• Wednesday, February 01, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

NHS wants interview panels to explain the selection of white candidates over persons from ethnic minority: Report

By: Pramod Thomas

NHS bosses want interview panels to prepare a report explaining why they hired a white person over someone from an ethnic minority background, according to a report.

Staff at the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust in north London are told to prepare reports justifying why the successful candidate was ‘suitable’ for the job, reported The Mail Online.

The policy was in place since July 2018 for staff in senior positions, but was recently expanded to any role within the trust.

Under the policy, staff must write to the trust’s chief executive with evidence on how they scored the non-white applicant.

Besides, they will also give suggestions on how the candidate can develop their experience, skills, or amplitude for a better chance next time. It applies to interview shortlists that involve both white and non-white applicants.

If a white person is selected for the job, the panel must ‘justify’ why any ethnic minority candidate was not chosen and provide detailed ‘scoring notes’ as evidence.

The detailed report should be sent to the trust’s chief executive, Caroline Clarke, within ten working days. If they fail to send the report, they will be named and shamed in the trust’s monthly Workforce Race Equality progress report, the newspaper report said.

According to the Mail Online, senior staff members have already called it a ‘tick-box exercise’ which slows down the hiring process in the trust.

“It feels like a tick-box exercise. When we discuss who the best applicant was after the interview, it’s not about their ethnicity,” a senior staff at the hospital told the newspaper.

“So justifying your decision based on where they might be from does take a lot of time because you have to revaluate your decision from a completely different perspective, based on race rather than ability.”

A 2019 study revealed that on average 24 per cent of white applicants received a positive response from employers, compared to 15 per cent of minority ethnic applicants applying with similar CVs and cover letters.

The study by experts based at the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, found out that minority applicants had to send 60 per cent more applications to get a positive response from an employer than a white person.

It added that black Britons and those of south Asian origin have been facing ‘discrimination’ in the job market since the late 1960s.

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