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Departmental Dress Code

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his Department's policy is on the display of religious (a) artefacts, (b) symbols and (c) dress by its staff; how many staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding this policy in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (95646)

The Department does not have a specific policy on the display or wearing of religious artefacts, nor has there been a single disciplinary case related to this issue. There is a comprehensive dispute resolution process which is used for matters of misconduct.

The Department’s policy is to raise awareness of equality and diversity through its diversity delivery plan and also through a number of other measures. We have had in place since 1999 prayer rooms for Muslim staff and with the introduction of the ‘Religion and Belief’ legislation in 2003; we have arranged for the provision of quiet rooms for prayer and contemplation across all our sites. In addition, to support managers in the Department, we published guidance on major festivals for example, Ramandan, Yom Kippur and Diwali—which supports one of our objectives of raising awareness amongst all staff and ensuring that we create an inclusive culture.