All local authorities and public bodies should introduce recruitment and promotion targets for ethnic minorities, Gurbux Singh, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality said last week.
In an exclusive interview with Personnel Today, he said targets set for the civil service, police, fire, probation and immigration should be replicated throughout local government and public sector bodies, such as the NHS.
This would be a major extension of existing ethnic minority representation policies, but Singh said setting targets is only the first step.
“The test is the extent to which they will be effective. My concern is to see a shift away from rhetoric to actual delivery which is far more difficult,” he said.
Singh congratulated the Metropolitan Police for progress at policy level, but said the jury was still out on whether racism was being combated on the ground.
Most other forces are making little progress against the targets he said, with analysis showing that recruitment of ethnic minorities has gone down, although 15 months might not be enough to make a difference. Singh wants the CRE to give more practical help to employers to improve racial equality at work.
• Next week’s Personnel Today will carry an interview with the new CRE chairman.