Greater Manchester’s public sector employers will be the first in the country to work together to tackle race inequality in the workplace, after leaders signed a collective commitment.
Signatories include NHS organisations, Greater Manchester local authorities, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Greater Manchester Police.
For decades, research has shown that staff from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds experience discrimination, harassment, and exclusion in the workplace in the UK.
Discrimination is not only harmful to the individual, but also to the wider public sector. Evidence shows that having a more representative workforce, and diversity at senior leadership levels results in better outcomes for the public. It creates a more inclusive, engaged and efficient workforce.
Public sector organisations currently have their own ways of approaching race inequality in the workplace, but this historic commitment means that for the first time the NHS, local authorities, police and fire service will be working together to take action.
Together, Greater Manchester’s public services will build on existing work to improve diversity from the boardroom to the frontline, to tackle bullying and harassment experienced by BME staff and ultimately improve the services our public services provide.
With this commitment in place, a draft action plan will be developed in partnership with staff, trade unions and BME staff groups before being launched in the autumn. As well as bringing together data to provide a clearer picture of the experiences of BME staff within different public sector organisations, the plan will also map out positive action to be taken to address race inequality.
Sir David Dalton, Group Chief Executive of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (comprising Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Hospital NHS Trusts) and a Chief Executive lead for the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard said: “I am extremely proud that Greater Manchester has made this commitment to be the first in the country to take a coordinated approach to tackling race inequality in the workplace. For years, organisations have done their own work on this and made some good progress, but we haven’t got it right. By coming together we can really make a difference to make sure everyone feels welcome in our public services and given the same opportunities to get on.”
“This won’t happen overnight. It will take time to change the culture and processes that have been embedded for decades. But this commitment sends a strong message that enough is enough.
“As a region we should all be proud of the diversity of Greater Manchester, but disappointed that the experience of staff from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in the workplace is getting worse, not better. I’m glad our public services have called time on this and begun the journey to taking real action, across the board.”
Dr Carolyn Wilkins OBE, Chief Executive of Oldham Council said: “This is a historic day for the region. This collective commitment to improving race inequality in the workplace will help begin to change our public services for the better for everyone. Experience tells us that when we have diversity we provide better services, our staff are happier and the public get the service they deserve.
“I welcome this commitment and look forward to supporting the delivery of the action plan later in the year.”