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Departmental Equality

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department met the Civil Service diversity targets set out on page 51 of Cabinet Office Annual Report 2007 by April 2008. (204703)

The latest published statistics against overall civil service targets were at October 2007, and are available on the Civil Service website at

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/diversity/monitoring.asp.

The final measurement against the targets will be published in autumn 2008.

Since 2004, when the Cabinet Office set its diversity targets, the Ministry of Defence has made progress towards improving the diversity of its work force. In keeping with a number of Departments, the MOD was set its own targets within the overall civil service target. These targets recognised the lower baseline figure from which the MOD were working, but remained both meaningful and stretching.

We have, as a result, exceeded our targets for those with disabilities within the senior civil service, and narrowly missed our targets for women, and women in top management positions. Nevertheless, we have continued to make good progress in the right direction. We have, however, been unsuccessful in improving the numbers of ethnic minorities in our senior civil service, despite having initiatives in place to try and do so.

We are also making good progress in grades that feed into the senior civil service. For example, the MOD Fast Stream (the civil service graduate scheme), is now just over 48 per cent. women and over 9 per cent. ethnic minorities.