The government project that recommended setting up a new diversity association may have been a “waste of money”, leading practitioners have warned.
In December 2007 the Learning and Skills Council published the final results of its two-year study on industry standards and career paths for diversity practitioners.
In revealed that 80% of 1,500 equality and diversity experts had told the LSC they would like a new body, leading the government agency to launch a 96-page business case on how this could be funded and implemented.
The project cost £230,000, but nearly four months since the LSC’s final report, not one organisation has stepped forward publicly to set up a new body.
The Employers Forum on Age said that unless a new body was actually set up, or a tangible outcome had been achieved from the report the programme money would have been wasted.
Director Rachel Krys told Personnel Today: “Let’s hope we can find an achievable outcome from [the LSC] report. If it stops there, it would feel like a lot of money spent – a waste of money and a crying shame.”
Krys added: “The diversity environment has changed in [the past] two years. The money would have been better spent doing less research, and more working out what networks are already there and forming a coalition between them.”
CIPD diversity adviser Dianah Worman said: “A new diversity body would marginalise the issue. I am not totally surprised this project appears to be falling by the wayside.”
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission, established last April to promote equality, also warned it had no remit to establish or regulate a new diversity body, despite its chairman, and UK diversity tsar, Trevor Phillips original giving the concept his firm backing.
But an LSC spokeswoman said its final report could be “used by anyone” to set up a new body.
“Any other future developments will be determined by the interested consultancy or any other organisation that decides to develop this framework further.”
The spokeswoman added: “The foundations are in place and sufficient interest and willingness has been generated for another group or organisation to take responsibility for creating an association in the future.”
An association management consultancy, Kingston Smith, working on behalf of the LSC, has written to “interested parties” including the government and individual chambers of commerce asking if they would like to participate in setting up a steering group to take the business case to the next stage, and help create a new body.
Earlier this week Personnel Today revealed the LSC will close down by 2010.