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Unit set up to take action on council’s race problem

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Unit set up to take action on council’s race problemOn 11 Apr 2000 in Personnel Today The London Borough of Hackney has set up an independent unit to deal withstaff complaints about racism in a bid to tackle what it has admitted is anendemic problem in the council.The unit opened on 3 April to give staff who do not trust internal reportingprocedures an alternative route for complaints. It will also carry outinvestigations.The move is part of a package agreed with the Commission for Racial Equalityafter the depth of the problem was exposed in a damning independent reportpublished in November 1997.Commissioned by the council and carried out by barrister Lincoln Crawford,it found that despite a much-publicised equal opportunities policy, staff hadsuffered “the worst manifestations of race discrimination” from somesenior managers.Sarah Ebanja, interim managing director at Hackney, said setting up the unitwas a huge and important step.”Lincoln Crawford’s report identified that too many staff do not feelcomfortable with the existing grievance procedures for dealing with racism andas such do not bother to complain, but suffer in silence,” she said.The first contact staff have with the unit is via a 24-hour free phonenumber.Chris Myant, spokesman for the CRE, which is monitoring Hackney’s progress,said the aim is to build trust among staff the council is committed toimproving.”We are pleased with the council’s progress so far, but note thatemployees are still expressing a degree of concern that change has not yet beendelivered. However, we wouldn’t expect things to turn around over night,”he said.Hackney has also introduced diversity training for managers, a black staffgroup and regular staff surveys to monitor progress.The unit is being run by a consortium of providers including Focus EAP,Ashley Maynard, Iona Management Consultants and Taylor-Stewart Associates.www.hackney.gov.uk Comments are closed. last_img read more