HR shake-up as legal service is found racist

The Crown Prosecution Service is set to radically overhaul its HR operations
after an 18-month inquiry revealed that it is institutionally racist.

Race Discrimination in the Crown Prosecution Service – Final Report,
commissioned by the service, claims there are barriers to ethnic minority
recruitment and promotion due to poor management training. It calls for the
service to take equal opportunities much more seriously.

The CPS has a central HR and finance service centre for each of its 10
operational areas, but they do not have dedicated equal opportunities staff.

The inquiry has demanded that each area has its own full-time equal
opportunities officer.

Dr Rohan Collier, head of equality and diversity at the CPS, told Personnel
Today exclusively that the CPS needs a "complete culture change" and
will implement all of the report’s recommendations.

She said, "The CPS service centres have never had a full-time equal
opportunities officer. There has always been a member of staff to look after
equality but it was always a junior member of staff and [equal opportunities]
was only part of their duties.

"The report recommendations mean that we will be able to recruit
officers with the experience and ability to drive through the culture

The report, written by anti-discrimination lawyer Sylvia Denman, also
advises that recruitment and promotion should be based on objective criteria.
Assessment centres and positive action programmes, it suggests, should be used
to increase ethnic minority representation.

"Diversity targets will be drawn up for each area as this is the simple
way to hold every area accountable," said Collier.

A steering group – including the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) – has
been set up to monitor the implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations.

A CRE report, also released last week, claimed that work teams in CPS’s
Croydon office were segregated along racial lines and were in breach of the
Race Relations (Amendment) Act.

By Paul Nelson


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