Civil Servants 'Facing Discrimination and Racism'

“Racism and discrimination” within the Cabinet Office

A leaked internal report seen by the BBC shows alleged racism and discrimination within the Cabinet Office.

The report found that one in 10 civil servants or members of staff has experienced bullying or harassment whilst working in the Cabinet Office.

Civil servants working in the department are at the heart of the government and are involved in delivering key government policies.

Full of people with “posh” accents

According to a staff survey, the department is full of people with so-called “posh” London accents.

The report states that “this could lead those from other socioeconomic backgrounds to feel like outsiders and self-conscious about the way they speak”.

The Cabinet Office has said that the report shows how seriously they want to address the issues, although the report does say that bad behaviour is often rarely dealt with.

The only ethnic minority in the room

Staff from ethnic minority backgrounds have said that they feel they have to change their behaviour in order to fit in more.

This includes changing how they speak and presenting themselves in a different way.

Staff often felt like they were the only ethnic minorities in the room and also went on to describe that their ideas were usually taken less seriously than their white colleagues’.

Microaggressions, in which they were mistaken for other ethnic minority colleagues, were also rife, according to the report.

Gender was also a big reason for discrimination, with female staff often attributing a “macho culture” at the very top of the organisation as a reason their ideas weren’t taken seriously.

Joint highest levels of bullying and harassment

A 2021 survey conducted amongst staff in the Cabinet Office found that the department has the joint highest levels of bullying and harassment of all government departments.

The staff survey showed that of those who had experienced bullying or harassment, only 37% had reported the incidents.

Some staff feared that they would end up with a ‘black mark’ against their name, which would end their careers, if they reported an incident.

Accusations of discrimination not taken seriously

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the union representing the civil service, said that around 80 of its members submitted formal complaints after being racially profiled or bullied.

A spokesperson for the PCS said that “this report shows management did not take seriously accusations of discrimination within the Cabinet Office” and has asked for a full overhaul of the system.

The Cabinet Office has said that it does not tolerate harassment or discrimination in any form and that it has fully accepted the report’s recommendations.

If you have suffered from discrimination in the workplace and need legal help, our expert solicitors have years of experience in handling employment law cases and may be able to help.

Give us a call, start your enquiry online, or request a callback today. First4Lawyers is here to help.


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