Apr 08 2014

ILG on Racism Investigation: “Good intentions are not enough!”

ilg_rosePress release from Harrow’s Independent Labour Group:

We are disappointed that in spite of taking the brave step of establishing an enquiry, Cllr Susan Hall was unable to ensure that the appointment was above board, transparent and credible. We are very disappointed that our concerns about flawed appointment were not addressed.

The Leader of Harrow Council, Cllr Susan Hall, said that the authority will launch an independent investigation in October 2013, but for five months the Council did nothing.

At Cabinet on 15h January 2014, Cllr Hall said “To be honest, the fact that it’s done properly is far more important in my view than how long it takes.” Valued professional opinion on acceptable process was : “A decision as to whether an organisation is institutionally racist cannot be achieved on the basis of the interviewing of complainants alone or, for that matter, a number of senior/key individuals in the organisation. Minimally, it calls for many interviews at all levels and, at the very least, a structured survey of opinions which, in turn, would need to be analysed in relation to (a) the recent history of the organisation as a whole; (b) its main policy statements on racial equality/racism; (c) the local political context in which it operates; and (d) the nationally declared objectives of the State, as enshrined in legislation and reflected in what constitutes ‘best practice’ in the area. For it to have any value at all – other than tokenistic – such a review would take 3-6 months to complete.”

Independent Labour Group asked that the professional selected should have:

  • a significant track record of undertaking high level investigations at local and national levels in the area of Race Equality and Institutional Racism in complex organisations in particular Local Councils
  • a track record of producing written inquiry reports after a complex investigation of racism
  • demonstrable evidence of experience of working in local authorities at the most senior level – particularly working with, influencing and investigating Members and Senior Officers
  • a person or team with a tool kit of institutional race equality/ race relations best practice from a wide range of other organisations – private, public (local and national) and the Third Sector
  • evidence of helping large complex organisations transform themselves and improve race equality and relations – with tangible outcomes.

We are disappointed that the candidate skills closest to the requirements above was not selected and that a flawed appointment took place where proposals submitted were not all formally assessed by a competent panel. Perverting an appointment process in this manner is at best bad practice and at worst corruption of process. In the circumstances, the Independent Labour Group which has been defined by its willingness to defend the Constitution and Rule of Law, cannot take part in the investigation which is flawed and cannot lead to any helpful outcome.

We ask that in the interests of the Council, the complaints of Institutional Racism should be properly investigated by selecting the most qualified professional to do the job properly and in a realistic and proper timescale.

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1 comment

  1. Concerned Harrovian

    I do not understand what the complaint is about the candidate who is to head the enquiry. Are they saying they want an appointee who will come up with the result ILG want rather than an independent chairman?

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