26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Overhaul of ‘unproven’ diversity training

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The United Kingdom Government is to overhaul diversity and inclusion guidance for the Public Service as part of a new strategy to tackle racial inequality.

It has launched the Inclusive Britain report, responding to recommendations from Chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, Tony Sewell made last year.

Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch said the new guidance would include “clear advice on impartiality in language and practice”.

She said training around diversity and inclusion would be reformed “embedding what works into management and leadership, and putting an end to the proliferation of unproven training materials and products”.

The “proliferation of unproven training materials” appears to be a reference to initiatives such as unconscious bias training, which Ms Badenoch (pictured) has argued does not work and should not be used in the Public Service unless its impact could be proven.

To mark the publication of the Government’s response, Ms Badenoch wrote an opinion piece for a national newspaper in which she argued 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”.

“It is to get Ministers to run public services, like education and housing, which are responsive to the root causes of disadvantage,” Ms Badenoch wrote.

“We certainly won’t achieve greater equality if we fall for the narrative that this country and its institutions are fundamentally racist [and] lack of opportunity experienced by people from ethnic minorities is all due to racial prejudice,” she wrote.

London, 19 March 2022

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