To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the total work force in his Department is registered as disabled; what steps he is taking to encourage the employment of disabled people within his Department; and if he will make a statement.
A total of 1.3 per cent. of the work force of the Scottish Office are registered disabled persons. The work force includes, in addition, an unrecorded number of staff who have chosen not to register.The Scottish Office policy is positively to encourage people with disabilities to apply for posts. A number of initiatives have been taken to ensure that disabled people are aware of vacancies and ensure that the Scottish Office is an equal opportunities employer.These initiatives make use of the fact that the Scottish Office set up its own recruitment unit in 1990, and include the issue of recruitment literature and application forms to disablement resettlement officers in advance of press advertisements, and discrimination in favour of disabled people where possible under the code of practice published by the Cabinet Office. Recruitment literature bears the employment services disability symbol and states clearly that the Scottish Office is an equal opportunities employer. These initiatives have led to the employment of 25 disabled people in the past two years—4.2 per cent. of the total number of staff recruited in that period.It is the Scottish Office's intention to continue to make every effort to encourage people with disabilities to seek employment in its ranks, and to this end it has just completed a revision of its recruitment literature, making it more user-friendly to disabled people and giving even greater prominence to its commitment to employ them.