Revenue chief plans diversity drive

1 Jun 00
The Inland Revenue wants to appoint a marketing director to spearhead the department's diversity and equality action plan.

02 June 2000

Inland Revenue chairman Nick Montagu is still waiting for the go-ahead from ministers to create the position, which would be the first such post in Whitehall. But he has already come up with a challenging job description.

The emphasis is likely to be on changing the internal culture of the department rather than trying to make the tax inspector a more appealing public figure. The marketing director would oversee efforts to make the Inland Revenue more accessible to customers and rebrand the department as an attractive employer to women, disabled people and ethnic minorities.

He or she will also lead the campaign to encourage target groups to progress to senior management level, where they are under-represented. By 2005, the department wants 22.9% of senior civil servants to be women, 3.3% to be from ethnic minorities and 5.1% to be disabled.

'We have to reflect the diversity of the community we serve in the services we provide,' explained Montagu, who founded and chairs the civil service diversity panel.

'I want the marketing director to go through every form, leaflet and application form we send out to ensure they are accessible to everyone.' He added: 'There are good candidates for jobs, for example, among south Asian women, but they see our application forms and are put off applying.'

The Inland Revenue has introduced a range of initiatives to boost its image among potential recruits. These include introducing paid work placement schemes for 17 ethnic minority students from this summer, and designating specific posts as job-shares to encourage more women applicants.

Recruitment from new universities, which have a disproportionately high number of ethnic minority students, is another priority.

But Montagu wants the department's diversity programme to go beyond promoting more inclusive recruitment and promotion strategies. He said: 'It is also about addressing the division between graduates and non-graduates, and doing away with the stereotype of the "northern git" against the "posh southerner".'

He added: 'Targets and objectives are good because they concentrate the mind, but a change in culture and understanding is far more important.'


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