Government reviews civil service diversity training

Thu 17 Mar 2022

Government reviews civil service diversity training

The UK government has published Inclusive Britain, a new report featuring a strategy to tackle racial inequality. The strategy is set to modify the civil service diversity training and launch new guidance to advise ‘impartiality in language and practice’. 

The Inclusive Britain report, published on Wednesday, builds on recommendations made last year by Tony Sewell, chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch led the report and said the government will also reform training around diversity and inclusion in the civil service and public sector workforce, “embedding what works into management and leadership and putting an end to the proliferation of unproven training materials and products”.

Badenoch noted that the government is also placing much greater emphasis on trusting individuals to use common sense, shared values and rigorous evidence and to encourage diversity of opinion.

The “proliferation of unproven training materials” appears to be a reference to initiatives such as unconscious bias training, which Badenoch has argued does not work and has said should not be used in the civil service unless its impact can be proven.

Badenoch wrote an opinion piece for the Daily Mail to mark the publication of the government’s response to Sewell’s report. In the article, she argues that the answer to ethnic minority disadvantage is not to get civil servants to read books on white privilege or worry about statues in Oxford colleges but "to get ministers to run public services, like education and housing, which are responsive to the root causes of disadvantage".

She noted: “We certainly won’t achieve greater equality if we fall for the narrative that this country and its institutions are fundamentally racist, that the lack of opportunity experienced by people from ethnic minorities is all due to racial prejudice and we won’t achieve equality until we decolonise this, tear down that and put our entire history and every person of ‘privilege’ in the dock for crimes of commission and omission."

The Inclusive Britain report sets out more than 70 racial inequality reform actions, including several actions tasked to the Race Disparity Unit to improve the work done by government departments.

The RDU will consult on new standards for government departments and other public bodies on how to record, understand and communicate ethnicity data, to make reporting on race and ethnicity more responsible and accurate.

It will also lead a new, cross-government analytical work programme to identify issues that immigrants face in the UK and understand the lessons the government has learned about policymaking in this area.

The unit will also look into online misinformation and provide data and policy recommendations to strengthen the government’s understanding and ability to tackle online abuse.

One of the actions recommended by Sewell’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, creating a new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, has already been completed, with the OHID set up in October.

The upcoming event D&I for Line Managers on 10 May is designed to provide attendees with the understanding, tools and guidance needed to realise their role in supporting diversity and embedding inclusive management practices within their organisation. Attendees will receive the practical skills and insight needed to empower their team to thrive.

Find out more & register to attend




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