Bristol Mayor: Quick way to address the lack of BME workforce representation is to “kill an awful lot of white men”

In response to a question from Cllr Afzal Shah, Labour, Easton Ward, about the imbalance of BME workforce representation at the council, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said that a quick quick way is to “kill an awful lot of white men – but that isn’t a very practical solution”.


Read below to understand the councillor’s main question:

Cllr Afzal Shah: BME Make-up of Bristol City Council

According to Bristol City Council’s own figures, the make-up of the existing workforce demonstrates a comparative lack of diversity.

BME managers by directorate as at March 2015:

  • Business Change and City Director – 6.41%
  • Neighbourhoods – 4.86%
  • People – 6.33%
  • Place – 5.33%

What action is the council taking to rectify the imbalance of BME representation of senior officers in post at Bristol City Council to fully reflect the diversity of the city of Bristol and support the Council’s claim of being an equal opportunity employer and can I also ask for the City Director to take action in this regard?

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson:

  • I am supporting the Race Equality Manifesto for the City with whom I have been working closely.
  • The Council is currently establishing a Corporate Equalities Group, which will take the lead in ensuring that our workforce at all levels reflects Bristol’s diversity. This new group will be chaired by a Strategic Director, and will be made up of representatives from across the Council, including from the new Staff-Led Groups for BME, Disabled, LGBT and Young employees. The first meeting of the new group is being arranging for the autumn.
  • We are also promoting staff led groups for all of the equalities protected characteristic groups including BME employees.
  • The quick quick way is to kill an awful lot of white men, but that isn’t a very practical solution.

Cllr Afzal Shah: As an equal opportunities employer, how do these figures stack-up with other Core Cities?

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson:

  • It is a comparison we should make and I will look into that comparison as part of this process.
  • I don’t think it is a matter of whether we are better or worse than other Core Cities. I think the more the Council’s staff and elected members reflect the nature of our population the better we serve that population.


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