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Departmental Equality

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information his Department holds on the (a) sex, (b) ethnicity, (c) age, (d) disability, (e) sexual orientation and (f) religion or belief of its staff; and what assessment he has made of his Department's performance against its targets relating to diversity in its workforce. (246013)

The civil service diversity strategy, ‘Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity’, published in July, sets civil service wide targets in relation to gender, ethnicity and disability for the next three to five years.

The Department retains Human Resource information on staff including details of (a) sex and (c) age. Human resource information may also include voluntary monitoring declarations on (b) ethnicity and (d) disability, and (d) disability data are also held following the provision of reasonable adjustments and for emergency evacuation purposes.

In Northern Ireland, (where (f) religion and belief legislation does not apply) Northern Ireland legislation requires statutory monitoring of Northern Ireland community background to be undertaken for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

At present, the Department is examining ways to sensitively monitor (e) sexual orientation.

The Department regularly assesses the diversity of its work force against its targets. In addition, Cabinet Office peer assessment of the Department's Diversity delivery plan for 2008-10 will take place in early 2009.