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Fair Employment Agency (Confidential Information)

Volume 984: debated on Monday 12 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) whether there was any consultation with individual civil servants, or with those who claim to represent them, before the decision was made to release confidential information to the Fair Employment Agency;(2) what the effect of the reference to the Fair Employment Agency of the religious denominations of Northern Ireland civil servants will be on the morale and good working relationships of the offices.

There has been no reference to the Fair Employment Agency. The agency itself has decided to exercise its powers under the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976 and to conduct an investigation into the religious composition of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.The staff associations have been fully consulted about the investigation and a joint advisory group consisting of staff representatives, the Department of the Civil Service and Fair Employment Agency has been set up to consult on questions which may arise during the investigation.Given these precautions which I have put in hand, I have no reason to believe that there will be any significant effect on morale and good working relationships.