Select Committee on Armed Forces Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Annex C

ROYAL AIR FORCE

Introduction

  1.  The Royal Air Force aims to achieve universal acceptance and application of a working environment free from harassment, intimidation and unlawful discrimination. This is consistent with our legal obligations where all personnel have equal opportunity to realise their full potential in contributing to the maintenance and enhancement of operational effectiveness. Every individual is valued for his or her unique contribution to the RAF, irrespective of race, ethnic origin, religion or gender and without reference to sexual orientation or social background. The principals of equality of opportunity in employment, promotion and training—based on ability, performance, experience and aptitude—now underpin all RAF personnel policies.

  2.  The RAF Strategy for People (RAFSP), endorsed by the Air Force Board Standing Committee and introduced in April 2000, embraces a vision and a set of strategic aims and objectives covering the fundamental functions of the management of all personnel. These complement, and are entirely consistent with, the Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy (AFOPS). Within the RAFSP, one of the greatest challenges identified is promoting a multi-cultural working environment. The priority policy initiatives endorsed by the Air Force Board Standing Committee include achieving our ethnic minority recruiting targets.

  3.  The RAF welcomed the Partnership Agreement with the CRE and a great deal of progress has already been made. The following paragraphs set out the details.

RECRUITING

Policy and Communication

  4.  RAF Ethnic Minority Recruiting Implementation Team (EMRIT) and Strategy. An Ethnic Minority Implementation Recruiting Team (EMRIT), comprising key recruiting and policy staffs was formed in April 1997. It produced and has subsequently been responsible for maintaining and updating an Ethnic Minority Recruiting Action Plan. However, as it became apparent that some aspects of ethnic minority recruiting were outwith the control of the Directorate of Recruiting and Selection, the team developed a more strategic, forward looking role, monitoring progress and re-focusing resources in support of the RAF Ethnic Minority Recruiting Strategy and a revised Action Plan issued in January 2000.

  5.  Lack of significant ethnic minority recruitment progress led to a further review of the RAF strategy in-year, a process that involved discussions with the CRE. This review served to confirm that our general aims: to increase awareness among young people from ethnic minorities and their influencers about career opportunities in the RAF; to reassure ethnic minorities that the RAF is committed to equality of opportunity; to contribute to and adopt best practice; to commission and contribute to research to inform future strategies and plans; to demonstrate both internally and externally the efforts being made to achieve the targets, remain relevant. However, learning from experience, we have refocused our resources in what we intend to be a more productive manner. The Strategy is reviewed annually and that Action Plan remains subject to continuous review and update by the EMRIT.

  6.  Whilst the mere existence of strategy documents will not deliver success, ensuring that the RAF Ethnic Minority Recruiting Strategy is firmly embedded as a priority within our wider policy framework serves to emphasise the importance attached to this issue. Moreover, it recognises recruiting as a whole Service responsibility and acknowledges that equal opportunity does not exist in isolation but as an intrinsic principle of all personnel policies.

  7.  Ethnic Minority Presence in the Field Force (FF). The presence of personnel from ethnic backgrounds in the FF has been increased over the years by actively encouraging them to join the FF; establishing an Ethnic Minority Recruiting Team and actively canvassing serving personnel to assist in recruiting activities. Progress in each of these areas is detailed below:

    a.  FF. At the non-commissioned level, the FF, which comprises the major part of the Careers Information Service (CIS) is a volunteer organisation. Serving personnel from ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to consider tours in recruiting and suitable candidates who pass the Recruiting Course join the FF. Posts in certain Armed Forces Careers Offices (AFCOs) in areas with high ethnic populations—Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, London and Manchester—have been identified as locations for placement of such volunteers.

    b.  EMRT. Authority to create a separate Ethnic Minority Recruiting Team (EMRT) was received in 1998. Originally comprising one officer and three sergeants, it was extended to include an additional sergeant and three corporals the following year. Their initial remit was to work as a team covering initiatives across the UK whilst also providing some continuity of effort in their local areas, again chosen for their proximity to large ethnic populations. We intend to extend the team still further, appointing a wing commander (wg cdr) to take the lead and establishing four more posts in AFCOs where there is no EMRT representation.

