Fast track civil service: Black people not welcome
The multicultural 'Team GB' Olympic euphoria is over: Welcome to Team GB race inequality.
When it comes to the mechanism that seeks to nurture the next generation of senior civil servants, the Olympic mantra, 'Inspire a generation' seems a million miles away for Black Britons.
Nearly 1000 individuals who described themselves as either African, Caribbean or mixed heritage, applied to its prestigious 'fast track' scheme in 2010, but not one was recommended. Yes, the competition for this much sought-after scheme was fierce -21,000 people applied, but are we really saying that out of 1000 applicants, not one had the potential to make the grade? To many the entry to senior civil service, much like the entry into the elite academic institutions such as Oxbridge seems off limits to People of African and Caribbean background.
There are many aspects that are worrying about this appalling development: The vast numbers of Black people who applied demonstrates an aspiration to develop, improve and above all publically serve at the highest level. The zero African and Caribbean intake is a collective slap in face. 'Aspire all you want, you're not welcome.' All this at a time when very rare Black senior civil servants such as Joe Montgomery have left.
For many of us who grew up in the late sixties and seventies these findings represent a frightening deja vu, namely: 'when it comes to sports; football, running, boxing you're our men and women. Drape yourselves in the Union flag and you're part of our rich cultural tapestry. But when it comes to the serious business of running the country and becoming the captains of industry...don't even think about it.'
OBV will write a letter to the head of the Civil service Sir Bob Kerslake asking for an explanation how this could occur in these modern times, and how he can rectify it. We will also be asking Black MP's and others to ask parliamentary questions once MP's return from their summer break.
Sadly, for some time now, institutional dynamics still penalise race, particularly with certain racial groups - of 290 Bangladeshis who also applied but none were recommended - the situation is getting worse not better.
OBV and others have been calling on the Government to stop ignoring persistent race inequality and begin a comprehensive action plan to unlock talent which will undoubtedly serve all of society.