Buckingham Palace has said it must do more to improve the diversity of its workforce, revealing that 8.5% of its employees are from an ethnic minority background.
The Royal Household’s annual financial accounts for 2020-21 show that its HR team has ongoing emphasis on diversity, inclusion and talent management, with consideration given to the long-term impact of Covid-19 and the changing expectations of the workforce.
By 2022, it wants 10% of its workforce to be from an ethnic minority background. This is compared with around 13% of the UK population, according to the 2011 census.
Diversity and inclusion
A senior Buckingham Palace source said: “It is not that we have not been progressing diversity and inclusion initiatives during this period, it is that simply the results have not been what we would like.
“We have continuous engagement with external advisers, organisations that are at the grassroots level who sit on our steering committee, people who are able to give us a different voice, a different perspective. And we recognise that we must do more.
“Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family have actively promoted and embraced the diversity of our nation and that of the Commonwealth, and we take our lead from that.”
The source added that Buckingham Palace published the figures so that it would be held accountable for progress and that it would be given “no place to hide”.
The annual report reveals that, despite the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the past year “has seen activity aimed at increasing the understanding of inclusion and creating opportunities for staff to share their views”.
It says revised diversity targets will be proposed in 2021, as well as an enhanced diversity and inclusion action plan.
“The role of leadership in building an inclusive culture is critical, with leaders focussing particularly on setting the tone, providing visible advocacy for inclusion and ensuring representation of diverse talent,” the report adds.
Activities undertaken to promote diversity and inclusion included encouraging employees to make gender equality and inclusion pledges for International Women’s Day; employee articles on Ramadan, Black History Month and LGBTQ+ Pride; and recognition of National Inclusion Week.
The palace also has diversity and inclusion steering groups and offers a number of family-friendly and flexible working policies.
“In 2021 activity will continue to build awareness. A listening exercise will examine employee experience, along with recruitment and selection process improvements,” the report says.
The annual report for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall shows that 60% of the senior management team at Clarence House are female and 8% of its total workforce are from ethnic minority groups.
A Clarence House spokesperson said: “On that question of ethnic minority diversity we are not where we need to be.”
Buckingham Palace’s report adds that the HR team “adapted swiftly” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including daily communications to senior managers, a dedicated Covid-19 resource space on its intranet, and remote learning opportunities.
Reports that the palace was appointing a “diversity tsar” have been denied.