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Civil Service (People With Disabilities)

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what progress has been made in meeting targets for the proportion of people with disabilities in senior posts in the Department. [110526]

In May 2000 my Department set targets to increase the number of staff with disabilities in the Senior Civil Service (SCS) to 3 per cent. by 1 April 2002; and to 4.5 per cent. by 1 April 2005. As at 31 March 2003 3.6 per cent. of the SCS had declared a disability taking us beyond the target for the date.My Department uses open competition in selection which provides a wide pool of diverse applicants, and advertisements are placed in the disability media. A comprehensive outreach pack giving practical guidance on widening our appeal as an employer is currently being finalised. An annual report incorporating employment statistics by disability is produced and published to all staff. A mandatory Diversity Awareness Training course for all staff and a staff-run Disability Network assists in creating an environment in which individuals with a disability are encouraged to declare their disability. A team of Disabled Persons' Liaison Officers works with the Disability Service Teams at Job Centre Plus to provide advice and assistance. My Department promotes actively the Bursary Scheme for civil servants with a disability and provides mentors from the SCS to support the Scheme. The Department nominates a group of delegates annually to attend the Civil Service College "Personal Development for Disabled People" course. To promote the European Year of Disabled People, a series of articles is being published on particular disabilities in our internal departmental journal and comprehensive guidance is being prepared for individuals with disabilities and their managers on how to obtain reasonable adjustments, in the field of employment.