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Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what targets his Department has set in relation to the employment of people with disabilities over the next five years. (199054)

The “10 Point Plan for a Diverse Civil Service” published in November 2005 set a target that 3.2 per cent. of senior civil service (SCS) posts were to be filled by disabled people by April 2008. In line with all civil service Departments DWP produced its own plan and targets for the period from 2005 to 2008. As well as its higher target for the SCS, the Department also set targets for the grades below the SCS. The March 2008 DWP targets and figures are in the following table:

DWP staff with disabilities March 2008 figures



March 2008

DWP 2008 targets

Civil service 2008 target

















The figures are based on the proportion of staff who have voluntarily declared themselves as being disabled. However, we are aware that not all disabled staff declare their disability for departmental records, and the true figure may be higher than the figures shown. For example, the 2008 DWP Staff Survey (which is completed anonymously), showed that 13.6 per cent. of respondents considered themselves to have a long standing health condition or disability.

The roll out of a new computer system has meant a more accurate record of the numbers of disabled people working within the Department who made a declaration. As we rolled out the new system we asked each member of staff to check the personal information we held about them and to declare whether they considered themselves to be disabled. A further recent communications exercise has also emphasised the importance of individuals providing this information, and we will be repeating the request for people to declare their status later this year.

Although we have achieved good levels of diversity across the Department, including those for disabled people, we aim to improve this position and details of actions are in Department for Work and Pensions Race, Disability and Gender Equality Schemes 2008-11.

The Cabinet Office is currently drawing up a new diversity strategy that will build on the achievements and lessons learnt from the 10 Point Plan. Once this has been agreed the Department will be setting further targets to 2011 and the strategy for achieving them.