explored. The subsequent Training Needs Analysis by the Services supported the creation of a centre to deliver training to unit Equal Opportunities Advisers, Equal Opportunities Trainers and policy staff, and to run a senior officer seminar for 1* officers and above.

  33.  Work began in 1997 to look at this in more detail. A great deal of research was undertaken; the training methods, course syllabi and teaching techniques of a number of UK organisations including the Police (Greater Manchester, Kent, Hampshire and Police Training Colleges), Judicial Studies Board, British Telecom and Littlewoods) were reviewed to look at tried and tested examples of best practice and benchmarking. Account was taken also of the American approach at the Defence Equal Opportunities Management Institute in Florida and that of the Canadian military.

Training for Equal Opportunities Advisers (EOA)

  34.  Armed Forces policy requires every unit, ship, station, headquarters, or formation to have a trained Adviser in equality on their strength. In February 1998 the Training Centre, at RMCS Shrivenham, headed by a Lieutenant Colonel and complemented with officers and non commissioned officers from all three Services, began pilot courses for Service Equal Opportunities Advisers, and their civilian counterparts in Service units and establishments. We decided to begin training for EOAs because all perform a vital function within the chain of command in providing local expertise to military commanders on Armed Forces racial and gender equality policies. Course definition and structure was completed by March 1998 and designed to cover:

    —  the links between attitudes and behaviour in relation to equal opportunities;

    —  the principles of diversity management;

    —  the relationship between equal opportunities legislation and codes of practice;

    —  how to advise on racial (and sexual) harassment complaints;

    —  how to advise on equal opportunities training.

Training for Senior Officers

  35.  The FPMG(SP) agreed, in March 1998, that all Service officers of one star rank and above were to receive a mandatory course of training in equal opportunities at the tri-Service Centre. The same facility was made available to Senior Civil Service personnel in the Department. The course was designed to enable senior officers to:

    —  explain the role of leadership and personal example in developing a culture which encourages fair treatment;

    —  set out the case for equal opportunities, including diversity management, in terms of operational effectiveness and performance;

    —  understand the procedures for dealing with Service and civilian harassment complaints and to ensure that they are enforced;

    —  propose personal actions to further an understanding of equality policies in their command chain.

  A contract for the delivery of senior officer training was let in 1998. The Chief of the Defence Staff and Permanent Secretary attended the first course in September 1998.

  36.  As at 31 December 2000 the Centre had trained 2,773 personnel from all three Services and the MoD Civil Service. This represents the delivery of 98 per cent of the originally forecast training requirement. External recognition of the quality of training provided has been gained by the accreditation, in May 2000, of the Equal Opportunities Adviser course by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as equivalent to the Equality Management elective for membership. This is only the second time that CIPD has recognised a stand-alone elective as meeting their stringent requirements and provides a useful benchmark against civilian practice.

  37.  Interest in the Shrivenham Training Centre has been considerable. Both the CRE and Equal Opportunities Commission have observed training in progress; media interest has also been significant with BBC West producing a documentary on its work. A visiting Hungarian MoD delegation also asked to observe training. Having hosted a visit by members of the Islamic Foundation the Centre's staff paid a return visit to see the work of the Foundation. This represented just one of a number of visits undertaken by Training Centre personnel to ensure that their own knowledge of all aspects of religious and minority ethnic cultures was comprehensive and relevant.

Evaluation of Senior Officer and EOA Courses

  38.  In keeping with normal best practice personnel attending both the senior officers and EOA courses have provided feedback on both the quality and utility of the training received. Comments received through course critiques have resulted in minor developmental adjustments to the training but have predominantly shown a high level of satisfaction. Comments received continue to confirm the view that the training is both appropriate and effective:

    —  "found it valuable, interesting and—to my surprise, I must say—fun. You got the day exactly right—a lot of thought provoking ideas and views and a refreshingly new look at an old problem, without lecturing or talking down."

