An elephant in the room: An equality and diversity training manual

 An elephant in the room: An equality and diversity training manual
 Blair McPherson
 Russell House Publishing
 ISBN 978-1-905541-16-4
 £22.95 plus £1.50 delivery

 Star rating: 2/5

McPherson helps to make difficult issues around discrimination something that we can all relate to. The book is well set out, with clear instructions on how to use the manual. The references to the websites are helpful, although several are already obsolete now the Equality and Human Rights Commission is operational.

There was too much emphasis on “race” (classified along colour lines), given that this is a training manual for equality and diversity. Also, this was very much geared towards managing a diverse workforce, with little mention of the situation found in rural areas, where “race” along colour lines may not be such an issue.

Whether this classifies as a training manual I am not sure. A lot of concepts are introduced – such as “coaching”, “leadership skills”, “360-degree feedback” – that deserved further explanation in the context of putting diversity into practice. The focus is very much human resources, and assumes a level of knowledge that some practitioners may well baulk at.

The suggested two-day programme for managers and the contents generally do not add up to a training manual. The suggestion that material can be photocopied for workshops made no mention of the need for adaptation for people with learning disabilities nor larger font size for visually impaired people.

As an internal document for staff within Lancashire Council where the author is director of community services, this is an excellent and timely piece of work. But as a training manual it falls short in its aims.

Kishor Patel is a specialist equality and diversity consultant and trainer and has been in the field for over 20 years.
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