Equality quango staff rebel over BNP ‘sting’
TREVOR PHILLIPS is facing renewed turmoil at the government’s equality watchdog after his staff revolted against a proposed “sting” to expose racism in the British National party (BNP).
Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, was forced to sanction an internal investigation after executives criticised the entrapment campaign, claiming it was “illegal, unethical and unprofessional”.
Insiders at the commission say three regional executives were asked to find black and Asian “agents” who would approach BNP councillors with purported complaints about poor council services.
The executives were also asked to recruit “agent provocateurs” from ethnic minority groups to apply for membership of the far-right party.
In both cases the commission’s apparent aim was to gather evidence of the BNP’s racism, to prove that it discriminates against non-whites by refusing them party membership and failing to tackle their grievances about local problems.
The BNP plot has infuriated some commission staff, who said it had put them at risk of reprisals from the far-right party. It will refocus attention on Phillips’s troubled stewardship of the super-quango, which was set up two years ago to merge the government’s race, equal opportunities and disability watchdogs.
Kay Hampton, one of six commissioners to quit this year, described Phillips’s leadership style as “better suited to a political organisation than a human rights one”.
He has also alienated many left-wingers in the race relations lobby with his outspoken critique of Labour’s multiculturalist agenda.
The new row came to light in July as the commission was preparing a High Court action against the BNP’s constitution, which barred ethnic minorities from membership.
The rise of the BNP since its success at the European elections in June has set alarm bells ringing at the commission.
According to commission officials, Tim Wainwright, the commission’s director of regions, held a telephone conference call on July 10 with three executives in charge of its operations in the south of England, the west Midlands and northern England.
One official said: “They were asked to find members of the minority community to go and join the BNP and to complain to BNP councillors about the quality of local services.
“Legally it was just not right. They were asked to do it and they refused.”
Another source added: “They were instructed to get ethnic minorities to join the BNP. Once their membership was refused, they should persuade them to complain against the BNP and ask the commission to take legal action. This was clearly an example of deliberate entrapment.”
A commission insider said there were now concerns that those asked to take part in the operation could be exposed to reprisals from supporters of the BNP. “They are worried about their security, they think anything could happen,” he said.
Clifford Stewart, head of the commission’s operations for the south of England, who was present during the conference call, said he could not discuss the matter in detail because it was under investigation.
“If anything did happen, then it was unauthorised and nobody acted on it,” he said.
In a statement this weekend, the commission said it was never its policy to encourage anyone to join the BNP.
It said: “The commission has never authorised anyone to issue such instructions. If any such instructions have been given to staff, as far as we are aware no one has acted upon them.
“The commission is investigating some serious allegations — which have been strenuously denied — in accordance with our internal procedures.”
In the summer it emerged that the work and pensions department had conducted a similar exercise to expose racist businesses. Civil servants fabricated more than 2,000 job applications and concocted false names to see whether employers turned down applicants simply because they appeared to be black or Asian.
They found that an applicant who appeared to be white would send nine applications before getting a positive response while minority candidates with the same qualifications had to send 16.
Dickiebo; The word for this is ‘ENTRAPMENT‘. It is not allowed in any shape or form in any civilised country in the world. What does that tell you about this treacherous NuLabour and it’s vile, mealy-mouthed servants at the Equalities Commission. (Or whatever else they are calling themselves, today!)
Equality watchdog ‘is full of Labour stooges’, finds independent report
Trevor Phillips: Recriminations
The equality watchdog lacks leadership, represents only the Labour party and is packed with state sector ‘placemen’, a scathing independent report has found.
It described the Equality and Human Rights Commission as cumbersome, confused and divided.
Chairman Trevor Phillips was blamed for creating ‘cultural and behavioural barriers’ and autocratic management.
The report by the Deloitte consultancy said the Commission has failed to find room for representatives of the private sector – which includes four out of five workers – or of a ‘broad political spectrum’.
Tories said last night that the way political opponents and the commercial world have been shut out shows the Commission has not ‘practiced what it preaches’.
The report was produced last year and given to Mr Phillips and his colleagues in December 2008, but the findings were suppressed and only now brought to light after pressure from MPs.
According to one report the published version, with blacked-out names, was heavily toned down from the original.
The £70million-a-year Commission, whose members are appointed by the Government Equalities Office, led by Women and Equality Minister Harriet Harman, has long been seen by critics as dominated by Labour members and sympathisers.
Over the past year it has lost six of its commissioners and its chief executive, diplomat Nicola Brewer, amid recriminations and criticisms of Mr Phillips’s leadership style.
There have also been questions over its use of money. Miss Harman has ordered a revamp in which Mr Phillips is expected to play a less prominent role.
The Deloitte report said that the board of the organisation – its commissioners – had no ‘common purpose’ and ‘does not operate against clear, consistently understood roles’.
The report added: ‘The size of the board makes it cumbersome and the composition of the board is not ideal.’
Among ‘cultural and behavioural barriers weakening the board’s ability to perform’, the performance of Mr Phillips was singled out. There was, Deloitte’s consultants said, a ‘perception that the chair could do more to summarise discussion and key decisions’.
The Commission’s work was hampered by poor quality documents prepared for its members. According to Deloitte, ‘there is currently a lack of representation from the private sector and a need for representation from a broader political spectrum.’
New appointments made by Miss Harman last month included only one private sector representative.
Others included a Labour Party member from Wales, a professor of human rights, a TUC official, a Liberal Democrat council activist, and a member of the gay rights body Stonewall.
A spokesman for the Commission said: ‘We have implemented most of the recommendations of the report.’
Dickiebo; All highlights are mine.
Don’t worry, folks. This only costs US £80 million p.a.! Oh yes. And, of course, many, many cases of sheer harrassment of citizens, by these bloody extreme left-wingers.