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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Act on the findings of the audit of racial disparity across public services

Last updated: 12:02pm 21 January 2019

Theresa May’s first act as prime minister was to order an unprecedented audit of racial disparity across public services, to reveal the outcomes experienced by people of different ethnicities. That audit reports in July and a Conservative government will not hesitate to act on its findings, however uncomfortable they may be.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.56

Our verdict

The Race Disparity Audit was announced in August 2016 to “examine how people of different backgrounds are treated across areas including health, education, employment and the criminal justice system”. Its findings were first published in October 2017. All the data gathered has been made available on the government’s Ethnicity facts and figures website. Key findings include:

  • Employment rates are higher for white people than for ethnic minorities
  • Ethnic minority employees are concentrated mostly in lower ranks of employment in the public sector
  • Home ownership is substantially lower amongst African, Arab, Mixed White and Black African families than White families

This policy is a promise to act on the findings.

When the report was published, a number of schemes were announced to tackle some of the disparities identified, including:

  • workplace mentoring, traineeships and work placements
  • a commitment to take forward proposals from the Lammy Review
  • an external review to improve practice in exclusions in schools

In November 2017, the Women and Equalities Committee launched an inquiry to look at the results of the audit. That inquiry has made several reports and the government has provided responses in which it commits to action.

In March 2018, the government announced a £90 million programme aimed at tackling inequalities in youth unemployment.

In October 2018, an update report was published on government attempts to tackle racial disparity in the criminal justice system.

Also in October 2018, a consultation was launched on ethnicity pay reporting by employers, along the lines of the gender pay reporting requirement introduced in 2017. That concluded on 11 January 2019 and feedback is currently being analysed.

There has been enough action for us to mark this as ‘in progress’.  However, the extent of the disparities revealed by the audit are such that we expect to see a maintained commitment across the entire term of office, at which point we will consult with independent bodies before reaching a final verdict. Follow this policy for updates.

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