A North West NHS Trust has been made to alter its internal program which records personal details of members of staff, for the purpose of protecting employees from discrimination and harassment at work in line with the Equality Act 2010.
Valeria Morris, the English Democrat NW Secretary and a member of the Workers of England Union was disgusted to find that she was unable to register her country as “England” and her ethnicity as “English” on a NHS program designed to protect people from discrimination whilst other nationalities and people other than English had no problem.
Under the box for nationality there was a drop down box to select your nationality; the only options offered to her were “British” or “Irish”. Under the Ethnic origin the only options offered again were “White British”, “White Irish” or “Any other White Background”.
On all forms like these that don’t offer Valerie her correct nationality and/or ethnic origin always enters in “Any other White Background” the word “English”.
Valerie sent an email complaint to the trust highlighting how discriminatory the program was the trust responded with, “ESR (Electronic Staff Records) does not give the option to select English rather than British. This falls in line with government organisations who define us as British whether we are English, Scottish or Welsh i.e. we will all have a British passport”
This response was not acceptable to Valerie, who replied
“Although Ireland, both North and South are in the British Isles neither come under the political union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, N. Ireland comes under the political union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and N. Ireland. Irish should not be on the form whilst ignoring the other Nations of the political union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and those also within the British Isles like England, Scotland and Wales. People from those nations have every right to assert their Nationality just as much as the Irish. In giving the option of Irish whilst ignoring other Nationalities I believe puts the form in breach of the Race Relations act.
If the British government can amended the 2011 Census to reflect all nationalities, then I believe our trust should as well. Some people have dual nationalities and therefore may not have a British Passport. I myself don’t have a passport at all.
I still wish my details to be amended.”
The next response from the trust was as follows:
Many thanks for your e-mail in relation to the above subject. I understand you attempted to update your nationality and ethnic origin within the template as you felt that the information currently held on the Electronic Staff Records system was not a true reflection. I am informed that you raised a query regarding this key point with my department as you had experienced the inability of not being able to update these fields accordingly as not all ethnic group and nationality descriptions were available.
I have reviewed the original e-mail exchanges Valerie and was most interested by the information you supplied regarding the brief around passport holders, European Union and those individuals with dual nationality. Thank you as this was most interesting and having a current passport myself did make me look at this section in more detail. I am sure that when you do apply for a passport you find the process relatively simple as it is all completed on-line these days and will of course include all the national identity descriptions which are available following the changes from the 2011 Census.
I can confirm that the tool has been amended and in line with the Office for National Statistics and Department of Health 16+1 codes the ethnic group categories and nationality descriptions have been updated to reflect the changes following the 2011 Census. As this included an additional question to capture and report multiple identities from English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British and Other, as they discovered not all people preferred to select a single national identity. Therefore Valerie, I would like to invite you to access the tool again in order to make the correct selection within the Ethnic Origin and Nationality fields so that your record is updated.
Finally I have also copied aaaaaaaaaa – Equality and Diversity Manager into my response as I note from your original e-mail that you felt that the data cleansing tool form may also be in breach of the Race Relations Act as not all nationalities were included. aaaaaaaaaa is very knowledgeable regarding matters which relate to Equality and Diversity and I’m sure would be more than happy to outline the Trust’s position with you.
Thank you once again for your comments”.
Today “4th November” Valerie checked and the tool which has now been changed to reflect all nationalities.
Well Done Val