67. Mr. Robert G. Hughes
To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what steps he is taking to increase the opportunities offered to members of the ethnic communities employed in the Civil Service.
§ Mr. Luce
The Civil Service has a comprehensive programme of monitoring to study the progress of ethnic staff and identify areas for further action. Pilot schemes are currently under way in a number of Departments to monitor promotion boards and ensure that blacks and Asians have every chance of reaching the higher grades by selection on merit.
Does my right hon. Friend have any plans to seek to increase representation of blacks and Asians in the senior levels of the Civil Service?
§ Mr. Luce
It is worth noting that the surveys make it plain that the proportions of black and Asian people in the Civil Service are similar to those in the population as a whole, but, of course, the weak areas are in the higher grades. Certainly, on the basis of selection on merit and equality of opportunity, we are doing everything possible within the service to ensure that they have the opportunity for promotion.