    —  "In my sordid past; I have been the bully, been bullied; harassed soldiers and been harassed; I have upheld the law whilst breaking it myself and most strikingly; I have been ignorant through a placid attitude. We all need to know what is going on and I believe this is why I needed this course. By coming on this week, I have realised where I came from, what I did wrong and can now make a difference."

    —  "Best non-operational course I have ever attended in the military."

  A formal two-tier evaluation process is being undertaken to evaluate both the reaction of individuals to the training and its long-term impact across the MoD. A generic measurement tool has been developed which is enabling measurement of individuals' reactions to the training against five scales:

    —  Behavioural response. Has the behaviour of an individual changed as a result of attending the training?

    —  Trainee confidence. Has the individual felt more confident in tackling EO related issues as a result of attending the training?

    —  Issues in respect of personal and professional development. Has the individual felt that the training has helped in both their career and personal development?

    —  Suitability of the training environment. Was the manner in which the training was delivered both effective and appropriate?

    —  Instructor credibility. Did the instructor put the subject across in a credible and effective way?

  The responses are all self-reported and have been generated by a survey of 1,500 personnel who attended training between September 1998 and June 2000. An overall response rate of 70 per cent was achieved despite the inevitable difficulties of tracking down personnel who have relocated since attending the training. One element of the evaluation is designed to confirm that the training delivered is equally appropriate to all ranks across the Services by seeking to identify if there are any statistically significant differences by either rank or service.

  39.  Separate long-term evaluation work is also underway to quantify the impact of a specific training intervention or policy change. This will allow the impact of changes to policy or training to be predicted in a way that will permit specific resources to be effectively targeted in response to specific needs. This will take until 2003 to complete.

Future Tri-Service Training Centre Courses

  40.  Consideration is now being given to the development of future courses at Shrivenham. The need for continuation training for personnel who have previously attended both the EOA and senior officer seminar is also being considered. This will take into account the impending changes in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act—and in particular the positive duty on the public sector to promote race equality. We are arranging a number of tri-Service (and civilian) seminars in 2001 to update EOAs/EOOs on general policy issues and to hear from them on attitudes towards equality issues in the command chain.

Individual Service Equality Training

  41.  All three Services undertook a further review of their equal opportunities training programmes in 1999 following direction from the Chief of the Defence Staff. Below senior officer level training currently being given is:

    (a)  Commanding Officers

          All Commanding Officers now receive some EO training, although the length and input varies. A number of Naval Captains, Army Colonels and RAF Group Captains in key appointments also attend the 1* course at Shrivenham. For other officers in command EO training is delivered, in presentational format, as part of the CO's Designate Course (Army) or attendance on a Service specific EO Awareness Workshop or comparable Defence Management Training (DMT) course. In the Naval Service EO training for Commanding Officers is a module that is part of the CO's Desig Course (Navy) at the Royal Naval School of Leadership and Management (RNSLAM).

    (b)  Officers

          Officers below the rank of Captain RN or equivalent receive EO training at various stages throughout their careers most notably during initial training and when attending junior/initial staff training. Additionally, all unit Executive Officers in the Royal Navy receive the full five Day EOA Course at TSEOTC as part of their pre-joining training. In the RAF, an EO module is now included in the Initial Officer Training Course and all subsequent formal command and staff training courses.

    (c)  Warrant Officers

          EO training for Warrant Officers is not universal. In the Naval Service an EO module is included in the WO's Staff Course. However, although some Arms and Services in the Army run their own WO courses that contain an EO module there is no central Army Warrant Officers' Course. Within the RAF the absence of formal training for WOs is compensated, in part, by the availability of RAF EO Awareness Workshops and EO training provided by DMT.

    (d)  Senior Non-Commissioned Officers

          Across all three Services EO training is a feature of a number of mandatory courses necessary for promotion and confirmation in rank.

  42.  The overall coverage of individual Naval Service, Army and RAF EO training points strongly to the fact that the message should be getting through and that all personnel should be aware of the importance that is placed on adherence to EO policy and practice. The advantage of having EO training embedded in existing professional courses is to underline the point that equality issues are an integral and essential part of good management practice.

