Measures to force firms to reveal how many grievances they have received from ethnic minority workers may be included in the Equality Bill, diversity guru Trevor Phillips has warned.
Phillips, chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said that the new law could include a requirement for organisations to reveal HR statistics.
“This should not be about more data, but about more effective data,” he told delegates at a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development conference on diversity last week. “Perhaps the number of grievances lodged or the retention rates of ethnic minority staff.”
Equality minister Barbara Follett earlier told delegates that increasing transparency would be one of the Bill’s four key aims when it is drafted next month.
It will also make diversity practices more important for winning government contracts, encourage more positive action, and strengthening enforcement of the law, she said.
She hinted that the UK could move towards a US-style system where firms have to publish diversity statistics for consideration when bidding for government contracts.
Meanwhile, Phillips insisted that he was not in favour of positive discrimination, instead calling for “greater use of positive action”.
“We are looking at positive action,” added Follett. “This is lawful action that helps members of under-represented groups get on level terms.”
Phillips called for HR professionals to make their voices heard as the Equality Bill was drafted over the next few weeks.
“HR professionals should contribute to the consultation,” he told Personnel Today. “We need to make sure the Bill takes account of the real world experiences of those who have to manage diversity.”
Prime minister Gordon Brown last week announced in his draft Queen’s Speech that the Equality Bill would be passed into law during the next parliamentary session.
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