CRE slams Whitehall for failing on race equality

The Commission for Racial Equality is taking legal action against 15 government departments for their failure to comply with race equality legislation.

The Department of Health, the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Office were among those named and shamed in a CRE survey published today.

The survey of public sector organisations’ race relations performance also found 30 out of a sample of 47 local authorities were also non-compliant. District councils, which made up almost half of the failing authorities, were “very noticably poorer” than the others.

The CRE also said it was “deeply unhappy” with the lack of progress made by the prison service since the racist murder of Zahid Mubarek at Feltham young offender institution in 2000.

The report said public authorities had had more than five years to arrange to cover all aspects of the race relations duty, and there were “no excuses” for continued non-compliance.

A CRE investigation into the DH’s failure to carry out race equality impact assessments is due to be published before the commission closes later this month.

Last August, the CRE said the DH has “probably the worst” race equality record in Whitehall despite well-documented racial inequalities in health and social care services. The CRE criticised the DH for failing in its duty to assess the Mental Health Bill’s impact on black and ethnic minorities.

The CRE’s final report on race relations in Britain published today argues that racial segregation is growing and leading to inequalities in health, housing, education and income for ethnic minorities.

On 1 October, the CRE will be replaced by the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

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