“There are issues that need to be confronted but I think it’s a positive that we have the ability to have that self reflection and make the necessary changes”- were the words of Havering’s Leader of the Council Councillor Damian White following the result of the Local Government’s Race Equality,Accessibility, Diversity and inclusion review.
It was in fact Councillor White who asked to have the review after allegations that Havering council is racist.
The review, that has been sent out to all councillors and has been read by the Havering Daily, clearly states that the borough is in a good position for change.
“We have been trying to change, I have introduced a Workers Forum and a Diversity Officer. I accept that we have challenges to confront that is why I asked for the review. I am committed to making these changes and welcome these results,” continued Councillor White.
The summary goes on to say that that the Leader, Chief Executive and senior officers are committed to changing the reputation of the borough and working towards being an anti racist borough.
It also states that councillors are aware that they have community leadership roles but it appears that few understand their legal responsibilities with respect to equality. Middle managers also appear to be unaware of their responsibility or how to address particular issues. This has led to a situation where people are reluctant to report racist incidents.
It also clearly stated that the review team heard the terms ‘casual racism’ and ‘casual sexism’ frequently during focus groups.
It is believed that poor communication is at the heart of the problem.