Irony of ironies: the Government Equalities Office in charge of outlawing discrimination against women, black and ethnic minority and disabled people does not know whether it complies with Whitehall diversity targets more than eight months after they were set up by Gordon Brown. The story was in last Friday’s Guardian.
The Government Equalities Office, headed by Harriet Harman, says it has not yet set up a database of its staff so it cannot tell whether it fulfills targets it should have met three months ago.
8 other departments refused or failed to give information on the diversity of their employees. The Foreign Office, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the GEA did not reply to the request made by Theresa May. While other departments expressly refused to give information, ignoring the request is not much better.
Among the 10 departments that didn’t cower, nine have failed to meet at least one of the four targets set by the government to ensure that they employ more women, disabled and people from ethnic minorities in top jobs.
Five ministries met some of the targets: the Department for Children, Schools and Families; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Health, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.
Four departments did not meet a single target- the Department for Transport; the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills; the Northern Ireland Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In the case of the Northern Ireland and the Innovation ministries, no disabled person holds a top job, according to answers given to May.
The Cabinet Office, which had refused to release information on the diversity of its employees, then gave the Guardian a breakdown that showed it met three of four of the targets.
This is the same Cabinet Office which set the Whitehall target in the first place for 37% of senior civil servants and 30% of top management to be women, four per cent of the top posts to be held by people from ethnic minorities and 3.2% by disabled people.
So far, only the Department for Communities and Local Government, run by Hazel Blears, exceeds all the targets.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Race politics,Sex equality