“It feels like a tick-box exercise."
Recruitment staff at the NHS Royal Free hospital in north London are required by policy to prepare papers defending why an applicant with a white background was thought to be “more suitable.”
They must justify their evaluation of the non-white application in a letter to the trust’s chief executive, along with recommendations for how the applicant can do better in the future.
The system, according to disgruntled employees, is a “tick-box exercise” that adds still another layer of bureaucracy to a National Health Service that is already strained.
According to government ministers, the NHS loses billions of pounds each year to “waste and wokery” and trusts have lately been ordered to remove those positions to concentrate on front-line treatment.
The NHS is offering more than £1 million in “woke non-jobs” at hospitals and trusts, at a time when it is chronically short on funds for patient care.
The most recent guideline, as stated, is applicable to interview shortlists that contain both white and non-white applicants.
It has been in effect at the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust since July 2018 for employees in senior roles, but it has now been extended to all roles within the trust.
If a white applicant is picked, the panel chairman is required to prepare a report outlining why they were “more suitable” for the position.
The opposite does not hold true if an ethnic minority is picked for an employment position.
They must also give “justification” for not selecting any ethnic minority candidate and include specific “scoring notes” as proof.
Additionally, they must offer advice on how the unsuccessful applicants may “develop their experience, skills, or amplitude” for a better opportunity down the road.
The final step is to provide the report to Caroline Clarke, the trust’s chief executive, within 10 business days.
The trust’s monthly Workforce Race Equality progress report will identify and shame individuals if they fail to do so.
A senior hospital source commented on the matter and said:
“It feels like a tick-box exercise.
“When we discuss who the best applicant was after the interview, it’s not about their ethnicity.
“So justifying your decision based on where they might be from does take a lot of time because you have to re-evaluate your decision from a completely different perspective, based on race rather than ability.”
According to the source, the policy needs to be applied uniformly to all rejected applicants, not only those with a particular racial or cultural background.
The “extra bureaucracy” prolongs the lengthy recruitment procedure.
A Royal Free hospital spokesperson said:
“We are committed to having a diverse workforce and we seek to ensure all candidates, irrespective of their ethnicity, have equal opportunities to work at the Royal Free London.”