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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 Defence what progress has been made in meeting targets for the proportion of people with disabilities in senior posts in the Department. [110533]

Currently, approximately 1 per cent. of the senior civil service in the Ministry of Defence have declared themselves disabled. Statistics on disability are collected through voluntary self-declaration.As part of our wider personnel strategy, our personnel policies and practices are equality proofed to ensure that there are no barriers for disabled staff who aspire to the senior civil service, and we would encourage them to apply. In addition, the Ministry of Defence provides funding to enable disabled staff who have the potential to reach the senior civil service to participate in the civil service disability bursary scheme. Funding provides for two years of high quality management training together with mentoring opportunities.A number of senior posts are filled through open competition as fixed term appointments. Advertisements for these vacancies would normally carry the caption: "The Ministry of Defence is an equal opportunities employer" and stress the point that applications from people with disabilities are particularly welcome. The advertisements also carry the two-ticks "positive about disability" symbol and the Department is committed to offering all candidates who declare a disability a guaranteed interview where they meet the minimum qualifying criteria. We are currently trialling the use of specialist recruitment consultants to help to publicise open competitions to disabled potential applicants.