Purpose – More than six years have elapsed since the much‐heralded Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (hereafter also referred to as the “Act”) came into force. The Act had been prompted by concern at the lack of progress made in the sphere of racial equality despite the existence of the 1976 Race Relations Act. There were accusations that the 1976 Act was outdated and lacked the political teeth to be effective. The new Act imposed for the first time specific requirements on public sector institutions to be more proactive in promoting race equality. The duties would apply to public bodies that were previously exempt such as the Police and the National Health Service. This paper aims to focus on Scottish local councils and to examine the progress made by these public sector organisations in the field of race equality since the new Act came into force. Design/methodology/approach – The researchers carried out a postal survey of Scotland's 32 local authorities in order to assess the progress made in the area of race equality. Questions focused on examining the scale of progress in relation to both employment and service delivery. Findings – The results revealed a mixed picture. On the positive side, most councils had initiated race awareness training programmes. The majority had also incorporated aspects of race equality into their equal opportunities policies and most had instituted measures to engage with ethnic minority communities. However, there are still areas where performance is unsatisfactory, including inadequacies in the ethnic monitoring of staff, failure to reflect the size of the ethnic minority community in the workforce, and the absence of a clear and distinctive policy on racial harassment in the workplace. Originality/value – This research will be of great value to anyone who is interested in assessing whether the legislative duties imposed by the Act have been satisfied by Scotland's local authorities. It is the first study of its kind in Scotland and is likely to appeal to both practitioners in the public sector and to academics.
International Journal of Public Sector Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 22, 2008
Keywords: Equal opportunities; Ethnic minorities; Local authorities; Public administration; Race relations; Scotland
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