• Home /
  • Blog / Not just White-hall: creating a One Nation Civil service

Not just White-hall: creating a One Nation Civil service

Trevor Phillips’ recent report worryingly pointed out that there are just 10 people from ethnic minority backgrounds among the 289 Chairman, Chief Executives and Chief Finance Officers of FTSE 100 companies.

We should and we must challenge the private sector to do better, as the Government are doing with regard to women on boards. And just as with drives to increase the representation of women in positions of responsibility, I believe that the public sector needs to set an example to the private sector.

But just as with increasing the representation of women in positions of responsibility, this Government are failing to get their own house in order when it comes to harnessing the talents of those from BAME backgrounds, and in many cases are wiping out years of progress made by the last Labour government.

Over the 3 years before the election, Labour increased ethnic minority representation within the civil service by 11%, but since 2010 this progress has been all but cancelled out, and the proportion of ethnic minority staff working at the most senior level – which includes directors and permanent secretaries – has fallen.

Even in London, which has a BAME population of some 40%, just 6% of those in the top jobs share those backgrounds, despite the fact that ethnic minorities are over-represented in entry level and intermediate positions.

This simply isn’t good enough.

We need a culture change in our civil service, away from the stuffy elitism of the past, and towards a modern, meritocratic service which attracts and promotes the best and the brightest, regardless of their background, their skin colour or their old school tie; a service which looks and thinks like the country it serves.

We can’t change that culture instantly, but we can take significant steps to achieve the critical mass required to achieve change from within.

To that end, our Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Michael Dugher set out last week how a One Nation Labour Government will ensure that the Civil Service Fast Stream, which selects outstanding candidates for rapid promotion through the ranks, will be required to ensure that its annual intake comprises at least 18% of successful candidates from BAME backgrounds.

We’ll also expand internship opportunities, successful completion of which will improve the young person’s chances of getting on to the Fast Stream.

These actions alone will mean that hundreds more able people from BAME backgrounds will be in positions of power and influence in the civil service by the end of the next Parliament.

This isn’t about tokenism. We make these arguments because we know that our public institutions – just like our businesses - work better and are more responsive if they reflect and embrace the talents of the communities and the country that they serve.

Of course, it’s only a start, and there’s a great deal more a future Labour government will need to do to shatter the glass ceilings which remain in the workplace, and particularly to open up the professions and well paid jobs to those from non-white, non-privileged backgrounds.

These issues – and many more - are at the heart of Labour’s consultation on a new One Nation Race Equality Strategy, and I hope everyone reading this will contribute their views to this important process, and help shape Labour’s policies in this area ahead of next year’s election.

But it’s an important start nonetheless, and one which demonstrates that only a One Nation Labour Government can and will deliver the changes we need to see to make our society a much fairer and more prosperous one for everyone – not just those at the top.

Sharon Hodgson MP is Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, and represents the constituency of Washington and Sunderland West.

Do you like this post?

Reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
commented 2015-05-01 14:42:38 +0100
A STORY OF RACISM AND BLACK SANITY

