HR director of CPS to report to race commission

The
HR director at the Crown Prosecution Service has been told to report
twice-yearly to the Commission for Racial Equality in an effort to stamp out
racism at the service.

A
planned formal investigation has been dropped because the CRE said believes the
CPS has made "clear progress" in changing its culture, after being
deemed institutionally racist last year.

Now
the service will report every six months to the CRE about the progress it is
making in eliminating racism.

The
reports must include evidence of a robust recruitment, selection and promotion
policies and the bi-annual staff survey results.                                                                                        

Next
month, the CPS is to launch a new complaints procedure, including an informal
complaints system – with staff trained as advisers and mediators. External
investigators will also be employed to investigate formal complaints.

Rohan
Collier, head of equality and diversity at the CPS, believes that tackling
problems informally will improve race relations at the service.                                                                                 

"Because
we did not have an informal system, staff – particularly black staff – did not
trust managers and expected ‘a management stitch up’, a lot of complaints went
to employment tribunal," she said.

The
organisation has a target of 18 per cent ethnic minority representation at
senior level by 2005 and will benchmark its progress against other civil
service institutions.                                                            

Angela
O’Connor, HR director at the CPS, will meet CRE investigators "at the very
least, twice a year" to report the success of HR’s policies and practices.

O’Connor
has warned the organisation it must maintain its good progress.

"We
must continue to look at our monitoring and not be complacent. We must carry on
auditing our policies and make sure they are implemented properly. The process
is on-going and there is a lot more work to do," she said.

By Paul Nelson

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