Analysis by Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, has shown a worryingly low proportion of people from BAME backgrounds in the top 25 per cent of jobs in important public sector employers across Bradford.
The data was obtained by Mr Hussain through Freedom of Information Act requests and shows that despite the fact that 1 in 3 people across the Bradford District are from a BAME background according to the 2011 census, this proportionate representation is not achieved in top roles in the District’s key public institutions.
As a result of these key public institutions, including Bradford Council, the local NHS Trust and Clinical Commissioning Groups, the University of Bradford and Bradford College, not having a proportionate number of BAME employees in key decision making roles, Mr Hussain has warned that not only are they not taking seriously their commitment to equality, but that they are missing out on the lived experiences and knowledge of BAME staff, which will lead to poor decision making in these organisations.
In response to the findings, Mr Hussain has urged these public sector institutions to draw up five and ten-year plans on how they can reduce the bias and barriers faced by BAME staff in their organisations, and how they can do more to attract more BAME staff for top jobs for vacancies when they arise.
The McGregor-Smith Review, commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to look into BAME representation in the workplace across the country found that there is “discrimination and bias at every stage of an individual’s career” and that those from a BAME background “are faced with a distinct lack of role models” that means they are less likely to apply for and be given promotions.
Speaking on the underrepresentation of those from a BAME background in top jobs across Bradford, Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East said:
“Whilst we like to pride ourselves on our diversity and inclusion across Bradford, this data sadly shows that there is still an institutionalised bias that is holding back BAME people from reaching positions of seniority in key public sector institutions. This bias and underrepresentation are damaging and need to be addressed, and there can be no excuses for delay any longer.
“Equality and the reasonable expectation that our public sector institutions properly reflect the people that they serve is at the heart of this issue, but it’s also about having people in key, senior positions who have the lived experience, knowledge and understanding to make the right decisions to properly represent our communities.
“Many people will try to deflect from these concerns by trying to tell us that it’s about having the right person for the job in these roles, but if that’s the case, then we must ask why a Black, Asian or another Ethnic Minority man or woman is so rarely the right person for the job. Those form BAME backgrounds are just as capable and talented as anyone else, and we need to stop listening to excuses grounded in casual racism.
“We need a real, lasting change in the way we run our institutions so they are representative of the people they serve, and I will be meeting with leaders from these institutions to discuss their five and ten-year plans for attracting and growing BAME talent, not to ask for special treatment, but for the removal of the barriers and bias that have unfairly held so many back from senior positions.”
Asian Sunday has asked for comment from the organisations