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The permanent secretary and the Chief of Defence Staff jointly chair a diversity panel and are supported by diversity champions at senior civil service level. We have a small central team, under 10 people, of dedicated professionals who provide the Department with advice and guidance around its efforts to remove or minimise disadvantages and meet the needs of its staff. For example, the Ministry of Defence civil service launched the new ‘ability passport' scheme in August this year for use by staff requiring reasonable adjustments. This is not a mandatory requirement but the scheme has been created to assist staff who may change jobs or experience a change of line manager. The armed forces have also recently introduced a number of initiatives for service personnel, including a Naval Service parenting network and an Army women's network. The team also assists the Department in seeking out opportunities to help people who share a protected characteristic to participate in public life.
The cost to the public purse is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.