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Top civil service union calls for public inquiry into Cabinet Office racism concerns

Top civil service union calls for public inquiry into Cabinet Office racism concerns
Eksklusiv: The call follows reports about the issue published byThe Independent.

A leading trade union has called on the government to launch an inquiry into racism and bullying in the Cabinet Office following a slew of complaints, Den uavhengige kan avsløre.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has written to Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), which is responsible for examining standards across the civil service, asking for a select committee to examine what it says are longstanding issues of discrimination within the department at the centre of government.

The letter, sett av Den uavhengige, sets out a list of evidence in the union’s possession to be taken into consideration.

It references over 80 members who have formally complained about being racially bullied or profiled, an increasing number of grievances, the number of Employment Tribunals in progress and concluded in favour with the employees and articles published by Den uavhengige.

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary, skrev: “We hope that the committee will be interested in investigating racism within the Cabinet Office, to reviewing how the department has dealt with discrimination, its handling of the review and of course whether at all times the department has complied with all aspects of the Civil Service Code in relation to being open and honest in its dealings with staff and unions.

“Of course the committee can use its powers to force the Cabinet Office to reveal the true extent of discrimination within the department (clearly what the union knows is limited to the knowledge of members and we suspect there is more discrimination than we are aware of).”

The call comes after Den uavhengige revealed concerns about systemic problems within the Cabinet Office from a top civil servant.

Kay Badu, a Black civil servant who worked within the Government Digital Service, was handed a six-figure payout over allegations he faced racial discrimination in Whitehall. Despite the payout, the Cabinet Office did not admit liability and did not accept a number of the claims made.

Former deputy cabinet secretary Dame Helen Macnamara, who recently left the organisation, warned of a “systemic” problem with race in the department towards the end of her tenure.


Politicians and campaigners including the Labour Party, Green Party, Stand Up To Racism and Black Lives Matter have also called for ministers to carry out an investigation into the department’s approach to racism.

Another former civil servant, Olivea Ebanks, received a six-figure settlement from the Ministry of Justice following three race discrimination tribunal claims within 20 år, Den uavhengige avslørt.

I mars, de PCS withdrew from a government review into racism in the Cabinet Office after branding it a “whitewash”.

Working members of the union voted to stepped away from the department’s Respect and Inclusion Review, accusing managers of presiding over a “paper exercise” and showing no real desire to tackle discrimination.

According to the Cabinet Office’s own survey of staff in January, the department has the joint highest number of incidents of bullying and harassment in Whitehall.

Recent statistics published by the Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank in its annual Whitehall Monitor revealed that the civil service is failing on diversity from top to bottom of the organisation.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The Cabinet Office does not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination in any form.

“Our latest data shows reported incidents are lower than in 2019, with a large increase in the number of people who believe appropriate action was taken, but we know there is more work to be done.

“This is why last year we commissioned an independent Respect and Inclusion review in the department. Recommendations will build on the actions we have already taken and will help ensure we are a supportive, fully inclusive and welcoming place to work.”

PACAC has been approached for comment.