Racial equality success for Brent Council

Brent
Council has agreed that it no longer needs to be monitored by the Commission
for Racial Equality (CRE), thanks to significant progress on race equality.

The
decision was endorsed at a meeting of the full council this week.

A
voluntary agreement with the CRE was made in 2000 in response to the high
number of employment tribunal cases that were lodged on the grounds of racial
discrimination in the 1990s.

The
arrangement was originally envisaged to continue for five years. But it has
successfully achieved all it set out to do well ahead of schedule.

In
2000, the council had a poor record on defending cases of racial discrimination
at employment tribunals. Many of these claims arose from actions in the
mid-1990s, when the council did not have effective structures in place to deal
with staff grievances in a consistent way.

The
council has since overhauled many of its practices and procedures on this front
and the position has been completely reversed, with the number of race claims
falling steadily year on year.

Council
leader Ann John said: "I am delighted that the council has made such
excellent progress on race equality in the past few years. The partnership with
the CRE has been very productive, and it is great news that we are able to end
the arrangement sooner than originally anticipated. It is something that both
parties should be proud of.

"Brent
Council is the only local authority with an ethnic majority workforce serving
an ethnic majority population. We are as committed as ever to equality of
opportunity for all Brent’s residents and the council’s staff, and we will
continue to work with the CRE and other bodies to ensure that equality remains
high on our agenda."

By Quentin Reade

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