§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what measures her Department has implemented during the last 12 months to encourage the promotion of women into senior positions with her Department and its executive agencies; and what progress her Department has made in encouraging the promotion of women over the last five years. 
§ Mr. Sproat
Since the Department was created in April 1992, promotees into senior positions in the Department of National Heritage and its agencies have been selected on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. The Department is committed, through the departmental equal opportunities policy statement and action plan, to monitor the progress of women at key stages in their career development, and to take any action appropriate to remove any significant barriers to career progress.
The agencies abide by the principles set out in the policy statement and action plan. The Department has been developing non-discriminatory personnel practices, and procedures including flexible working arrangements, child care provision for employees, and appraisal and promotion systems, which are fair, and do not discriminate against a particular group. As a result of these, the Department and agencies have a good record in respect of the employment and promotion of women.