26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Review follows claims of racist comments

Start the conversation

The United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office is conducting a review into “respect and inclusion” amid accusations of racism and unfairness towards staff with disability.

The review, which was launched earlier this year, is understood to have followed concerns about how people of colour (POC) were treated, with examples given of one POC worker being called “boy” in a meeting and the use of the N-word.

Concerns have also been raised about the handing out of bonuses and rewards with the accusation that POC and staff with disability wouldn’t reach the internal scoring threshold to trigger the benefits, and that reasonable adjustments requested by staff with disability had not been met.

A draft presentation separate to the wider review and designed to be shown to all staff set out the “lived experiences of ethnic minority staff in the Cabinet Office today”.

In the slides accompanying the presentation, and seen by journalists, one member of staff said they would not put their photo on internal networks “because I don’t want people to know I’m black before they meet me”.

Another said a member of their team had only appointed white men and when challenged on not appointing a colleague with a Nigerian name said it was because “no-one can pronounce their name” and “I don’t understand them when they speak”.

Another employee said: “Things reached a very low point for me about what is happening in certain parts of the Department when I was told by a colleague that someone had attempted to take their own life because of prolonged racial bullying.”

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said the latest data showed a decline in reported incidents of discrimination and that the purpose of the presentation was to elevate experiences and “help make our workspace more inclusive”.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said the Prime Minister felt racism had no role whatsoever in UK society.

London, 6 December 2021

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.