    c.  Experience has shown that as a limited resource, it is not productive to spread the work of the EMRT too wide. Therefore, the modus operandi of the EMRT has been refined and now places greater emphasis on the monitoring and mentoring of ethnic applicants with a view to achieving better conversion rates in those areas where we have already created interest.

    d.  The EMRT (one officer, four senior non-commissioned officers and three corporals), together with serving personnel from ethnic minority communities in the FF (two officers, six senior non-commissioned officers and four corporals), currently comprise 8 per cent of the CIS.

    e.  Use of Serving Ethnic Minority Personnel. In addition to the ethnic minority members of the FF and the EMRT, a database of approximately 200 serving ethnic minority personnel willing to assist in recruiting and PR initiatives has been established. Their presence at recruiting events has already proved beneficial, as role models with which prospective applicants can readily identify. Area Commanders are under remit to maintain regular contact with personnel from the database to ensure maximum use of this resource within operational constraints. Profiles of serving ethnic minority personnel have also been made available to newspapers serving ethnic minority communities.

  8.  Ethnic Minority Marketing Plan (EMMP). Funding for marketing initiatives has increased steadily and significantly since 1996. During 1999-2000 expenditure totalled £750.5K, which represents 12.3 per cent of the total marketing budget. Similar levels of expenditure (£770K, 12.2 per cent of the total budget) have been maintained during 2000-01. As well as advertising in mainstream and ethnic newspapers, on radio and ethnic TV at local, regional and national level, marketing has also been extended to include lifestyle magazines that appeal to the target audience in ethnic minorities. Sponsorship deals have also been increased to cover The Young Asian of the Year, a category within the GG2 Awards, the Hindi Half Marathon and Youth and Cadet elements of the English Basketball Association—a sport particularly favoured by ethnic minority youth.

Review of Procedures and Criteria

  9.  Airman Selection Test (AST). The Ground Trade Test Battery (GTTB), an array of tests designed to assess a candidate's aptitude for entry into ground trades, was evaluated in November 1993 by the Directorate of Science (Air) and shown to have no psychometric bias against females or ethnic minorities. During 1997 the Psychology Section of the Department of Recruiting and Selection reviewed the content of the GTTB with the aim of shifting the emphasis from items that required an assumed knowledge to items that required a high degree of reasoning. This new generation of tests is based on the results of job analysis and specifies the types of aptitude required for success in training. During the course of development these tests were also assessed for their validity, bias and fairness and were found to be psychometrically fair to both white and non-white. AST1 was introduced in April 2000 and AST2, the test administered to those sitting aptitude tests for the second time, was introduced in October 2000. Following their introduction, both tests continue to be monitored and the subject of research to confirm their lack of bias.

  10.  Review of Ground Trades Recruiting Procedures. During 1996-97, Ground Trades Recruiting Procedures were reviewed with the aim of simplifying procedures and thereby reducing the time candidates spend in the recruiting process. Whilst considerable improvements have been made, this continues to be an area of concern, as the date of entry to the Service can be several months after a candidate is found suitable. In this time they may accept alternative job offers or simply lose interest. However, this problem is not peculiar to candidates from ethnic communities.

  11.  Recruiting staffs have observed that there is a long lead-in time required before individuals, particularly those from the Asian Community, come forward with an enquiry, let alone an application, to join the RAF. Therefore we have to ensure that our procedures do not disadvantage enquirers from the ethnic minorities because of this trait. To this end additional manual procedures are being trialed to ensure that enquiries from members of ethnic minorities are monitored and followed up.

  12.  Tri-Service Selection Testing. The RAF is represented on the Tri-Service Selection Testing Working Group, which in conjunction with the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, is currently considering the merits of introducing a tri-Service computer based selection test.

  13.  Complaints. In September 1996 the RAF PO Box, run by civilian contract, failed to reply to a request for information from a member of the ethnic community. The circumstances of the case were fully investigated but no racial bias was found. The complaint was withdrawn after apologies by the MoD, plus a payment of £300 for the inconvenience caused, were accepted. Administrative procedures were amended to prevent a re-occurrence. We have no record of any Parliamentary Questions concerning racial bias in the RAF recruitment procedure. However, an individual who contends that his offer of service was rejected on the grounds of race submitted an application to the Employment Tribunal Office in Manchester. The case was dismissed at a hearing on 12 December 2000.

