A report published by the Cabinet Office last Thursday revealed that the Civil Service is still failing to offer equal opportunities to those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The report, which was based on interviews with 191 BME officials from all levels of seniority, found that whilst some progress in increasing diversity within the civil service had occurred since 2010, that progress was limited. Whilst the total percentage of BME staff in the civil service has risen to 10.1% from 9.2% back in 2010, the report found that BME civil servants are “still disproportionately represented in lower staff grades.”
Describing the outdated setup at Whitehall one official said: “The senior Civil Service is looking like for like […] If you are black, Asian or minority ethnic and working class, you are in trouble.”
Another member of staff reported: “It can feel like an old boys network. As an African woman I don’t feel like I have the confidence to be myself – even down to how I dress. I’m always receiving derogatory comments about my African prints.”
Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said the findings revealed that efforts to increase the civil service’s diversity are “simply not good enough" and has now promised a “relentless” effort to improve the diversity of the civil service. The Cabinet Secretary has unveiled a revised Cabinet Office’s Talent Action Plan (TAP) which includes an intensive two-year programme designed to help the civil service’s various departments “fully integrate diversity and inclusion into their business processes”.