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Fair Employment Legislation

Volume 170: debated on Wednesday 28 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he has taken to expedite the formulation of new guidelines for the Local Government Staff Commission in accordance with the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1989.

The Local Government Staff Commission has a statutory responsibility to recommend the procedures to be followed by district councils in making appointments or promotions. It is currently setting up a working party, which will include representatives of staff associations, to review the existing employment and promotion procedures. It anticipates the completion of this review in two to three months.

There is no statutory requirement under the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1989 for employers, including district councils, to formulate new guidelines on fair employment matters.

All employers should have regard to the code of practice on fair employment published by the Department of Economic Development on 31 December 1989. The code exhorts employers to draw up a clear policy of promotion and equality of opportunity in the workplace and to make this widely known, especially among employees and job applicants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many of the staff, other than home helps, of the Western health and social services board in Northern Ireland are (a) Protestants, (b) Roman Catholics, (c) religion not known because they were educated in the Irish Republic and (d) religion not known because they were educated elsewhere than the island of Ireland;(2) what information he has on the religious composition of the 110 home helps mentioned in his reply of 7 March,

Official Report, columns 660-61, who were educated outside Northern Ireland;

(3) what information he has on the religious composition of the 767 home helps mentioned in his reply of 7 March, Official Report, columns 660-61, for whom no record of primary school attended is held;

(4) what information he has on the religious composition of the 989 home helps mentioned in his reply of 7 March, Official Report, columns 660-61, who were educated in Northern Ireland.

[holding answer 20 March 1990]: The information requested by the hon. Gentleman is not available. All health and social services boards are required to monitor the composition of their work force and to make returns to the Fair Employment Commission. No board has yet completed its analysis of the data concerned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Fair Employment Commission will publish detailed information on the religious composition of (a) its staff and (b) its applicants who are not appointed.

[holding answer 20 March 1990]: In due course such information will be published by the Fair Employment Commission.