  14.  Equal Opportunities Directive. A new Standing Instruction for Recruiting Offices which includes guidance on ethnic minority recruiting, the Race Relations Act and religious and cultural guidance, together with other equal opportunities subjects, was issued to the CIS in January 1999.

  15.  Positive Action. The Directorate issued guidance to all recruiting staff in January 2000 to clarify the difference between positive action and positive discrimination in recruiting practice, and to reassure members of the recruiting field force that all RAF initiatives are both desirable and legal. In addition, because the wider Service is becoming more involved in ethnic minority recruiting, for example in hosting events and visits, a similar article was written for the Air Secretary's Bulletin, which is distributed throughout the RAF.

Monitoring

  16.  Statistical Analysis. Since the start of the Partnership Agreement, much statistical data has been produced. Systems for collecting and analysing information have been developed and are still being refined in light of experience and changes in IT. For example, the large number of "unspecifieds", a record of entry for which there is no ethnic origin data, has been a perennial problem. Following the introduction of an interim solution in December 1999, permanent amendments have now been made to RAF IT systems whereby ethnic origin data will be entered onto the mainframe much earlier in the process than was previously the case. However, examination of this area highlighted difficulties in reconciling recruiting and in-service statistics. Information on an individual's ethnicity is provided on at least two occasions: at AFCOs and on arrival for Recruit Training at RAF Halton or for Initial Officer Training at RAFC Cranwell. The AFCOs and stations use different IT systems and it is not uncommon for each to show a different ethnic code for the same individual. This may be due in part to clerical error. However, it may be that individuals, for whatever reason, choose to change their ethnic code. This is a matter of concern for two reasons: firstly, because it leads to inconsistent statistics and secondly, because it may indicate a perception on the part of the individual that one ethnic background is somehow more acceptable than another. Thus, irrespective of their prime purpose—tracking progress against target—statistical analysis is invaluable in highlighting areas of fact and perception, which require further investigation.

  17.  With regard to tracking progress against goal, the statistics show that we have not achieved the goals set in the timescales agreed. However, in officer recruitment we have consistently exceeded our annual goals and continue to show improvement, albeit slow, in other areas. Improvements in non-white recruitment can be summarised as follows: a year on year and long-term trend of increase in officer enquiries and a long-term trend of increase in officer applications and selections; a year on year and long-term trend increase in other rank enquiries and a long-term trend increase in other rank applications and selections. There has also been a recent trend of increase on officer selections and a recent trend of increase in other rank enquiries and selections.

  18.  A comparison between figures for 1998-99 and 1999-2000 is also worthy of note. This shows that whilst there has been a reduction in the total number of enquiries, down by 30 per cent overall, the level of enquiries from members of ethnic communities is being maintained. This tends to suggest that our efforts to establish the RAF as a potential employer in the eyes of those from ethnic communities is beginning to take hold. However, it is a long and slow process. Frustrating as it may be, disappointment at the level of achievement against the goals should not allow us to lose sight of the very real progress that has been made in establishing close and lasting links within ethnic communities.

Recruiting Factors

  19.  Attracting More Ethnic Enquirers. Early initiatives elicited little interest from among ethnic minority communities although some headway was made in local liaison work among ethnic organisations including Race for Opportunity and Race Equality Councils. The formation of the EMRT to spearhead initiatives and assess the effectiveness of work undertaken has clearly been a move in the right direction. It is also clear that attracting more enquiries from members of the ethnic communities involves a range of initiatives. Large events such as Opportunity for all Days (OFADs) and intensive recruiting campaigns certainly raise the profile of the RAF, as does judicious use of sponsorship. However, key to any success is the motivational work undertaken by the FF and EMRT, particularly as it is the FF and EMRT who are responsible for maintaining the interest generated by larger events. Without their intensive follow-up such events would be counter-productive, as whatever we undertake must be sustainable. In this way our presence will be made credible by its permanence.

