Headlines: July 30th, 2004

The Chief Executive of Wolverhampton City Council, Derrick Anderson, has been named as the Home Office Diversity Champion for race, gender and disability issues in a move, which it is claimed will boost plans to drive diversity forward in the Civil Service.

At the same time the Home Office has announced ambitious targets for recruiting ethnic minority staff and women to its Senior Civil Service grades. The new management target for race is double the Whitehall-wide target of 4 per cent and will see 8 per cent of the most senior posts at the Home Office being held by ethnic minority staff by 2008 to 2009. The target for women in senior grades is being increased to 40 per cent compared to the Whitehall-wide target of 37per cent.

In his new role Mr Anderson will work closely with Home Office Permanent Secretary, John Gieve, to deliver a new five-year staff race and diversity programme. It will focus on creating ownership of diversity issues by making links between leadership, business and people management.

Elements of the plan include diversity awareness training for all staff, with a pilot running in September, a development programme to support staff in underrepresented groups involving coaching and career management, a pilot mentoring scheme and new assessment techniques to reduce the chances of recruiting staff with prejudicial attitudes.

John Gieve said diversity was not an optional extra and it was not important just for the Home Office but also for public services. This was why the issue was being addressed in a consultation document ‘Strength in Diversity’, which was working towards a cross-Government community cohesion and race equality strategy.

Derrick Anderson, who has served as a non-executive director of the Home Office since March 2002, said he wanted the Home Office to be an example to others, not just in Government but also across the public sector