CRE chief warns private firms on diversity issues

The new head of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has warned private
sector firms delivering public services that they must comply with race
legislation.

Trevor Phillips told Personnel Today that the CRE will pursue private
companies working in the public sector if they do not comply with the Race
Relations Amendment Act (RRAA), which forces public bodies to actively promote
racial equality. Employers must also publish annual reports charting progress
and action plans in the area.

Phillips said the Government’s policy of encouraging private organisations
to fund the modernisation of the public sector had led to an ever increasing
number of private firms delivering public services, creating a grey area in the
law.

"Even if the law [the RRAA] does not specifically cover private sector
companies, we think that it essentially captures private sector companies that
work for the public sector. I am going to operate as if it does," he said.

"Why should public money be spent in a way that is racially biased? I
cannot accept that.

"Everyone involved in a public-private partnership and a contract that
provides services to the public sector – I think both morally and legally –
will have to observe the public duty."

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