‘Equality tsar’ plans to promote gipsies and minorities attacked

Council bosses are to appoint an “Equality Tsar” to give gipsies, East Europeans, transsexuals and other minorities more say in running services.

Bradford Council also aims to boost diversity in its own ranks after it was revealed all its senior bureaucrats are white.

However, a tax campaigner has accused the authority of “blowing money on ridiculous bureaucracy”.

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The council has also admitted its new policy goes beyond what the law requires and is refusing to say how much it will cost charge payers.

The Office of National Statistics says nearly 64 per cent of the 523,000 residents are classed as White British.

A drive by the former Labour led authority has boosted the of ethnic minority staff on the civic payroll from seven per cent of the workforce to 22 per cent.

But the council – now dominated by George Galloway’s Respect party – has been stung by criticism that all its high-ranking officials are white.

Council Leader David Green said: “We are acutely aware that the ethnic composition of Bradford Council’s senior management is not fully representative of the population that we serve.

“The number of senior managers at Bradford Council has been reduced drastically over the last few years as part of the severe financial constraints imposed upon us, and the desire to protect frontline services. Opportunities for anyone to be appointed to senior management posts have been severely limited.

“For senior management posts that do become vacant, we will encourage applications from candidates from all parts of the community, including people from ethnic minority backgrounds.”

The draft of the so called Equality Action Plan has been approved by council leaders.

It includes a proposal to establish and implement a Talent Management Programme which includes targeting under-representation of minorities in senior management.

Coun Green continued: “At present there are no ethnic minority staff employed by Bradford Council at assistant director level or higher.

“However, some ethnic minority senior managers who previously worked at Bradford Council have been very successful in gaining further promotion to other jobs within the wider region.”

Bradford now has the highest 
proportion of people of Pakistani descent in England and Wales.

But one of the aims the new policy is to bring other sections of the community under the ethnic minority banner.

These include 433 gypsies identified as living in the district by the 2011 Census, which the council fears “under-represents” the traveller community.

Officials are also concerned about the families of the 2,640 schoolchildren whose parents are from Central and Eastern Europe, who mainly speak Slovak, Polish or Czech.

Town hall bosses are also forging links with the gay, lesbian, and transsexual community.

A senior officer will be chosen to mastermind the policy which a council report says “goes beyond the requirements of the equalities legislation”. Also outlined in the report is a programme of “awareness training” for elected members and senior officers on gipsy and traveller issues.

A “Culture Matters” course is being introduced for all staff who deal directly with the public.

However, Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said yesterday the changes would just create more paperwork.

He added: “Bradford Council already spends a fortune on diversity officers, so the idea of blowing yet more taxpayers’ money on this kind of bureaucracy is ridiculous.

“Local residents will worry more about the quality of the services that their council delivers.”