Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Women

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 22 November 2023.

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Photo of Steven Bonnar Steven Bonnar Shadow SNP Spokesperson (DEFRA Team Member)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of SCS2 civil servants on full-time equivalent contracts in her Department are women.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In 2022/23 more than half of new entrants to the Civil Service were women (54.1%). In 2021/22 51.6% of new entrants and 53.9% of promotions to the Senior Civil Service were women.

The proportion of Senior Civil Servants graded as SCS 2 in the department as of 30 September 2023, excluding arm’s length bodies, is 50%. The proportion was calculated by the number of female staff at Payband 2 (Director) and working full-time divided by the total number of staff at the department at Payband 2 (where sex is known).

Monitoring of annual diversity statistics and recruitment data takes place to understand and evaluate progress in improving recruitment outcomes for protected characteristics.

During recruitment, the department uses the Civil Service Success Profiles methodology which assesses candidates across several elements, allowing candidates to demonstrate their skills and experience. Some roles, given their nature, do still require a formal qualification. Sifting is anonymised and we use recruitment panels, to mitigate against bias.

The department supports the Care Leaver programme as part of our career entry offer. This programme brings in young people who have been in Care and helps them gain experience of work, with a view to securing employment.

There are a range of cross-Government leadership development opportunities available for women in the department, including but not limited to conferences, talent pipeline schemes and talent programmes. Participation in these development opportunities is actively encouraged throughout the department.

The department also supports diverse working patterns and work life balance through a range of HR policies, including but not limited to policies on flexible working, special leave, parental leave, menopause and menstruation, pregnancy loss, and parental bereavement.

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