Patel orders to remove unconscious bias training for Home Office staff
Britain’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel (Photo by Matt Dunham – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
HOME SECRETARY Priti Patel has ordered the Home Office to scrap unconscious bias training for staff from its curriculum, a media report said.
While Patel has ordered the Home Office to scrap the courses for staff, it has been reported by The Telegraph on Saturday (19) that staff of Border Force and UK Visas and Immigration, two of the department’s agencies, were offered the unconscious bias training last year by Challenge Consultancy at a cost of £32,510 even after the directions from the government that the training needed to “phased out in civil services”.
Introduced in 2014 for all Whitehall staff with online sessions for junior staff and face-to-face lectures for seniors, unconscious bias training was intended to alert officers to hidden prejudices they may harbour. They are said to be tailored in a way to challenge prejudiced ways of thinking, in terms of who gets a job promotion or how officers interact with the public.
Later, the training was hit by accusations of political incorrectness and of being part of a broader “culture war”. A 2018 review found a “mixed picture” of it’s effectiveness, with the claims by it’s commission that the report have not only highlighted the ineffectiveness but also “the negative effects, of UBT [unconscious bias training]”.
A series of Tory MPs had expressed anger about the training which, they argue, was driven by a “woke agenda” rather than evidence and served only to enrich consultants.
In December last year, the review led the minister to conclude that “unconscious bias training does not achieve its intended aims” after which it was being said that the training “will be phased out in the civil service”. Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez too declared last year that the review had highlighted how “there is currently no evidence that this training changes behaviour in the long term or improves workplace equality in terms of representation of women, ethnic minorities or other minority groups”.