Whitehall departments are close to being subjected to enforcement action for failure to deliver on legal duties to ensure racial equality, according to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
Under the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000), central government departments are required to assess new policies and legislation for their impact on race equality.
After an investigation, the CRE - which can enforce compliance of the Act - found that 15 Whitehall departments had failed in their duty to put race equality at the heart of their service delivery.
Nick Johnson, CRE director of policy and public sector, said race equality should not be treated as an add-on, but put into the mainstream of all policies.
"The consequences of ignoring it can be dramatic - whole communities faced with unmanaged discrimination," he said. "Who would believe that health, education and business policies, for example, would not have an impact on race?"
Johnson said if the law wasn't properly applied it would lead to money being wasted in the interest of political correctness.
"Whitehall may want to do the right thing, but because it hasn't bothered to do its homework and identify where services are needed most, good intentions become money poorly spent that perpetuates racial inequality," he said.