My story
I was on “Jobseekers Allowance” a Government benefit.
I identified myself as a Black, Male, IC3, B9, BEUR, according to the official Race and Ethnicity classification codes as used by the Police and Civil Services.
I told them that I was a victim of Racism.
I was sanctioned because “a doubt had arisen” on my claim to Jobseekers Allowance.
I was accused of not actively seeking work because I refused to send my CV to any organisation that was unable to show me that it had successful Race Relations and that the organisation was not Racist.
I told the Jobcentre that I had been actively seeking work by making inquiries about Race Relations in potential employer organisations before sending them my CV.
As a result of Jobcentre sanctions I was no longer entitled to Housing Benefit.
Payments on my flat went into arrears.
I was ordered to appear in Court to explain my circumstances.
In Court I identified myself as a Black, Male, IC3, B9, BEUR, according to the official Race and Ethnicity classification codes as used by the Police and Civil Services.
I told the Court that I was a victim of Racism.
I refused to proceed with the Court case until the Judge had identified herself as I had done.
The Judge said that she was a “White Woman” and that she was not a Racist.
I asked the Judge how it was possible to classify herself as “White” and not be a Racist.
The Judge said that I needed to see the Mental Health Services.
The NHS Mental Health Services suggested that I might be sick and that I should change my claim to Employment Support Allowance.
My Jobseekers Allowance was reinstated which proves beyond doubt that I was “actively seeking work”.
The housing department refused to pay Housing Benefit because the Mental Health Services were now responsible for me.
I was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
I identified myself as a Black, Male, IC3, B9, BEUR, according to the official Race and Ethnicity classification codes as used by the Police and Civil Services.
I refused to proceed with my case until the Doctor had identified himself as I had done.
The Doctor said that he was a “White Man” and that he was not a Racist.
I asked the Doctor how it was possible to classify himself as “White” and not be a Racist.
The Doctor decided that I had a “Delusional Disorder” which was a “pre-occupation with Racism” and that I was a danger to myself in that I caused others to react to me in a dangerous way.
I was forced to take medication.
I am now on Employment Support Allowance.
I now employ my time making enquiries into the impact of White Supremacy, which is Racism, on non-white people.
I now employ my time to raise awareness of the official Race and Ethnicity classifications as used by the Police and Civil Services.
I identify myself as a Black, Male, IC3, B9, BEUR, according to the official Race and Ethnicity classification codes as used by the Police and Civil Services.
I am a victim of Racism.
_____________________

I told the Doctor, who chose to classify himself as White, that I had been told that I had made requests for information that were deemed to be a problem and called Vexatious requests.
Under section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, public authorities have refused to answer my questions.
I also told the Doctor, who chose to classify himself as White, that sometimes I had been told by public authorities that only my questions and not me have been Vexatious.
The Doctor, who chose to classify himself as White, said that the question and the questioner will be treated as one in my case.


What can labour do for non-white people like me?
commented 2015-01-10 14:03:31 +0000
Dear Sharon

I agree with many of your points, but what is our party’s own current performance on the representation at of BAME groups at senior levels of our party governance-wise and staffing-wise?

Could you please update all on the steps being taken by the party to

Increase the levels of numbers of BAME candidates in Parliament and the GLA

Increase the levels of numbers of BAME staff at senior levels across the UK, starting with with regions which have a substantial BAME populations, namely London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow?

I am sure the latter is a question for Jim Murphy?

Ozzie Uzoanya,
Enfield North CLP
commented 2015-01-10 14:03:29 +0000
Dear Sharon

I agree with many of your points, but what is our party’s own current performance on the representation at of BAME groups at senior levels of our party governance-wise and staffing-wise?

Could you please update all on the steps being taken by the party to

Increase the levels of numbers of BAME candidates in Parliament and the GLA

Increase the levels of numbers of BAME staff at senior levels across the UK, starting with with regions which have a substantial BAME populations, namely London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow?

I am sure the latter is a question for Jim Murphy?

Ozzie Uzoanya,
Enfield North CLP
commented 2014-12-15 14:43:05 +0000
One nation agenda is a remarkable idea commensurate with Labour’s aspirations for 21st Century Britain. I couldn’t agree more on Tories’ negation of Labour progress made towards race and gender equality. Boris Johnson has also clawed back to pre-Ken Livingstone’s time in this regard.

As much as you are keen on working towards BAME representation across the hierarchy of civil service; I suggest you to also look into GLA family – organisations such as Transport for London and subsidiary companies such as Crossrail Limited across the hierarchy of their workforce (not just at entry levels). BAME representation at mid to senior managerial levels in the public sector organisations noted above is lower than that you might find in some private sector investment banks in Canary Wharf. The reason is simple; the investment banks look out for meritocracy so they can maximise their profits. Unfortunately the covert criteria BAME employees face in the GLA family particularly when it comes to career progression and leadership roles is the one we are all fighting to eradicate from society. It is extremely important to bring back these public sector organisations into the values they are meant to practice and enable them to set example for other public and private sector organisations up and down the country to embrace race and gender equality in letter and in spirit.

Best way forward would be to find the current BAME representation and gender inequality in GLA family across departments/directorates. It will also be crucial to seek the ethnic and gender mix of their head offices and the site/branch offices separately as well as jointly because generalised data can often be misleading. Once the BAME and gender inequality are thoroughly established, we will know the quantum of work needed towards BAME and gender equality in relation to GLA family over the next parliament and the next London assembly.

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.