  43.  We have no empirical evidence that there is any one group in the command chain who need special attention. We can assess the quantity of training and, to a degree its quality, by testing a student's ability to meet agreed Performance Objectives. Knowledge of a subject is only an element of the overall success of that training. There is, however, no single source of reliable and objective information for the measurement of "attitudinal change". Course wash-ups, questionnaires and other post course analysis, while providing useful feedback, do little to verify attitudinal change, either in the short or long term. Arguably the most demanding task is to conduct some form of empirical, quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of EO training and increasing diversity, especially at a time when all personnel need to understand why this makes good sense for the Services. Currently we have no baseline against which to measure change and one source alone would not be sufficient. Nonetheless evidence from Continuous Attitude Surveys, analysis of formal complaints, calls to Service Helplines and any other Service-wide surveys. This whole area is now being addressed as part of our review of Personnel Strategy Guideline 15 of the Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy.

  44.  We are looking also at what more can be undertaken to monitor delivery of Service equality and diversity policies through Unit Equal Opportunity Advisers (EOAs). The Army already requires their EOAs to initiate a return, through the chain of command, which seeks to broadly monitor unit equal opportunity policy, including significant problems and examples of positive actions. The RAF also require their EOAs to submit a regular report.


  45.  Confidential Helplines have been introduced across the Armed Forces since 1 December 1997, and are available, amongst other things, to advise personnel who may have been subject to racial abuse. All three Services have sought to encourage personnel who believe they have been subject to racial harassment or discrimination to use the complaints procedure. Our aim throughout has been to give personnel confidence that any complaint will be taken seriously in an environment in which racist or sexist behaviour is not tolerated. The Armed Forces Act 1996 amended the provision of the Service Discipline Acts that govern the internal redress of complaint procedures. The new procedures came into effect on 1 October 1997 and allowed Service personnel access to Employment Tribunals for complaints of racial discrimination. The procedures allow for personnel to take their case to a Tribunal if they have failed to gain satisfactory redress under the internal procedures. Since introduction 43 personnel have taken such complaints to an Employment Tribunal.

  46.  We believe that it is good management practice to have in place an internal system for the resolution of complaints on terms and conditions of service. We feel it is particularly important in the Services where personnel work in close-knit teams and operational effectiveness is vital, that every effort is made to ensure that there is a system for reporting problems immediately. Unlike civilians, a great many Service personnel cannot go home at the end of the day. A civilian employer is only liable for acts of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. In the Services personnel are often available for duty seven days a week; even leisure activities can take place in the workplace. Incidents of racial (and sexual) harassment that take place "out of working hours" are still the responsibility of the MoD; thus our vicarious liability is much wider than that of civilian employers. We have invested considerably since 1996 in providing guidance on how to complain if a serviceman believes they have been subject to racial harassment or discrimination; only through personnel coming forward—and having the confidence to do so—can we hope to root out racial prejudice and discriminatory treatment.

  47.  Investigating complaints—not just in these matters—takes time. At a meeting with the CRE Chairman on 13 November 2000 the Secretary of State acknowledged that some cases do involve lengthy delays, partly because of the difficulties associated with contacting witnesses who may have subsequently left the Armed Forces. Arrangements were introduced, in 2000, to delegate greater decision making on internal redress cases generally but we are reviewing this further in order to see whether any additional streamlining might be possible in order to facilitate speedier resolution of complaints.

Accountability for Discrimination and Racist Behaviour

  48.  Individual Service equal opportunity directives, which are updated annually, stress the responsibility of all personnel to demand zero tolerance towards racism. Work is now well in hand to introduce, with effect from autumn 2001, a more focused assessment of equal opportunities performance in a new tri-Service officers' appraisal reporting system. It includes assessment of the Subject Officer's EO credentials in two of the ten "graded" Performance Attributes and contains specific guidance for Reporting Officers, who are advised not to make any comment themselves which run contrary to the Services' Equal Opportunities Policies, and directs them to comment in the narrative if the Subject Officer's performance in this respect is "anything other than of the highest order".


