Buckingham Palace has refused to publish figures showing how many of its employees are disabled people, despite publishing similar figures for minority ethnic staff.
The royal household’s annual report and accounts, published last week, show that 8.5 per cent of its 499 employees were from ethnic minorities, as of 31 December 2020, with a target of 10 per cent for March 2022.
But there are no similar figures for disabled staff, or for staff with other characteristics protected under the Equality Act, such as LGBT people or women.
The figures relate to staff working for the Queen, rather than those employed by other royals, such as the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
When challenged on the failure to publish the figures this week, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said data on the number of disabled staff were collected, reviewed and discussed.
He said: “To confirm, we do collect data on disability and it is reviewed and discussed at senior levels as part of our work on diversity and inclusion.”
But he refused to release those figures, or to explain why they were not included in the report.
He also refused to say if Buckingham Palace had set targets for employment of disabled staff, as it had for minority ethnic staff.
In the report, Buckingham Palace claims that “Diversity and Inclusion are valued, all appointments and promotions are on merit, with active consideration given to applicants with disabilities, and support to employees who become disabled to ensure their development and career progression continues”.
The report also says that there had to be a “shift” in its diversity strategy last year to ensure that it “actively emphasises the importance of inclusion”.
And it points to activities that marked International Women’s Day, Pride, Ramadan and Black History Month, and a week of events to mark national inclusion week, but makes no specific mention of activities related to disability or disabled people.
The refusal to publish any figures has raised concerns that Buckingham Palace employs a disproportionately small number of disabled people.
Jumoke Abdullahi, communications and media officer at Inclusion London, said the failure to publish data on disabled staff suggested that the figures were “incredibly small”.
She said: “Regardless of the exact numbers working at the royal palace, the needs of disabled people in the workplace remain the same.
“Disabled people should have fully supportive environments that allow them to flourish at the workplace without coming at the cost of their wellbeing.
“It should not only be a matter of focusing on the number of disabled employees, but also how they are treated.”
A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “We believe it is useful for transparency and best practice for any employer to regularly collect and publish data on the diversity of their employees to better understand the barriers that hold some groups back from flourishing.
“However, employers are not generally legally required to publish diversity data, aside from the duty on those with over 250 staff to publish gender pay gap data.”
Picture: Buckingham Palace
A note from the editor:
Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations.
Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009.
Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…