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Minorities still woefully underrepresented in Civil Service, IfG finds

Issues with the diversity of the Civil Service have today been raised by the Institute for Government (IfG), which has found that Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are underrepresented in the sector.

Even though the Civil Service has continued to employ a higher number of BAME people, rising from 4% in 1988 to 9% in 2010 and then 11.2% in 2016. But this is still below the national population figure, as BAME people make up 14% of the population.

On top of that, discrimination was also reportedly still high within the Civil Service. The IfG quoted the Civil Service People Survey which stated that 15% of BAME civil servants said they had been discriminated against at work in the last month, compared to 12% of white civil servants.

The IfG also reported that progress to senior civil service levels for BAME workers had stalled, as only 7.1% of higher-level roles were filled by an ethnic minority.

Certain departments of the Civil Service were also found to have better records for inclusion and diversity than others. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office had the worst record, with only 2.9% of its senior civil servants being BAME.

The Home Office was also found to have the biggest difference between the percentage of BAME civil servants (23.5%) and senior civil servants (4.8%).

The IfG also warned that there was a significant amount of data missing about the Civil Service workforce, as the ethnicity of 23% of the workforce is still not known.

Author of the report Gemma Byrne said: “The Civil Service Talent Action Plan and appointment of a Race Champion are just two recent attempts to help talented civil servants from underrepresented backgrounds progress.

“But despite increasing diversity across the whole civil service, progress at senior levels is stalled and ethnic minority civil servants are still reporting experiences of discrimination.”

The IfG’s research follows a report by the Electoral Reform Society that found that the combined authorities were likely to be an “old boys’ club” as 93% of leaders were set to be white men. The recently elected mayors for six city-regions are also all white men backed by largely white cabinets, prompting criticism that the available candidate selection lacked significant diversity. 

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