Brent Council to overhaul equality policies after black worker wins racial discrimination case

Cllr Michael Pavey

Cllr Michael Pavey - Credit: Archant

Black and minority ethnic (BAME) employees at Brent Council were less likely to be promoted even though they participated in more training than their white counterparts, a report has revealed.

The discovery was made during a review into the town hall’s equality and human resources policies after an employment tribunal ruled Rosemary Clarke, a black worker, had been victimised and racially discriminated against.

The report compiled by Cllr Michael Pavey, deputy leader of Brent Council, also stated that the council must recognised there is a real challenge in ensuring that people from BAME backgrounds are represented within the senior management team.

A list of recommendations to be implemented were made including developing talent within the council to ensure progression opportunities, implementing a mentoring system to nurture the talent of underrepresented groups and introducing compulsory ‘unconscious bias’ training for all managers and recruiters.

According to Cllr Pavey’s findings, Brent has the highest number of BAME workers and the proportion of them being classed as top earners is in the top quartile of London boroughs.

Last September, the council were slammed by Watford Employment Tribunal for the treatment endured by Ms Clarke from her line manager, HR director Cara Davani.

The tribunal heard Ms Clarke was forced to resign as the council’s head of learning and development because of the ordeal she suffered at Ms Davani’s hands.

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A request by the council to appeal the decision was thrown out by the tribunal in December last year, paving the way for Ms Clarke to claim thousands of pounds in compensation from the council.

Cllr Pavey said: “This review recommends changes which aim to systematically embed best practice across the council, to ensure that treating one another with dignity and respect is at the very heart of everything we do.”

“We want to encourage, develop and support our best talent from underrepresented groups. But at the same time we want to grapple with the uncomfortable truths around unconscious bias.

“We want to maximise opportunities for all Brent Council staff to rise within the organisation, regardless of background and a detailed implementation will now be drawn up to ensure the recommendations in the review are implemented.”

Brent Council have refused to disclose if any disciplinary action would be taken against Ms Devani.

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