CPS devolves diversity to tackle institutional racism

The Crown Prosecution Service is to devolve diversity responsibility from HR
to managers in a bid to promote the role of ethnic minorities.

The move is in response to the Denman report, published last July, which revealed
that the CPS was institutionally racist.

The 18-month enquiry claimed that there was a barrier to ethnic recruitment
and promotion due to poor management training. In response the service has
emb-arked on a radical overhaul of the HR function in order to meet the
report’s recommendations.

Indi Seehra, director of HR at the CPS said the organisation has axed
HR-based equality officers and instead is to give the powers to 12 senior and
middle managers – based in the 10 operational areas and the London and
Yorkshire headquarters.

Seehra believes the move will ensure diversity issues are at the heart of
the organisation.

He said: "This way the organisation and individuals are being empowered
to question HR policies and practices. We have got rid of traditional equal
opportunities positions as it is our belief that if individuals have an issue
with diversity they will come to personnel.

"There is no need to label a particular role as ‘equal opportunities’
within HR as it already has that background."

Race relations training is to be overhauled so all courses cover diversity
issues rather than the current practice of having specific diversity training
modules.

Other initiatives include the use of external diversity investigators, an
informal complaints procedure, internal mediation and the creation of a
national ethnic minority managers’ network.

Seehra said: "As an organisation we now recognise and understand
institutional racism."

By Paul Nelson

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