Oxford City Council admits it needs to attract more ethnic minorities

Image Credit: David Hawgood

Oxford City council has admitted that it needs to attract more people from ethnic minority groups to work within the council. 

Only 9 per cent of the council’s workforce is from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background, whereas 19% of the city’s inhabitants are.

Nigel Chapman, the council’s board member for customer-focused services, said that minorities were ‘not sufficiently or appropriately represented at all levels’.

He said: “We realise that a diverse workforce not only enhances the council’s ability to engage with its communities, but it also means those communities will have access to top-of-the-range career opportunities.

“Additionally, increasing diversity will enable us to be more creative in responding to customers and in delivering our services.”

£30,000 will be spent by the Council in order to give all staff a diversity awareness program, while managers will receive more specific training, including how to create “an inclusive work environment”.  Further plans include include hosting open days and taster sessions for potential staff, so people can see what a job in it might entail. Recruitment managers will be undergoing refresher training over the next few months.

Gender diversity paints a somewhat more complicated picture. While most of the council’s employees are women, at 58.7%; Oxford Direct Services, which performs services like refuse collection and park maintenance, sees only 11.5% of its staff as female. 

Shaista Aziz, Workplace Diversity Champion for the Council and ward member for Rose Hill and Iffley, said: “We must model the change we want to see across the city and we must ensure that as an organisation Oxford City Council is leading in this area of work. We cannot be what we cannot see. It is through acknowledging who isn’t part of the workforce and seeking to understand why that we will make long term systemic change. Representation matters.”