The four most senior members of the royal family are refusing to release details of how many disabled people they employ across their two households.
Both Buckingham Palace, headed by the king and queen, and Kensington Palace, headed by the prince and princess of Wales (pictured), are refusing to release the figures, even though they both publish data showing the proportion of their staff from a minority ethnic background.
Both palaces claim to promote diversity, but they both refused this week to explain why they do not publish the figures, and both refused to even confirm whether they do collect data on disabled staff.
They also do not release figures showing what proportion of their staff identify as LGBT+ or any targets they might have for increasing the proportion of their staff identifying as LGBT+, or any targets for increasing the proportion of disabled staff.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement: “The royal household does not currently release this detail about its staff.
“The king and queen and the wider royal family have always promoted and embraced the diversity of our nation and we recognise that our own workforce needs to reflect the communities we serve.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure recruitment practices are fair and transparent, and that our employer brand is open and engaging and promotes career opportunities that are attractive to a wide pool of talent.”
The latest sovereign grant annual report (PDF), published last week, shows there are 595 full-time equivalent staff employed at Buckingham Palace, of whom 9.7 per cent are minority ethnic employees.
The report says – in an almost exact replica of last year’s report: “Inclusion and Diversity 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.”
Kensington Palace said that 16.3 per cent of its 50 staff are from a minority ethnic background, an increase from 13.6 per cent last year, while 64 per cent of its staff are women.
It claims that diversity is extremely important to the palace and that it is always striving to become more diverse and inclusive.
Last year, Buckingham Palace said that data on the number of disabled staff was collected, reviewed and discussed at senior levels.
But both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have refused to say whether they set any targets for disabled and LGBT+ staff, and why these figures are not released.
A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “A diverse workforce benefits employers.
“More diversity means a wider range of views and experiences can be shared and built upon, leading to better, more informed decision making.
“Although organisations are not generally required to publish diversity data, a first step towards achieving a more inclusive workforce is for any employer to collect and analyse data on the diversity of their employees – for example on disability, race, age and sex.
“This would identify where there may be issues and help employers to act and tackle the barriers some groups face within the workplace.
“Transparency is encouraged when publishing data, however this may not be appropriate in certain situations.
“For example, publishing the data of a small workforce could lead to the identification of staff.
“Taking specific steps to improve equality in the workplace, such as positive action measures, eliminating bias in recruitment and offering flexible working at all levels, can also be used to lessen disadvantage and increase participation.”
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