21 November 2018
Lambeth’s Green Group Leader, Jonathan Bartley, has written to the Chief Executive of the council following accusations by staff of institutional racism.
In an article published by The Guardian on 1st October 2018, a group of staff known as Lambeth Black Workers cited examples of racism within the council including white job applicants being more successful than black applicants and white staff tending to progress more readily than black staff. In 2017 Lambeth Unison conducted a survey of their black members which found that 65% did not believe white managers had treated all staff equally during the council’s restructure.
Lambeth Council have since responded by suggesting that staff should go through the “appropriate formal channels” to raise their concerns however Lambeth Black Workers have stated that these channels are “blocked”. The council has also highlighted the work they are doing to implement the recommendations of the 2017 Equality Commission in order to address issues of racism but the Green Group do not believe these go far enough to resolve the deep-rooted inequality that exists within the council.
In response to the allegations Councillor Jonathan Bartley has called on the Chief Executive to launch an independent investigation into institutional racism at Lambeth. Councillor Bartley said: ‘the accusations made by black workers at Lambeth are extremely serious and should be dealt with as such. If Lambeth council wants to demonstrate that they are committed to valuing and respecting the voices of all staff, as they claim they are, they must commission an independent review being called for by black workers at Lambeth immediately’
‘In recent years, several large organisations, including Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset Police and the National Union of Students, have been investigated for institutional racism. This is by no means a historical issue, it is something that staff at Lambeth, and elsewhere, are experiencing on a daily basis. Lambeth Council must listen to their black staff and treat these allegations with the urgency that they require.’