The government has today unveiled its fleshed out plans to become "the UK's most inclusive employer by 2020", including the publication of a data dashboard tracking progress on diversity targets by April next year.
In its civil service diversity and inclusion strategy, the government says that to date, progress "has been inconsistent". And while progress on increasing the representation of ethnic minority and disabled staff in its most senior grades has been made, the government said it was "too slow to match our ambitions".
Today, it said a dedicated ethnic minority programme will be started to improve the representation of ethnic minority staff at the most senior levels across the civil service. It will also establish a "diverse leadership task force" that reports to the cabinet secretary.
And by April next year, it will begin to monitor progress towards a new civil service-wide target to increase the flow of ethnic minority and disabled staff into the senior civil service.
Some 42 per cent of current senior civil servants are women, and 49 per cent of all new recruits into it were women this year. The proportion of women at senior civil service level now outweighs the representation of female executives and board directors in FTSE firms, at 42 per cent to 26 per cent.
Meanwhile, the proportion of ethnic minority civil servants has edged up from 9.4 per cent in 2012 to 11.2 per cent today, while representation of disabled people within the civil service has also risen each year since 2010, standing at 9.9 per cent this year.
Of senior civil servants, 4.6 per cent are from ethnic minority communities, and 3.3 per cent report having a disability, with the government noting there is more to be done.
Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood, said:
In order to serve the country to the best of its ability, the civil service must ensure that it reflects the diversity of the UK. Having a diverse workforce is not enough though, if it is to be truly brilliant, the civil service must strive to be inclusive and must create an environment where differences of thought and outlook are not only respected, but expected.
He added: "Although progress has been considerable over the past few years, today’s strategy highlights how we must go further. Our ambition to become the most inclusive employer by 2020 is testament to our commitment to diversity and inclusion and to making the best use of talent that exists in all parts of society."