The event was the first in a series of workshops organised by the Public Management and Policy Association to discuss issues facing the public sector. Participants discussed institutional racism and considered what progress had been made to tackle the problem since Sir William MacPherson's report into the murder of Steven Lawrence. A number of issues emerged from the discussions. First, institutional racism exists and is a 'big' problem in the UK public sector. None of the senior mangers doubted that most public sector organisations were institutionally racist. Secondly, measures to tackle institutional racism are not working effectively and initiatives are too sporadic. Some public sector managers are suffering from 'death by checklist' as there are so many documents offering guidance in circulation. The senior public sector managers made a number of recommendations to tackle the problem. They say the Government should legislate quickly outlining simple targets and clear monitoring arrangements. Monitoring should be mainstreamed into other inspection arrangements, for example by other audit bodies and regulators. Performance targets for top managers/leaders in public sector organisations should include equality issues. There needs to be a robust system of sanctions and rewards for staff and managers in relation to equal opportunity policies.
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