MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Home Office Saga

Perhaps we have a reason explaining why the Home Office is so 'deliberately negligent':
John Reid has embarked on a major transformation of the Home Office, but one of the causes of its failure has been ignored. In 1999 it was set a target to ensure that 25 per cent of its work force in London was from ethnic minorities by 2009. It exceeded the target by the halfway stage in 2004 and ethnic minorities now make up more than 38 per cent of head office. [...]

Mr Reid has blamed Home Office staff for their failures, but the racial quotas were imposed by his Government. Many officials, police officers and others have watched in stunned disbelief while recruitment on merit has been discarded to meet ethnic targets. They quickly learnt that it was best to keep quiet, and staff who spoke up in favour of fair procedures found themselves in hot water for "inappropriate behaviour".

To make it clear that opponents of ethnic targets stood no chance of promotion, a range of "diversity-related assessments" were included in all staff selection processes from March 2005. What does this mean in practice? A 19-year-old female candidate for the police service recently learnt a hard lesson in diversity awareness. She had passed her written tests, and in her interview was asked what she would do if she needed advice. She replied: "I would go to my sergeant and ask him for help." She failed the interview for referring to the sergeant as "him", thus revealing her lack of gender awareness.

Instead of providing diversity training and lowering standards to increase pass rates, the Home Office should recruit solely according to personal ability, regardless of race, creed or colour. It is not only the best guarantee of quality in public services but also the best safeguard for impartial treatment of ethnic minorities.


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