  20.  Negative Influences. During the last few years the Services have had to contend with a number of negative influences, not least of which have been the press reporting following racial or sexual harassment cases. Doubts about the future of the Services, particularly around the time of the Strategic Defence Review, also gave rise to a great deal of uncertainty about the viability of long-term careers in the Armed Forces. Moreover, when the Armed Services are active in areas of conflict between differing cultures, both of which have communities in the UK, it is reasonable to assume that it may have a negative effect on recruitment, even though this may prove transitory. Most of these negative influences are items over which recruiting staffs have very little control.

Training

  21.  RAF Recruiting Course. All members of the FF attend the RAF Recruiting Course prior to taking up their appointments. This course included an Equal Opportunities Awareness module delivered by an external consultant. The module covers EO legislation for gender and racial equality and explores issues of discrimination and harassment as well as the religious and cultural diversity among ethnic communities in Britain today. A member of the EMRT also provides input on his experiences, making future recruiters aware of the role of the EMRT within the FF and details of initiatives that have proved successful.

Positive Action

  22.  Recruiting Initiatives. Recruiting initiatives fall into two main categories: routine motivational work and high profile initiatives:

    a.  Routine Motivational Work. Since 1996 the FF has been engaged in a variety of activities with the aim of encouraging more people from ethnic minorities to apply to join the RAF. These activities include advertising, which over the years has been extended from the ethnic press and radio to TV and cinema. Visits to schools, Air Training Cadet Squadrons (ATC Sqns), careers and job fairs continue to be a regular feature of both FF and EMRT activity. Much innovative work has been shown in putting together these and other events. For example, AFCO London organised, in conjunction with the Community Relations Section of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a RAF Careers Opportunity Café in Ladbroke Grove. The Café format allowed many youngsters the chance to find out about careers in the RAF in an informal environment via the internet or in discussion with serving personnel. It continued to provide opportunities for follow-up several months after the event and some of the contacts made proved useful during the intensive recruiting campaign held in London, 18 September to 6 October. The possibility of establishing website hyperlinks with the local Race Equality Council is under discussion in AFCO Chatham. Local school road shows have also been mounted in several areas and in some areas, schools, which had previously shown little interest in allowing presentations on RAF Careers, are now providing access. However, motivational work does not deliver immediate results; time has to be allowed for measures to become effective.

    b.  High Profile Events. High profile events form an important part of our motivational work, generating interest for the FF and EMRT to capitalise upon in more local activities. Particular initiatives worthy of comment in this report include Opportunity for all Days (OFADs), Newham and our two-year cycle of area recruiting campaigns:

  (1)  OFADs. OFADs have helped to raise awareness of the RAF and over the three years of their existence they have been revised and extended in light of experience and feedback received. The first OFAD, held in June 1998 at RAF Cosford, proved successful in raising the profile of the RAF among schoolchildren from ethnic backgrounds and their influencers. In 1999 the event was extended and three OFADs were held during September at RAF Halton, RAF Cosford and RAFC Cranwell. Over 1,300 individuals from approximately 200 schools attended the events. The results of the post-event research showed that the expectations of the majority attending had been exceeded. These events also generated significant publicity, including three major national press articles about RAF careers. They also confirmed the need for the RAF to be more accessible to the youth of today, as many of them have little accurate knowledge of the Service. However, the amount of travelling required by schools to visit the RAF Stations involved was a drawback. Consequently, the format for 2000 was revised and 16 Stations around the UK were chosen to host a visit on a single day, 27 September. Each station hosted up to 130 schoolchildren, 2,000 in total, drawn from schools around the UK in areas with high ethnic populations. Visits focused on the lifestyle; sporting and job opportunities available. Immediate feedback from schoolchildren and teachers suggests that the event was popular and successful.

  (2)  The benefit of OFAD is in bringing people to the RAF to look at what is on offer at first hand. During visits they can talk to serving personnel from ethnic backgrounds, whose presence is invaluable in correcting misconceptions and providing role models for future recruits. However, interest generated but not sustained is effort wasted. Therefore, contacts made are followed-up through the FF and EMRT.

