Written Answers. - Employment Equality.

Paul McGrath

Question:

299 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the percentage of people with disabilities employed in the civil service, the non-civil service public sector, each local authority, Government Department and health board in 2000, 2001 and 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3832/03]

My Department has a key role in the development of disability equality policy and legislation. As part of that remit, my Department collects data on the 3% target for employment of people with disabilities in the public service, excluding Civil Service data which is collected by the equality unit in the Department of Finance. Although the target has yet to be achieved, there has been a degree of progress in recent years.

A Government commitment in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness requires that "every Department will take appropriate action to ensure that agencies under its aegis achieve the 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities in the Public Service at an early date". Accordingly, it is the responsibility of each individual Department to consider the question of the action to be taken against agencies under their aegis that fail to reach the 3% target for employment of people with disabilities.
A monitoring committee established and chaired by my Department helps to monitor and guide progress in relation to the target. It has supported a number of initiatives in recent years including: approval of a draft code of practice for use in the public service and exploration of the options for common selection procedures for people with disabilities; raising awareness of the 3% target among, and giving information to, chief executives, personnel officers and disability equality officers in the public service through a series of eight regional seminars, and publication of an information brochure; publication of a brochure designed to encourage people with disabilities to consider a career in the public service and promotion of this option at the Public Sector Careers Expo in April, 2001; commissioned research on the issues and barriers relating to achievement of the target in six public service organisations; the report, published in November 2001 and titled "Research Project on the Effective Recruitment of People with Disabilities in the Public Service" provides an insight into some of the issues which hinder progress and includes recommendations to assist future progress; my Department, in partnership with the Equality Authority, launched an employer resource pack on 3 December 2002 to assist public service employers in the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities.
The statistics for each local authority, health board and the overall public sector figures are tabulated as follows. The statistics are based on figures at 31 December each year. The statistics for 31 December 2002 are currently being collected.

2001

2000

1999

Local Authorities

Carlow

2.25%

1.84%

1.86%

Cavan

1.03%

1.13%

1.15%

Clare

3.46%

3.03%

2.72%

Cork

3.04%

2.44%

2.23%

Donegal

0.50%

0.45%

0.47%

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

3.00%

2.20%

2.54%

Fingal

3.10%

3.38%

3.74%

Galway

3.22%

2.24%

2.52%

Kerry

5.13%

4.64%

4.83%

Kildare

1.92%

1.32%

1.53%

Kilkenny

3.51%

2.88%

2.70%

Laois

5.69%

3.24%

0.95%

Leitrim

2.12%

1.15%

0.83%

Limerick

3.04%

3.23%

3.32%

Longford

2.22%

2.50%

2.16%

Louth

2.78%

2.90%

2.67%

Mayo

7.12%

5.12%

5.03%

2001

2000

1999

Meath

2.44%

2.48%

4.40%

Monaghan

0.66%

0.27%

0.28%

Offaly

1.24%

1.27%

0.8%

Roscommon

2.93%

3.14%

3.09%

Sligo

3.07%

2.42%

2.87%

South Dublin

1.50%

0.33%

0.35%

Tipperary N.R.

3.02%

1.12%

1.00%

Tipperary S.R.

