11th March 2022
The Department of Justice has published its first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, with the aim of fostering and increasing equality, diversity and inclusion in the organisation, both for its staff and for those it delivers services to.
Actions identified by the Department in the Strategy include: proactively engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders to inform the drafting of policy and legislation; auditing the preparation of policy and legislation to take account of their impacts on equality diversity and inclusion; identifying innovations in how services are delivered to improve accessibility; making all information and communications more accessible including making information available in multiple languages; use a data driven approach to understand the diversity profile of the Department; collaborate with Public Appointment Service (PAS) and other key stakeholders on recruitment and retention initiatives; internships and mentoring programmes focusing on underrepresented groups; and identify and provide specialised training to staff/teams.
As well as setting out specific actions, the Strategy reaffirms the Department's commitment to actions and targets set in other strategies, including an increase from 3% to 6% of people with disabilities in the workforce (Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities) and 1% of the workforce to comprise of ethnic minorities (Migrant Integration Strategy, National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021).
The Strategy specifically notes that the Department is supporting the development of the Working to Change Strategy, which has already engaged with people currently in prison and people with past convictions, including those in protected status groups. The Department's continued support of this Strategy is welcome. In our submission to the Public Consultation on Spent Convictions (2020), IPRT specifically recommended that the Public Service – including the Department and its agencies – should “lead by example” in ensuring that people with convictions are not excluded from employment with the civil and public service.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is available on the Department of Justice website here.