‘Glaring lack’ of ethnic diversity and women at senior level within UK’s secret services

MI5 and MI6 have been criticised for their ‘glaring lack’ of ethnic minority and female staff at senior levels in a new report from the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

It highlighted the fact that just a third of the senior civil servants in MI5 are women, with that figure dropping even lower across other agencies.

Additionally, the report said that only two of Britain’s security and intelligence agencies have any members from the ethnic minorities in senior ranks.

While MI5, MI6 and GCHQ were commended for making “significant progress” in becoming more inclusive, ‘the intelligence community is still not gender-balanced at senior level and does not fully reflect the ethnic makeup of modern Britain’, according to the report which looked at diversity and inclusivity at MI6, MI5, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence Agency, The Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), National Security Secretariat (NSS) and Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO).

It went on to point to ‘a glaring lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at senior civil service levels across the community’.

Dominic Grieve, chairman of the ISC, believes it is important that the UK intelligence community can attract the skill, talent and experience of all sectors of society.

“It is essential that these organisations reflect the UK of today with a diverse and inclusive workforce,” he said.

“Diversity encourages challenge, drives innovation and ensures better decision making.  Whilst this is important in any organisation or sector, it is an operational imperative for the 

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