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Ethnic minorities in Parliament (2022)

Request

  1. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Commons (MP’s)
  2. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Commons (all other positions)
  3. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Lords (any elected / appointed member)
  4. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Lords (all other positions)
  5. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Whitehall / Government estate (excluding the above)
  6. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Police Force (England, or England & Wales)
  7. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Fire Service (England, or England & Wales)
  8. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Ambulance Services / Trusts (England, or England & Wales)
  9. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the NHS (Total across England, or England & Wales)... so this might include request 8. If so, please confirm as such.

All volumes and percentages should be for the previous 3 full years, and 2022 to-date.

 

 

Response

In the first instance, please understand that you have sent your request to the House of Commons. We hold information in respect of our role of facilitating the work of Members of Parliament, which includes providing administrative support for proceedings, maintaining ICT infrastructure and services, and offering catering services to passholders. The House of Lords, the Government and the other organisations listed in your request are all separate from the House of Commons. We cannot answer for them, nor do we have routine access to information they hold. While we ourselves hold some information about these organisations, this is incidental, and you may instead wish to contact them directly for more.

1. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Commons (MP’s)

Some information is held by the House of Commons in relation to this part of your request.

We hold research about the number and percentage of ethnic minority Members of Parliament elected at the 2019 General Election. However, this information is already available from a public source. This information is therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and (2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes from a public authority the obligation to provide access to information which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

However, it may help you to know that this information can be found in a Library Briefing paper located on the House of Commons Library website.

It may also help you to know that some by-elections have taken place since the 2019 General Election and the make-up of the House of Commons has changed. While we do not hold information about the ethnic identity of these new Members, information about recent by-elections and the newly-elected Members are listed on the About Parliament section of our website.

2. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Commons (all other positions)

Some information is held by the House of Commons in relation to this part of your request. We only hold diversity data about staff employed by the House of Commons (also including staff of the Parliamentary Digital Service), and only the information they provide on a voluntary basis. We do not hold information about the staff of Members of Parliament, because they are directly employed by the relevant Member and we do not collect diversity data about them.

Information about the number of House of Commons staff identifying as being from an ethnic minority is included in the table.
The data is based on the dataset as at 31 March of each year.

We also hold information about the percentage this represents of the total workforce. Please note that in the case of the percentage breakdown, this is only reflective of staff who provided their ethnicity information and as such excludes those where that data was not provided.

This information for the years 2019 and 2020 is already available from two public sources. This information is therefore also exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and (2)(a) of the FOIA. However, it may help you to know that this information can also be found in:

• Our Diversity Monitoring Reports
Each edition shows a percentage breakdown by ethnic group of staff as at 31 March of that year.
Our HR and Diversity Annual Reports
Each edition shows a percentage breakdown by ethnic group of staff appointments over the course of the period the report covers.

The percentage breakdown by ethnic group of staff as at the 31 March of 2021 and 2022, as well as the percentage breakdown by ethnic group of staff appointments over the course of 2021/22, is also held. However, each of these pieces of information are due for future publication in the next People and Culture Team annual report and are therefore exempt from disclosure under section 22 of the FOIA. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed as follows. The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. The argument against disclosure is the public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing. It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities. Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.

It may help you to know that the 2021/22 People and Culture Team annual report will be published before the end of October 2022.

3. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Lords (any elected / appointed member)
and
4. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the House of Lords (all other positions)

Some information is held by the House of Commons in relation to this part of your request.

As part of the same House of Commons Library research briefing referred to above, we also hold the number of ethnic minority Members of the House of Lords as of November 2021. This information is therefore also exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and (2)(a) of the FOIA.

It may help you to know that the House of Lords is a separate public authority from the House of Commons for the purposes of the FOIA, and they may hold further information within the scope of these two parts of your request. Requests for information relating to the House of Lords should be directed to foilords@parliament.uk.

5. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Whitehall / Government estate (excluding the above)
6. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Police Force (England, or England & Wales)
7. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Fire Service (England, or England & Wales)
8. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the Ambulance Services / Trusts (England, or England & Wales)
and
9. Volume and percentage of ethnic minorities across the NHS (Total across England, or England & Wales)... so this might include request 8. If so, please confirm as such.

Please understand that these organisations are all separate bodies in accordance with the FOIA. The House of Commons is not responsible for these bodies, neither do they have any obligation to share or otherwise provide us with access to the data they hold.

However, some information is held by the House of Commons in relation to this part of your request because the House of Commons Library has carried out research, as referred to above. As a result, we hold percentage of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds in each of the following organisations:
• The UK Civil Service
• NHS England
• NHS Scotland
• The Police workforce in England and Wales
• Fire and Rescue staff in England and some parts of Wales

This information is therefore also exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and (2)(a) of the FOIA.

It may help you to know that each of these organisations may each hold further information within the scope of these parts of your request, so you may wish to submit requests to them directly. The citations in the research briefing may also be helpful in providing further sources of information.