asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make the gathering of information on ethnic origins compulsory, and publish the percentage of entrants to his Department who failed to respond to the ethnic origins questionnaire.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to her by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 24 March. Surveys of the ethnic origin of staff in post and new entrants to the diplomatic and development wings of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been carried out on the basis of voluntary self-classification in accordance with the agreement reached between the Civil Service and the Council of Civil Service Unions. There are no plans at present to change to a compulsory system. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will consider any practical ways of improving the data base which are agreed between the Civil Service and the Council of Civil Service Unions. 49 per cent. of new entrants to the development wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1 October 1985 and 28 February 1987 failed to respond to the ethnic origins questionnaire. The corresponding figure for new entrants to the diplomatic wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1 April 1986 and 28 February 1987 was 55 per cent.The results of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office surveys will be included in the London and south-east and East Anglia staff-in-post surveys later this year.