Skip to main content

Equal Opportunities

Volume 109: debated on Saturday 2 May 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which sections in his Department have responsibility for the formulation, promotion and implementation of policies of equal opportunity; and how many staff are employed on such work.

In 1986 my Department, jointly with the Department of Transport, set up a special unit with the specific responsibilities for formulating, promoting and implementing equal opportunities policies within the Departments. The unit has five staff.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the directives, circulars, regulations and any other publications which have been produced by his Department since 1979 to advise or direct local authorities on matters of equal opportunity.

My Department has published the following documents since 1979 which relate specifically to equal opportunities as they affect local authorities:

Local Authorities and Racial Disadvantage: Report of a Joint Government Local Authority Association Working Group (1982).
Local Authorities and Racial Disadvantage: Report of a Conference held at Church House, Westminster (March 1983).
The Urban Programme: Tackling Racial Disadvantage (1983).
Ethnic Minorities and the Urban Programme: Report of a Research Project (1982).
In addition, various circulars, publications and so on will have dealt inter alia with equal opportunities issues. A full list of these could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide a breakdown of the number of staff in his Department by section and grade who are (a) women and (b) from a minority ethnic group; and if he will express each as a percentage of total staff.

This information about staff from ethnic minority groups is not currently available, although the voluntary monitoring surveys still in progress will provide some of the information in the future.Information about women, in the detail and form requested, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what formal procedures exist in his Department for the purpose of measuring performance in respect of equal opportunities in recruitment, selection, training, promotion and career progression of staff.

It is one of the aims of my Department's equal opportunities programme of action to monitor the effectiveness of its equal opportunities policies. My Department is now reviewing the best means to achieve this.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what specific initiatives are currently in operation in his Department which are aimed to be of benefit to women or ethnic minority groups.

There has long been a policy of equal opportunities for women and ethnic minority staff in my Department. Specific recent initiatives include: provision of opportunities for part-time working and job-sharing; special leave arrangements for maternity, domestic and other personal reasons; measures to reduce the risk of discrimination in recruitment and promotion (for example through briefing for promotion boards); conduct of surveys of ethnic origin; some women-only training courses in management and special skills; establishment of an equal opportunities unit.