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.

Simon Woolley

Archived Comments

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Thisis institutional racism, shame on you!

This is institutional racism and blatantly so. This is a shocking revelation. Sir Gus O'Donnell was the Head of the Civil Service from 2005 to end of 2011. . He has been mooted as the possible candidate to be the next Governor of the Bank of England.

Well, as an economist, Sir Gus should be able to come up with a good theory as to how this 0% came about under his stewardship.

Fast track civil service: Black people not welcome

It is always 'good' to the black community to be informed and advised about such matters. However, I assume for the majority of us it is never really a surprise. Even if we are accepted into fields other than the obvious which is mainly sport and music then we are constantly having to prove our worth just because black just happens to be one of the colours we humans come in! Racism is fed into people, we are not born with it and until ignorance of other races stops completely then these type of findings will continue. Racists can remain festering from within by living with such ignorance, we on the other hand are getting on with our lives as best we can.