Ethnic minority shortage at top of Wales public sector

Only 2% of civil service, NHS, council and BBC staff earning at least £58,200 a year are from ethnic minorities.

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Ethnic minorities are severely under-represented in top jobs in the public sector in Wales.

Research by BBC Wales found only two top managers at Wales' 22 local councils declared themselves as from an ethnic minority.

One leading campaigner has urged public bodies to investigate what has gone wrong.

Only 2% of civil service, NHS, council and BBC staff earning at least £58,200 a year are from ethnic minorities.

Start Quote

Why is it that there are so many able black, ethnic minorities out there and we haven't got any here?”

End Quote Ray Singh Race Council Cymru

The salary is the senior civil service pay grade in Wales.

About 930 people earn above that threshold across the civil service, managers at local health boards and council officials and BBC Wales.

Only 16 people, or 2%, are members of ethnic minorities. Census data released this week put the proportion in the Welsh population as a whole at 4.4%.

Just two of the 360 top-earning managers in councils are from ethnic minorities.

One of them is at Cardiff council, which according to the latest census, serves an area with an ethnic minority population of 19.7%.

Ray Singh, the first judge from an ethnic minority on the Welsh bench, and the chairman of the umbrella body Race Council Cymru, said: "The senior members of that organisation, walking up and down the corridor, must ask questions.

"Why is it that there are so many able black, ethnic minorities out there and we haven't got any here?

'Show leadership'

"What are we not doing right? And that is very important. They must show that leadership."

Start Quote

I think the mass of the population is far more tolerant than it has ever been... but you have certain groups, certain individuals, certain cliques who still exhibit quite unreasonable discrimination”

End Quote Ann Beynon Equality and human rights commissioner

Ellen ap Gwynn, equalities spokeswoman of the Welsh Local Government Association, said policies and action plans were needed.

She said: "If they've got the skills that we need to fill whatever job then they should be given equal opportunity to be interviewed and at least try for the jobs.

"If people have show that they have got the skills then they are being appointed, obviously."

Ann Beynon, an equality and human rights commissioner for Wales, believes much has improved, but there is still some discrimination.

She said: "I think the mass of the population is far more tolerant than it has ever been.

"But you have certain groups, certain individuals, certain cliques who still exhibit quite unreasonable discrimination. And I would say that is across the piece. But, on the whole, we are better than we were".

Some employees do not declare their ethnicity and not all the organisations contacted by BBC Wales had reliable records.

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