Organisations pushing for diversity need to create a forum so all voices can be heard, the minister for race equality has advised.
Speaking exclusively to Personnel Today at the opening of Home Office diversity week last Monday, Fiona McTaggart said improving diversity means listening to people from all over an organisation.
“One of the consequences is that people can get talk to board level people and to have their voice heard,” she said. “That’s quite a powerful thing.”
During the Home Office diversity week, staff had the opportunity to attend sessions explaining best practice and the impact of government policies on minority and disabled staff, as well as the wider community.
McTaggart said the Home Office needed to set an example on diversity and she admitted that getting it wrong had had serious consequences in the past – such as when Zahid Mubarak was murdered by his racist cell-mate at Feltham young offenders’ institution.
The Home Office’s diversity week is now in its third year, but McTaggart said she could not put a date on when diversity would become just a matter of course in the Civil Service and special events would no longer be necessary.
“It is easy to be over-optimistic. I am not going to make that predication,” she said. “What I know is that doing work like this helps that to become more likely.”
The best way to make a government department ‘jump through hoops’, she said, was to make sure everything was measured.
“Measuring things is the way to know if you have made a difference,” she said. “In the old days before we had targets and measurements in terms of race equality and diversity, we said that we did good things, but the numbers didn’t confirm that.”