  (3)  Newham. The RAF provided a Wg Cdr to work as the Ethnic Minority Liaison Officer (EMLO) in support of the MoD initiative in Newham during the course of which a Pre-enlistment course was developed in partnership with Newham College of Further Education. The syllabus included numeracy and literacy skills, team working, confidence building exercises, physical fitness training, adventurous training activities and a community project within Newham. In addition, students visited RN, Army and RAF establishments and were briefed on career opportunities within the Armed Forces. The value of this initiative in purely ethnic minority recruiting terms is debatable, although it may well have value as a general youth initiative. The secondment of a Wg Cdr to work full time as the EMLO for Newham ceased at the end of 1999.

  (4)  Recruiting Campaigns. We have a programme of intensive recruiting campaigns, the aims of which are to maintain and consolidate our presence in areas in which we are already established and extend our influence into new areas. The first was staged in the Leeds/Bradford area from 13 Sep to 9 Oct 99, since when similar campaigns have been run in Bristol (3-14 Apr 00), Birmingham (15-26 May 00) and London (18 Sep-6 Oct 00), all of which will be revisited in 2002. A return campaign will be held in Leeds this year together with initial campaigns in Manchester and the East Midlands.

  (5)  Planned and phased correctly these campaigns provide us with considerable exposure in the local ethnic community: in Leeds it was estimated that 20,000 pupils visited the Mobile Recruiting Office and approximately 5,000 pupils, 450 parents and 200 teachers attended presentations during a campaign which included visits to 64 schools, 11 temples/community centres and four ATC Sqns in addition to the five outdoor shows mounted at various venues. Thereafter, there follows a prolonged period of follow-up activity which includes revisiting the schools and community centres in order to offer practice interviews; advice on completing application forms and compiling CVs; remote testing and guidance on how to prepare for aptitude tests. This motivational work is supported by comprehensive administrative arrangements, developed in Leeds and disseminated to the rest of the FF as best practice via a workshop held in July 2000. This particular example of best practice is geared towards ensuring that all ethnic minority enquirers are the subject of close monitoring. This has proved necessary because of the long lead-in time that often exists between enquiry and application. For this reason we believe it is right to place as much emphasis on the follow-up and sustainability of a campaign as on the initial raising of awareness. It is to support this approach that our resources have been refocused.

  23.  Recruiting Goals.

Year
Goals
Achieved
P2(Officers)
P3(Airmen)
1997-98
1.80%
1.00%
   
1998-99
2.00%
1.40%
3.19%
1.23%
1999-2000
3.00%
1.50%
4.60%
1.20%
2000-01
4.00%
1.86%
3.47%
1.62%


Future Priorities

  24.  The following priorities have been identified for the next five years:

a.  Achieve and improve upon the 5 per cent goals.

    b.  Secure additional funds as required to maintain and extend EMRT within the FF.

    c.  Using the FF, EMRT and serving personnel, focus on motivational work in schools, colleges, ATC Sqns and youth organisations where our target audience is to be found.

    d.  Focus on monitoring and mentoring all enquiries and applications from members of ethnic minorities including test failures and successful candidates awaiting draft, with a view to improving conversion ratios.

    e.  Continue to stage EO careers events, evaluating their effectiveness and revising their format as required.

    f.  Make greater use of existing and planned RAF public events eg Royal International Air Tattoo, Air Shows and Open Days to increase exposure of RAF to members of ethnic minorities.

    g.  Maintain two-yearly cycle of campaigns to consolidate our presence where established and expand into new areas.

    h.  Capitalise on contacts made during the recent campaign in London and increase the size of the London EMRT to extend our footprint in the capital, which contains the highest ethnic proportion of our target audience anywhere in the UK.

    i.  Conduct research to confirm the ongoing validity and fairness of aptitude tests.

    j.  Monitor, and review where necessary, all recruiting procedures to ensure there is no bias against ethnic minorities.

    k.  Continue to share and assist in the development of best practice.

Conclusion

  25.  The slow progress towards achieving the goals is most disappointing. We recognise the need for and value of goals, but believe that if we become too fixated on them we run the risk of undermining the very real steps that have been taken to advance the cause of equal opportunities both within and without the RAF. Undoubtedly, pressure on achieving goals is focusing resources on achieving immediate in-year results, whereas we must ensure that we do not neglect the important long-term motivational work that will lead to success. A period of stability is required to allow measures to bear fruit and to avoid undermining the morale of personnel engaged in such work, the more so because at present the effort is out of all proportion to the success rate.

