To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) function is and (b) annual cost in each of the last three years was of the departmental (i) Diversity and Work Balance Team, (ii) Ethnic Monitoring Team, (iii) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Team, (iv) Disability Steering Committee Team and (v) Gender Panel; whether he has considered the merits of amalgamating these bodies into one unit; and what plans he has for their future.
The function of the Diversity and Work Life Balance (DWLB) Team is to ensure the Department complies with, and reports against, the extant and emerging UK and EU legal requirements; develop and support the implementation of associated policy and guidance for the Department's 100,000 civilians; support the achievement of a work force truly representative of the community it serves; and assist the Department in being an employer of choice through contributing to the development of a contemporary employment framework. The salary and associated costs of the DWLB Team over the past three years is:
The Ethnic Minorities Steering Committee (Ethnic Monitoring Team (sic)), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Team (sic)) Disability Steering Committee and Gender Panel all essentially perform the same function. This is to support the Department taking diversity forward by providing expertise, relevant to the strand they represent, presenting an avenue for members of under-represented groups to have their issues raised and considered, and also to take the Department's message on diversity back to people within their strands. The members of the Committees, Forum and Panel are MOD employees who volunteer and perform the work in addition to their usual MOD duties, in work time. Therefore, we do not have separate cost information.
There are no plans to amalgamate these bodies into one unit. They provide an expertise relevant to their particular diversity strand and while they continue to be effective in moving the Department's diversity agenda forward, we propose to continue with their operation.