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Departmental Equality

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. (246017)

The Department for Work and Pensions holds the following information on the diversity of its work force:

(a) 68.5 per cent. of DWP staff are women;

(b) 10.2 per cent. of staff have disclosed that they are from an ethnic minority;

(c) The age breakdown of DWP staff is

Percentage

16-24

4.4

25-34

16.6

35-44

30.5

45-54

33.4

55-64

14.5

65+

0.6

(d) 5.7 per cent. of staff have disclosed that they are disabled.

(e) A new system to allow staff to disclose their sexual orientation was introduced in April 2008. As we would expect at this early stage, the disclosure rate has yet to reach a level that could allow the current data to be considered representative.

(f) DWP does not monitor the religion or belief of its staff at present but will start to do so in order to meet its commitments under the Civil Service Diversity Strategy.

The Department's performance against its diversity targets is monitored regularly and is reported in its equality schemes. The latest available figures (from October 2008) show that DWP's performance against its 2008 diversity targets was as follows:

Percentage

Grade

Target

Representation in October 2008

Ethnicity

Senior Civil Service

5.0

4.2

Grade 6/Grade 7

4.0

3.8

SEO

4.0

4.2

HEO

5.5

6.3

Women

Senior Civil Service PB2 and above

30.0

23.9

All Senior Civil Service

39.0

36.8

Grade 6

45.0

43.2

Grade 7

45.0

45.1

Disability

SCS

6.0

3.8

Grade 6/Grade 7/SEO

4.0

4.2

HEO/EO

7.0

6.5

AO/AA

6.0

5.2

Results show a marked improvement in the Department's performance since 2002, both at SCS level, and at feeder grade levels—with an increase in female staff at Grade 6 and Grade 7 of nearly 20 per cent. and ethnic minority representation rates more than doubling at grades HEO, 6, 7 and SCS over the same period.

However, there remains work to be done—women and ethnic minority staff remain under-represented at senior grades, and there has been little change to the proportion of disabled staff at all grades since 2002.

New targets for 2011 covering gender, ethnicity and disability will be published shortly. DWP does not currently have targets relating to age, sexual orientation or religion or belief.