  26.  Feedback from our most recent initiatives in 1999-2000 suggests that our profile and credibility as an EO employer has improved within ethnic minority communities. This appears to be reflected in recent and long-term statistical trends showing that interest from ethnic minority youngsters in pursuing a career in the RAF is growing. We now have to concentrate our efforts on translating that interest into Service intake. The long-term nature of the effort required to achieve this cannot be underestimated; nor should our commitment to it.

RAF IN-SERVICE REPORT (1996-2000)

Plans and Policy

  27.  General. The RAF established an Equal Opportunities Focus Group (EOFG) in September 1996, with responsibility for all equal opportunities (EO) matters including formulating and updating the EO Action Plan. The EOFG subsequently acted as a focal point for advice on EO policy and casework, producing training modules and conducting EO Awareness Workshops on RAF Stations. As a result of RAF EO Policy being integrated fully into the RAF's primary personnel management organisation (the RAF Personnel Management Agency, the EOFG was rebrigaded within the wider Employment Policy Area. Responsibility for EO training was also transferred to the Training Group Defence Agency (TGDA) in Mar 00, allowing EO staffs to focus on policy, the EO Action Plan, interpretation of legislation, advice to the command chain and monitoring and evaluation.

  28.  RAF EO Directive. The RAF Equal Opportunities Directive was issued as a Defence Council Instruction (DCI) on 20 September 1996. DCI's which are widely distributed throughout the Service, represent the best method of rapidly disseminating information. The Directive included: a statement of policy; establishment of the EOFG; a summary of relevant legislation; guidance on individual responsibilities; details of the complaints procedures; and terms of reference for all Command and Station Equal Opportunities Advisers (EOAs). The Directive and DCI have subsequently been amended on several occasions to reflect changes to the Armed Forces Act and access to Employment Tribunals (ET). The latest version was promulgated as DCI RAF 59-2000 on 1 December 2000 and reflects the revised policy on sexual orientation which became effective on 12 January 2000.

  29.  RAF EO Action Plan. The RAF Equal Opportunities Action Plan was relaunched in 1996 and has undergone continual revision. The latest version, issued on 1 September 2000, includes challenging training targets to ensure that EO awareness is raised throughout the RAF, together with revised arrangements for EO training. The new Action Plan covers a three-year period, thereby enabling long-term, medium and short-term objectives; it also allows for more meaningful evaluation and reporting at all levels across the RAF. The Plan will, however, continue to be subject to an annual review. With this in mind, improved monitoring and evaluation systems were put in place in July 2000, requiring all RAF units to provide quarterly reports covering training, EO related complaints (both formal and informal) and the perceived EO "climate". This will greatly assist the planning process and highlight areas of deficiency that may need formal audit.

Training

  30.  EO Training in the RAF has evolved over the past few years. Initially, EO Awareness Training was incorporated as a module; providing an introduction to RAF EO policy, the complaints procedure and advice on who is available to help when required, delivered during initial training for both officers and airmen. This was subsequently expanded to include all command and staff training courses for officers and NCOs. A one-day training workshop was also produced and taken to Units by the EOFG, primarily targeting line managers. Unfortunately, only about 3,500 personnel were trained by this method over a period of three years. Therefore, during the past year, the TGDA (with the assistance of EO Policy staff) have produced a training package for use by RAF station EOAs and other trainers to broaden and supplement EO training. This will allow all personnel at RAF units to receive Awareness training. The latest RAF EO Action Plan has set a challenging 100 per cent EO training target to be achieved by 31 December 2003.

  31.  The RAF also utilises the Tri-Service Equal Opportunities Training Centre at Shrivenham. Training courses include the Senior Officers Awareness Seminar—a one day course providing EO training to senior officers, and Group Captain station commanders, and a five day course to train EOAs. So far 166 senior officers and 159 EOAs have been trained. 2001 will see a 40 per cent increase in the number of RAF EOAs.

