Laura Sharman 30 August 2016

May orders audit to tackle racial disparities in public services

All Whitehall departments will need to publish information on how outcomes differ for people of different racial backgrounds under a new audit of public services.

Prime minister Theresa May has ordered the audit in a bid to reveal any racial disparities in public services and force poor-performing services to improve.

The audit will allow people to see how their race affects how they are treated on key issues such as health, education and employment.

Mrs May said: ‘I am launching an audit to look into racial disparities in our public services that stretches right across government. It will highlight the differences in outcomes for people of different backgrounds, in every area from health to education, childcare to welfare, employment, skills and criminal justice.

‘This audit will reveal difficult truths, but we should not be apologetic about shining a light on injustices as never before. It is only by doing so we can make this country work for everyone, not just a privileged few.’

The audit will also reveal where there are geographical inequalities in services, such as the white working class who tend to live in coastal towns or black and minority ethnic (BME) communities who tend to live in inner cities.

The first data is expected to be published before the summer 2017 and will be updated annually.

However, Angela Rayner, shadow minister for women and equalities, accused Mrs May of 'political posturing'. She said: 'First of all, this is only a partial review, because there is no similar examination of barriers to equality within the private sector. That is a huge gap.

'Secondly, this Government has been told time and again by repeated reports from the United Nations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, exactly where the problems are. We don’t need an audit, we need action to stamp out racial discrimination across the board.'

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