Training at fault in diversity shambles

The Commission for Racial Equality’s (CRE) damning report into race equality
in police forces in England and Wales shows that training alone is not enough
to create a culture of diversity in any business, according to HR experts.

Under the Race Relations Act, all police forces and authorities as well as
all public bodies have a statutory duty to produce a race equality scheme. But
the CRE’s interim report found that more than 90 per cent of police race
equality schemes fail to meet minimum legal requirements, including the duty to
monitor employment.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the CRE, has now threatened court action against
14 police forces and eight police authorities unless they produce lawful
schemes within 90 days.

Sir David Calvert-Smith, who compiled the CRE report, found that diversity
training gave officers little understanding of what constitutes racial
discrimination, how it can lead to an abuse of police powers and failed to
support officers challenging racism in the workplace.

Martin Tiplady, HR director at the Metropolitan Police, told Personnel Today
the Met was working hard to put systems in place to create a culture of
diversity.

"We have a long way to go," he said. "The emphasis is now on
making the systems work to create the culture that is required."

Satya Kartara, director of diversity & inclusion at Royal Mail, said
training was just a small part of promoting diversity in and employers needed
to embed it firmly as part of the business.

"What you need to do is back [diversity training] with visible and
strong leadership from the top and combine it with local action," she
said. "Every manager needs to have individual responsibility and objectives,
as with anything else they deliver."

Tess Finch-Lees, director of global diversity at the Global Effectiveness
Group, said diversity plans need to mainstream good practice into the
performance management process, policies, procedures and practice.

She said businesses then had to be prepared to hold people at all levels to
account.

By Michael Millar

The CRE report findings include:

– All 43 police forces had produced a
race equality scheme

– Only one of the 15 schemes selected for detailed scrutiny
reached CRE minimum standards

– One in three of the 15 forces in the sample did not
adequately monitor employment

– Seven schemes failed at the first hurdle – assessing which
functions and policies were relevant to promoting race equality

– One diversity instructor told officers: "You’ve done the
diversity. That’s a load of b******s. Now let’s get on with the real stuff."

– Many officers expressed concerns about the quality or
commitment of the trainers, the superficial treatment of diversity issues and
the ‘bar and alcohol culture’

– Evidence suggests many trainers were unconfident, uncommitted
or even hostile to ‘diversity’

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