Public sector stuck in the slow lane on race

Public sector employers are failing to comply with race legislation,
according to research.

A poll of 100 public bodies shows that the vast majority are not meeting the
minimum requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act (RRAA).

Under the Act, public organisations have to actively promote race equality
in the workplace. Employers must also publish annual reports – Race Equality
Schemes (RES) – which chart progress and action plans.

The survey, conducted by City law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse and barrister
Henrietta Hill, shows that 14 per cent of RES reports were not available – 10
months after the implementation date.

Of the available RES’s, 8 per cent were only at draft stage, and 96 per cent
failed to meet minimum legal requirements. More than 90 per cent did not
identify functions or policies.

Jon Whiteley, head of diversity at occupational psychologist firm Pearn
Kandola said: "The reason they are struggling is because it’s not
mainstreamed. I also fear that public bodies lack the systems to measure,
collect and monitor staff data."

However, HR professionals in the public sector dismissed the report’s
findings.

Peter King, executive officer at NHS HR body AHHRM, said: "I am amazed,
as race relations is a high priority in the NHS."

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