Autumn Statement warns of crackdown on external diversity spending

"Presumption against external EDI spending" is being considered alongside extra ministerial scrutiny
Photo: Imageplotter/Alamy Live News

Departments could be discouraged from commissioning external equality, diversity and inclusion training, the chancellor has said.

The government’s audit of EDI spending is “coming to conclusion”, according to a policy document setting out the autumn statement this afternoon.

As part of the audit, ministers are considering introducing a “presumption against external EDI spending”, the document says.

The move away from using external suppliers to deliver services would come alongside greater ministerial scrutiny of spending on equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as efforts to “streamline” EDI training and HR processes “with a view to getting value for the taxpayer”.

As part of the review, the Cabinet Office has written to more than 100 government departments and civil service agencies, to confirm how many staff work on EDI and how that work supports government priorities.

Freshly minted Cabinet Office minister John Glen will announce the final proposals arising from the EDI audit “in due course”, according to the autumn statement document.

The audit is also feeding into the public sector productivity review, which Glen led while he was chief secretary to the Treasury. Announcing it in June, Hunt said the exercise would be “the most ambitious public sector productivity review ever undertaken by a government, with the Treasury acting as an enabler of reform”.

Hunt will announce the findings of the productivity review, and how the government will put its findings into practice, later this autumn.

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