Whitehall suffers setback in hitting diversity targets

The Cabinet Office has defended its record on promoting staff diversity in
the Civil Service after the latest disappointing figures on its progress.

The percentage of women in the senior Civil Service decreased last year by
0.3 per cent to 25 per cent – 10 per cent short of the 2005 target. The number
of women in top management positions also fell by 0.5 per cent to 20.7 per
cent, more than 4 per cent short of the 2005 target.

Numbers of disabled staff remained at about 1.7 per cent of the workforce,
but numbers still need to almost double by 2005 to reach the target of 3 per

Sarah Kissack, diversity team leader at the Cabinet Office, was disappointed
by the figures but said the policies are in place to enable the service to
meets its diversity targets.

Schemes to promote women, disabled and ethnic minority staff include
mentoring, focus groups, leadership development programmes and action plans.

Kissack’s team are to have meetings with all departments in a bid to share
good practice throughout the service.

Kissack said the Civil Service would continue to focus on recruiting diverse
staff at all levels through advertising and sponsorship – targeting the groups
that need increasing.

She added that the overall diversity of the Civil Service workforce reflects
the working population and aims to develop their skills to fill senior roles.

"We are more reflective of diversity than the general workforce and
diversity among our graduate intake is increasing. Our aim is to bring in and
bring on this talent."

By Paul Nelson

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