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Civil Service (People With Disabilities)

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in meeting targets for the proportion of people with disabilities in senior posts in her Department. [110517]

In common with other Government Departments, Defra has a target for increasing the number of disabled civil servants to 3 per cent. by 2005. Currently, 1 per cent. of Defra's Senior Civil Servants have declared a disability. At grades below SCS the figure is 6 per cent.Defra is taking steps to address the low number of disabled Senior Civil Servants. In addition to running the 'Two Ticks' guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants, the Department participates in central schemes targeted at disabled staff including the civil service bursary scheme and fast stream summer placements for disabled graduates.We encourage members of staff to declare their disability but this is voluntary and there may be a degree of under-reporting. The Department is considering what we can do to improve the response rate. We are also represented on the Cabinet Office's Disability Working Group which is looking at this issue for Government Department's in general.