Inquiry into racism to help council’s drive for equality

A report revealing racial discrimination Lambeth Council in London
highlights the progressive nature of the local authority, according to the
council’s head of diversity.

An eight-month independent inquiry into the Lambeth Community Alarms Service
(LCAS), which provided a 24-hour alarm monitoring service, found there was a
"social cyclone" with "racism in all its forms and
manifestations" being the root cause.

However, the inquiry was actually commissioned by Lambeth Council itself and
produced a raft of 27 recommendations, which has enabled the south London
authority to focus its drive towards equality and augment its
anti-discrimination processes.

Carole Litchmore, head of diversity at Lambeth, said the inquiry has helped
to ensure the council feels light years away from where it was with regards to

"Lambeth is like a kitchen," she said. "LCAS gave us food
poisoning but now the kitchen is shining and the quality is coming

The inquiry urged the retraining of managers in equality and diversity, and
the council has already completed the first level of this training for all
middle managers.

"The issue of equality now belongs to managers and not just to specialists,"
Litchmore said.

The authority is now planning the next level of training, which will use
case studies to give managers examples of best practice, and an ambitious
three-year project to train all 5,000 council staff in diversity and equality.

The council has also created a staff panel designed to look into HR
anomalies and discrepancies, and is looking at proposals to develop discussion
groups, which include up to 500 members of staff in talks about the
implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations.

By October, the council also aims to have produced a strategy document that
sets out its equality plans for the next three years.

By Michael Millar

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