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Departments: Equal Opportunities

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has a gender (a) strategy and (b) equality action plan in place. (125105)

[holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Ministry of Defence has a unified philosophy towards equality and diversity. In support of this approach the MOD Diversity Panel, co-chaired by the Permanent Under Secretary (PUS), and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and which includes a mix of internal and external members who have a range of experience in diversity issues, have endorsed a Unified Diversity Strategy. This strategy provides the strategic framework and incorporates our Diversity Vision; Diversity Mission; Objectives; Working in Partnership; Taking Responsibility; Complying with the Legislation; communicating and Building Commitment; Measuring Progress and the Business Case for Diversity.

In April 2006, we published our first overarching MOD Equality and Diversity Scheme 2006-2009, together with a set of Action Plans for 2006-07. The Scheme encompasses the armed forces, civilians, the Ministry of Defence police and our executive agencies. This Scheme reflects not only the Department’s statutory duties in respect of race, disability and gender but also those diversity strands not yet covered by specific public sector duties (age, sexual orientation and religion and belief).

Our first annual Action Plan included our gender equality priorities. We will be publishing a report against the targets that we set for 2006-07 later in the year as well as issuing a new Action Plan for 2007-08. The Defence Analytical Services Agency will be collecting statistical data on the recruitment, retention and progression of women. The aim of all this work is to achieve real improvement in outcomes for the various diversity groups.

Copies of the documents referred to are available in the Library of the House, and also at:

www.mod.ukDefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/Personnel/EqualityAndDiversity/MinistryOfDefenceUnifiedDiversityStrategy.htm WeDo/Personnel/EqualityAndDiversity/Equality AndDiversityScheme20062009ActionPlan20062007.htm