§ Ms. Richardson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is (a) the proportion of working time allocated to his departmental equal opportunities officer for equal opportunities duties, (b) the other duties carried out by the departmental equal opportunities officer, (c) the proportion, and the amount, of the departmental budget allocated to equal opportunities work, (d) the number of occasions when the department equal opportunities officer meets equal opportunities officers from other Government Departments each year, (e) the guidelines issued to departmental training officers and equal opportunities officers to promote the use of section 47 of the Sex Discrimination Act and (f) what action has been taken to facilitate job share, part-time working and parental leave.
§ Mr. Hurd
The Home Office has two equal opportunities officers, one for staff in prison service establishments, and the other for staff in the rest of the Department. The former spends about 10 per cent. of his time on work relating to equal opportunities and the latter about 20 per cent. of hers. Both have support from other staff. Both are also departmental training officers. The Prison Department EOO has, in addition, personal management responsibilities; the other EOO has responsibility for industrial relations, communications with staff, and certain other management matters.
The departmental budget breakdown for equal opportunities work is not readily identifiable. The promotion of equal opportunities in the Home Office involves not only EOOs and their supporting staff, but personnel management divisions, training branches and line managers throughout the Department, as well as trade union representatives. In addition, because of its wider responsibilities, the Home Office has staff working to promote equality of opportunity in the community generally, and funds the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality. The EOOs meet their counterparts from other Departments at an annual meeting arranged by the office of the Minister 200W for the Civil Service, and on other occasions as necessary. No formal guidelines have been issued concerning the application of section 47 of the Sex Discrimination Act.
The Department has informed staff that it will try to meet requests from those who wish, because of their domestic responsibilities, to work part-time or to share a job. The names of those wishing to share are noted so that they can, when the opportunity arises, be put in touch with a prospective partner. Staff inspectors have been asked to review the scope for part-time work or job sharing. In addition, special leave may be granted to staff to enable them to cope with temporary domestic difficulties.