A report to Barnet Council contained stark messages from their own staff, with some saying they felt “betrayed” by the organisation. Focus groups with employees of Barnet Council representing BAME staff, LGBTQ+ staff and the Women’s Staff Network revealed the frustrations of staff from diverse backgrounds.
Feedback from the Women’s Staff Network found that a “majority of the members described feeling betrayed and disadvantaged in the organisation.” In a session with LGBTQ+ staff, 32% reported homophobic and transphobic experiences in Barnet. A Black Lives Matter event found staff wanted to see changes in HR policies, a zero-tolerance approach to racism and microaggressions, and safe spaces to have open conversations.
The Barnet Equality Allies were asked to present a report to the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee after a motion was passed in the name of East Finchley Labour Councillor Arjun Mittra asking for them to present to the committee in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protest.
Cllr Mittra said:
“I must first say that the Barnet Equalities Allies have my deep respect and admiration for the work they do to make our workplace an open, tolerant and accepting culture. It was very brave of them to come and speak to councillors about the feelings of staff, and I know everyone will take it very seriously. I for one am committed to listening to staff and fighting for them to be heard on the important issue of equality.
“The Chief Executive John Hooton is deeply dedicated to the cause of fighting discrimination, as is the entire senior leadership team, but clearly we have a very long way to go. I spoke to Mr Hooton some time ago with a list of suggestions on how to improve the borough’s representation of BAME people, and how to limit the impact of Coronavirus on vulnerable BAME communities.
“But when staff say they feel betrayed and that they want to see more promotional opportunities for women and BAME staff, we must listen and we must act.”
- A copy of the Barnet Equality Allies report can be found here (Agenda Item 9): https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=10198
- Details of Cllr Mittra’s member’s item on Black Lives Matter can be found here (Agenda Item 6): https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=692&MId=10197&Ver=4
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org