Equal Opportunities Conferences

  49.  Two successful equal opportunities conferences have been held in 1998 and 1999. The 1998 Conference, which took as its theme "Learning from Experience" concentrating exclusively on the Armed Forces, took place at the Royal Society of Arts on 10 November 1998. Hosted by Lord Robertson, the Conference was attended by 200 delegates, including members of both Houses as well as academics, members of the Equality Commissions and representatives from minority communities. In addressing the Conference the Chief of the Defence Staff said that "I have placed a high priority on removing racism from the Services." And "we mean what we say about not wanting racists". US Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking as the former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided the keynote speech. He commended the Armed Forces for the leadership being shown in tackling racism and promoting greater ethnic diversity across the Services. General Powell warned of the need for long-term sustainability of military racial equality programmes, stressing the importance of leadership in ensuring that the commitment to change was understood by all personnel.

  50.  Several issues emerged from the 1998 Conference which have continued to influence policy implementation and development. All three Service Chiefs continue to exercise strong leadership in seeking to break down barriers towards military careers amongst the black, Asian and other non-white communities. The CDS and all three Service Chiefs are signatories of the CRE Leadership Challenge; as recently as 22 November 2000, the First Sea Lord took part in the launch of the Challenge's next stage. The Conference also highlighted the need for potential applicants from minority communities to be provided with a clearer appreciation of arrangements to practise particular faiths within the Services. As a result we produced a "Religious and Cultural Guidance" leaflet. We have been working with the Religious Advisers to the Armed Forces who represent the major non-Christian faiths to provide Chaplaincy support for their members by establishing a network of "officiating chaplains" from those faiths.

  51.  In December 1999 we held a further Conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Involving also the MoD Civil Service the Conference provided for an engagement with community leaders and, importantly, schoolchildren. The Secretary of State for Defence issued the following direct challenge to the ethnic minority communities, "I want to set young women and people from ethnic communities a challenge. Just as I have challenged my organisation, just as my predecessor did, I challenge you to. I challenge you to go away from here today and tell your families, friends and colleagues at work that we mean business. That we have first class jobs in a first class working environment in an organisation that is totally committed to valuing cultural and individual diversity."

Joint Initiative with the CRE

  52.  At a discussion between the Service PPOs and CRE Commissioners on 30 October 2000, the Commission proposed a possible joint CRE/MoD "outreach" event, targeted at gatekeepers and parents as a means of encouraging communities to reconsider preconceptions about military careers. We believe this has considerable attractions and might also involve the Equal Opportunities Commission, as well as Race Equality Councils. Proposals are currently awaited from the Commission on how this might be structured and arranged.

Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

  53.  This legislation enacts a statutory requirement on the public sector to "promote race equality". The Department will be required to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote good race relations. There is already much active promotion of race equality but work is already in hand, as the Secretary of State informed the CRE Chairman on 13 November 2000, to look at all Defence functions in order to critically assess where we might need to satisfy ourselves on the statutory duty. For the Armed Forces the Partnership Agreement will continue to provide the cornerstone of racial equality programmes but we shall be seeking to promote actively our commitment to the positive duty.

  54.  An early example of this is in the Ethnic Minorities Contribution to Defence Exhibition which the Minister for the Armed Forces launched on 28 November 2000. This exhibition seeks to correct any misconception that today's ethnic minorities in Britain have few historic links with the Armed Forces. By taking the exhibition to the general public both in London and nationally in places such as Manchester and Bradford, we hope that it will increase awareness of the contribution made by military and civilian personnel from Africa, the Indian sub-Continent, the rest of Asia (including Hong Kong) and the West Indies to our defence interests over many years. The exhibition is a further example of our determination to remove barriers and to make people from the minority ethnic communities more aware of the many opportunities that the Armed Forces provide. A separate photographic exhibition of "Black and Asian soldiers contribution to the British Army" is also currently touring Britain; at the exhibition in Cardiff in October 2000 two days were set aside to allow student from local areas to talk to serving soldiers and officers on their experiences within the Army.