4.60%

2.94%

3.21%

Waterford

1.12%

2.72%

0.90%

Westmeath

2.76%

1.83%

1.17%

Wexford

3.32%

2.70%

2.90%

Wicklow

1.26%

0.93%

1.21%

County Borough Corporations

Cork

4.36%

3.83%

3.88%

Dublin

4.23%

4.37%

4.10%

Galway

0.74%

0.58%

0.87%

Limerick

4.67%

5.13%

4.77%

Waterford

4.72%

6.80%

4.21%

Health Boards

Eastern Regional Health Authority

0.3%

1.47%

East Coast Area Health Board

0.662%

Midland Health Board

2.19%

2.48%

1.89%

Mid-Western Health Board

0.98%

0.37%

0.81%

North-Eastern Health Board

1.64%

0.88%

0.89%

North-Western Health Board

2.68%

1.71%

2.01%

South-Eastern Health Board

0.58%

0.02%

0.54%

Southern Health Board

4.1%

3.46%

3.96%

Western Health Board

0.9%

2.33%

0.72%

Northern Area Health Board

0.42%

South-Western Area Health Board

0.6%

Public Service*

1.99%

1.89%

1.72%

*The overall public service figures given for December 2000 and December 2001 are provisional figures as returns are outstanding from a number of individual public service bodies.
My colleague, the Minister for Finance, is responsible for the 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities within the Civil Service. The 3% target is based on the definition of disability set out in the Civil Service Code of Practice on the employment of people with disabilities. This definition includes people with physical, sensory or psychological impairments. In order to maintain confidentiality, the following statistical returns made by Departments and offices do not specify the nature of the disability. The following table shows the percentage of employees with disabilities in each Department.
The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness included a commitment to a review of the employment of people with a disability in the Civil Service to ascertain ongoing adherence to the 3% employment target. While Departments met the target in the mid-1990s, since then the percentage has dropped below the target and as at December 2001 the percentage of people with a disability in the Civil Service was 2.78%. The Department of Finance has written to the heads of all departments and offices to ensure that they are aware of their legal obligations and of the importance of reaching and maintaining the 3% target.
In light of the commitment in the PPF and to improve adherence to the target, the Department of Finance, in partnership with the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, commissioned a study on the career progression of people with a disability in the Civil Service. The research, which was carried out by a team led by Goodbody Economic Consultants, will be published shortly. The research examines career progression for people with disabilities, highlights the challenges they face in pursuing their careers and makes recommendations for improvements. The Department of Finance is considering the recommendations and will be drawing up proposals shortly. Officials from the Department of Finance are meeting with the Civil Service Staff Unions to consider the recommendations.

Department-Office

Sept 2000

Dec 2001

Agriculture and Food

2.02

2.64

Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands

3.50

3.51

Attorney General

1.32

0.99

Central Statistics Office

5.47

5.57

Chief State Solicitor

0.46

0.81

Civil Service Commission

1.72

3.03

Comptroller and Auditor General

1.54

0.85

Courts Service

0.81

2.79

Defence

4.53

4.5

Director of Public Prosecutions

0.00

1.67

Education and Science

3.03

2.57

Enterprise, Trade and Employment

3.42

3.73

Environment and Local Government

3.23

3.15

Finance

4.17

3.45

Foreign Affairs

2.45

2.98

Health and Children

2.51

2.71

Justice, Equality and Law Reform

2.67

2.61

Land Registry

3.36

3.7

Legal Aid Board

2.29

Marine and Natural Resources

4.28

3.8

Office of Public Works

2.99

3.45

Oireachtas

1.56

1.25

Ombudsman

0.00

2.74

Ordnance Survey

1.75

2.17

Presidents Establishment

0.00

0

Public Enterprise

2.98

4.39

Revenue Commissioners

2.01

2.06

Social, Community and Family Affairs

2.83

2.81

State Laboratory

5.20

1.15

Taoiseach

2.96

2.76

Tourism, Sport and Recreation

0.86

0.88

Valuation Office

4.62

5.6

Totals

2.58

2.78

Paul McGrath

Question:

300 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether his Department and the Legal Aid Board have failed to achieve the 3% target for the employment of disabled persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3833/03]

The Minister for Finance is responsible for the 3% target of employment of people with disabilities within the Civil Service. This target applies across the Civil Service and not just to individual Departments. As at December 2001 – the most recent figures available – the percentage of people with a disability in the Civil Service was 2.78%: the position in this Department and the Legal Aid Board was 2.61% and 2.29% respectively. I am informed that this figure may be somewhat higher as there are people with disabilities employed throughout the Civil Service who do not wish to declare their disability.

The Department of Finance wrote some time ago to all heads of Departments and offices to ensure that they are aware of their obligations and of the importance of reaching and maintaining the 3% target. For my part, I am anxious to ensure that this is achieved and my Department continues to liaise with the Civil Service Commission in an effort to recruit people with disabilities wherever possible.

The Deputy may also be interested to note that in light of the commitment in the PPF and in order to establish how to improve adherence to the target, the Department of Finance, in partnership with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Civil Service Commission, commissioned a study on the career progression of people with a disability in the Irish Civil Service. The research is completed and will be published in early 2003. The research maps out the current arrangements in respect of career progression for people with disabilities, highlights the challenges they face when seeking to progress their careers and makes recommendations for a model of best practice in this area for the future. I look forward to reviewing its findings in due course.