Reporting—Surveys—Databases

  32.  In 1997, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) authorised a survey of all ethnic minority personnel, plus a control group of white personnel, to try to establish the extent of racial harassment or discrimination within the RAF. The survey provided much valuable information on the concerns of individuals, and resulted in a simplified and more responsive internal complaints procedure. The Continuous General Attitude Survey, which is an ongoing survey of RAF personnel selected at random, also highlighted similar concerns about the complaints procedure. A formal complaints database has since been established and is maintained by EO Policy staff who submit a quarterly report to Service Personnel Policy. Analysis of the results from a Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Survey, conducted in October 1999, suggests that the revised complaints procedures and the RAF's proactive measures to eradicate discrimination and harassment have been well received.

  33.  Databases have also been established in order to monitor the effectiveness of EO Policy within the RAF and to detect and target any areas of weakness. The RAF Ethnic Origin database now includes 99 per cent of personnel (1 per cent is unspecified or have not classified their ethnic origin). Analysis of this data is forwarded by way of quarterly returns to the Commission for Racial Equality, through Service Personnel Policy. In producing these reports, close scrutiny is given to both officer and airman promotion systems and personal files to ascertain the reasons for premature exits by EM personnel. This is set to continue for the foreseeable future, although in terms of premature exit, no definitive trends have been identified. It is likely that in the near future, EO Policy staff will be given direct access to the database which will greatly broaden the range of in-Service monitoring work conducted on RAF ethnic monitoring and EO issues generally.

  34.  The EOFG commenced a random audit of personal dossiers of airmen in the non-white category. The audit involved checking all entries since enlistment, end of course reports and annual appraisals for any sign of discrimination, establishing whether the individual had appeared before a promotion board and, if so, how he/she fared. Additionally, in 1999 all serving EM personnel were asked if they would be willing to participate in PR activities. Over 200 EM personnel volunteered to undertake such tasks and this information is maintained in a database provided to RAF recruiting and marketing staffs for future use.

Appraisal System

  35.  Recently an "Open Appraisal" system was introduced for all RAF personnel in which Reporting Officers (ROs) are required to comment on an individual's behaviour, if it is considered to be inappropriate. Conversely, ROs may comment on any positive EO aspects of an individual's performance. In 2001 the Officers Joint Appraisal Report will include an assessment of the subject's EO credentials in two of the 10 graded attributes.

EO Information Sources and Advertising

  36.  The RAF's Harassment Helpline was established in December 1997 to enable personnel to seek confidential advice, specifically, though not exclusively, on EO matters. As a result of concerns arising from the Racial Discrimination and Harassment Survey, the Helpline was further advertised using posters and pocket guides and via the RAF Harassment & Bullying Booklet. Calls to the Helpline have increased in number, especially over the past year. However, very few calls of a racial nature are received; only three of 124 in this calendar year. It is envisaged that the rise in number of calls to the Helpline is due to an increased awareness of EO rather than an increase in the incidence of discrimination or harassment.

  37.  Various methods have been used to raise awareness, above and beyond EO training. An EO Booklet (intended for crew-room, rest-room etc availability) provided comprehensive information about EO in the RAF, including the complaints procedures, was distributed widely in 1997. This booklet has since been amended to accommodate the revised complaints procedures and was issued to all RAF stations in January 2000. An EO Newsletter is also issued periodically to update personnel on current issues. The most recent edition concentrated on the future training strategy, the revised policy on sexual orientation and the European Convention on Human Rights. The "Zero Tolerance" campaign was given further impetus by the production of posters and credit card aides memoire, issued in June 1999. All such publicity appears to have been well received and has raised awareness, borne out by the recent number of calls to the Helpline. The RAF remains committed to driving home the message that intolerance, discrimination and harassment have no place in today's Service.

Positive Action

  38.  The Partnership with CRE remains key to the RAF's EM policies and practices. The RAF enjoys membership of the EOC's "Equality Exchange" and "Race for Opportunity". A number of other initiatives are also being pursued in order to promote equality, these include the RAF(EO) Policy staff joining the International Harassment Network, in order to develop best practice and to improve understanding of workplace harassment, and CAS signing up to the CRE "Leadership Challenge". The RAF also sponsored the "Young Achiever of the Year" award at this year's GG2 Diversity and Leadership Awards. At this Ceremony, Air Commodore David Case was joint winner of the Hammer Award, further recognition of the fact that there is no glass ceiling preventing personnel from the ethnic minorities reaching the highest ranks of the RAF.


 
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