  55.  Since the 1996 Armed Forces Bill Select Committee considered race equality in the Armed Forces the Department has done much to develop equal opportunities and diversity within the Naval Service, Army and RAF, and to reflect better the ethnic diversity of our society. As the individual reports testify, a significant range of initiatives and activities are now in place both within the Services and within communities with a view to ensuring that black and Asian representation is increased, and that racial harassment and discrimination is dealt with robustly and removed. But, as we have always said (and the Commission have recognised this), convincing more people from the ethnic minorities to join and remain in the Armed Forces is a long-term process requiring sustained, unambiguous leadership from senior military commanders both within their Services and nationally as well as locally in communities. Much of the outreach recruitment activity, set out at paragraphs 20-25, involve confidence building requiring carefully applied and persistent efforts to attract, identify, convince, process, select and then retain a candidate. It inevitably takes time to win the trust, not only of the potential ethnic minority entrant, but also parents and influential community leaders, including religious leaders.

  56.  The Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence response to the Partnership Agreement/Action Plan and to the general area of racial equality has been that of an organisation willing to learn from experience and to engage, as the Secretary of State has said, in a challenge with the ethnic minority communities. These communities, together with the media, need to recognise—as the CRE Chair has done—that "there has been considerable enthusiasm, energy and effort by the three Services to change the public's perception, particularly the minority communities perception . . . that these are organisations well worth being employed in."[9]—that policies and process are now in place and that these are leading to welcome increases in ethnic minority personnel.

  57.  Such work now needs to be consolidated further. The numbers of ethnic minority personnel joining the Armed Forces have increased from 1997-98 but remain disappointingly below our recruitment goals. We will, therefore, be looking critically, over the next few months, at whether the policies now in place are delivering the outcomes we require. Of particular importance will be:

    —  continued development of the systematic evaluation of recruitment activity, with a view to a greater sharing of best practice both within the individual Services and with other uniformed organisations in the public sector;

    —  further positive action work within local communities, using the Community Partnership model and Personal Development Courses;

    —  ensuring that no barriers remain in the general recruiting process, including in Careers Offices and within the entry tests, which are preventing ethnic minorities entering the Services, including being provided with advice on other Services if their initial preference is unavailable;

    —  using analysis on recruitment, promotion and retention to measure the outcome of racial equality policies, to adjust policies where appropriate and to communicate the outcome both internally and externally;

    —  evaluating the race awareness and general equality training programmes;

    —  expediting the investigation of complaints;

    —  engagement in local communities with the Commission for Racial Equality.


  58.  The Ministry of Defence welcomes the opportunity to submit this Memorandum to the 2001 Armed Forces Bill Select Committee. The Memorandum reflects the determination, energy and commitment shown by the Armed Forces since the Committee's predecessors last considered this issue in 1996. Through the Partnership Agreement with the Commission for Racial Equality and the Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy the foundations are now in place to secure greater ethnic minority representation across the Naval Service, Army and RAF and to meet the new responsibilities on promoting race equality which will result from the Race Relations (Amendment) Act.

January 2001

2   1996 Armed Forces Bill Select Committee Report. Back

3   Ministry of Defence (Household Cavalry)-Report of a Formal Investigation dated 26 March 1996. Back

4   The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry-Report dated 15 February 1999. Back

5   The Corporate EO Goal was amended in Jan 2000 to include sexual orientation in order to take account of the decision to allow homosexuals to serve in the Armed Forces announced to Parliament on 12 January 2000. Back

6   Official Export 22 March 1999 Column WA10. Back

7   p. 227. Back

8   Official Report 22 January 1998 Columns 627 and 628. Back

9   CRE Evidence Before HCDC-25 October 2000. See HC 29-II (2000-01), pp89-113. Back

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