Headlines: April 12th, 1999

Jack Cunningham, Minister for the Cabinet Office has made a pledge to double the number of women in top Civil Service jobs by 2005. 12 % of the top 600 posts, are held by women and the pledge will mean that this will rise to 25%. At the next level down it is planned that the proportion of the 3000 posts held by women and ethnic minorities should be increased to 35% and 3.2% respectively.

Setting targets in this way is part of the policy thrust to increase diversity and achieve a better balance of women and ethnic minorities in the more influential positions. Although targets will produce change, the underlying difficulty lies in the culture. Pilot exercises have been launched in the Home Office, Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise to find out how the culture can be changed.