'My role was to follow the evidence' says man behind investigation into institutional racism at Harrow Borough Council

'My role was to follow the evidence' says man behind institutional racism report

'My role was to follow the evidence' says man behind institutional racism report

First published in News
Last updated
Harrow Times: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

The man behind an independent investigation into Harrow Borough Council says no organisation or person has produced any evidence of institutional racism.

A 36-page report written by Harrow police commander Dal Babu OBE into allegations of institutional racism in Harrow Council was published today.

It states that during the four-week investigation, which stated on March 17 this year, no evidence was produced to support the allegations.

According to the report, claims were first made publicly in an extraordinary meeting of Harrow Council on May 23 last year.

During the investigation, the former chief superintendent communicated with 33 members of staff and councillors in face to face interviews or by written submissions.

Speaking to the Harrow Times, Mr Babu said: “My role throughout this process was to follow the evidence put before me.

“It was suggested to me by the leader of the Independent Labour group that he had evidence of 30 members of staff who had experienced institutional racism.

“During my time of the investigation and to this day no one has come forward and no one has provided me with any evidence of institutional racism.

“Making an allegation like this is a very very serious matter, and I would have thought any making it would want to follow it up with evidence.”

He also pointed out it was 11 months since the allegation was originally made, but no proof had been brought forward to him.

Despite finding no evidence of institutional racism Mr Babu did find a ‘clear disproportion in staffing numbers at middle and senior grades in the council’.

There are no Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers at director level at the council and only 11 per cent at service manager level.

Recommendations put forward in the report include ensuring managers and staff are made fully aware of cultural events to ensure respect for all faiths and beliefs.

He also recommended the council reviews existing senior appointments panel process in terms of recruitment, develop comprehensive leadership and mentoring programme for BAME staff and relaunch BAME workers group for council staff.

Responding to the report, council leader Cllr Susan Hall said: “It is a relief that this investigation has not found the council is institutionally racist and it is a relief to know that none of the staff has been subjected to that.

“I hope this report shows we are open and transparent. We have recommendations to work on and we will make sure we are more representative of the people we are serving.”

Comments (7)

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3:56pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Husain Akhtar says...

Back in January, I professionally predicted the outcome of the politically staged and institutionally defined investigation in terms of: "Although there has been some political instability recently and few feel that they have been discriminated in some instances, mostly political, there is no evidence that the council as a body is institutionally racist” – how true I was!

A serious question was also raised at the time: "Should we really continue with this doomed investigation and waste significant public money?” – it looks that the public money has been wasted.
Back in January, I professionally predicted the outcome of the politically staged and institutionally defined investigation in terms of: "Although there has been some political instability recently and few feel that they have been discriminated in some instances, mostly political, there is no evidence that the council as a body is institutionally racist” – how true I was! A serious question was also raised at the time: "Should we really continue with this doomed investigation and waste significant public money?” – it looks that the public money has been wasted. Husain Akhtar
  • Score: 4

8:38am Sat 12 Apr 14

pravinshah1 says...

No institutional racism at the Harrow Council, says a well predicted report written by the former Asian Harrow police chief! He was appointed by the council to investigate the allegations of racism at the council, primarily prompted by the Independent Labour Group, but within the framework of the terms of reference defined for him by the council!

I have previously questioned how an investigation could be "independent” if the political arm of the body that has been accused of racism sets the terms of reference and appoints an investigator of its choice on behalf of the body!

The outcome was well predicted.
No institutional racism at the Harrow Council, says a well predicted report written by the former Asian Harrow police chief! He was appointed by the council to investigate the allegations of racism at the council, primarily prompted by the Independent Labour Group, but within the framework of the terms of reference defined for him by the council! I have previously questioned how an investigation could be "independent” if the political arm of the body that has been accused of racism sets the terms of reference and appoints an investigator of its choice on behalf of the body! The outcome was well predicted. pravinshah1
  • Score: 2

3:03pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

It seems "damned if you do and damned if you don't " seems to be what one is hearing.First,it is rather insulting to our previous borough Commander,Dal Babu, to insinuate that his report is not credible for reasons stated by some who have their own axe to grind or for political gain.This is really intolerable.

Making baseless accusations about somebody's integrity is hardly fair and definitely a sordid attempt to smear the investigating officer,who only happens to be a retired senior officer of the Metropolitan Police,held in great regard in this borough.It is deeply upsetting that anybody should make reference to" a former ASIAN police officer" and predict the outcome like some soothsayer!These remarks are obnoxious.

Had it NOT have been a candidate from the Asian community you can bet the same people would have cried "FOUL" on the grounds that the appointment itself was tainted and racist.Please resist from playing judge and jury just to win your point.

Nobody can return the serious and criminal verdict of" RACISM "MINUS EVIDENCE.Certainly not a member of the Metropolitan Police Service!Those who have complained about being treated unfairly could have stepped up to the plate and blown the whistle!Even if it puts your job at risk,if it's true then stand up and be counted.

Over 33 members of staff have been questioned either in person or have made written submissions,This has been conducted over a four week period.SOMEBODY could have spoken out and stated if there is rank racism in Harrow Council..

Remarks like these are not helpful in any way.It seems churlish and childish to suggest that Dal Babu's judgement is compromised and that he has not done his work thoroughly.No matter how many investigations are conducted,detractors will always howl "unfair" as they have already done,even BEFORE the report is published.Public money has not been wasted but demands of a SECOND investigation are quite unnecessary.

How extraordinary that pre-judging the outcome of such serious allegations are to be taken as gospel truth.It's pretty clear from the statements made by Dal Babu,that there is much scope to make many improvements so that opportunities are extended fairly and squarely to ALL our communities,BAME or otherwise,to help make our Council more in tune with the demographics of Harrow and more representative of its peoples.Please study them carefully before dismissing this report out of hand.

He has not minced his words but has made clear recommendations for training of staff and pointed out that equal opportunities for ALL at every level--in particular appointments at the highest level be extended fairly on merit and ability.

He has recommended mentoring and several other important points to tackle these thorny issues.Nobody is saying things are perfect within our Council but unless, after receiving the investigating officer's diagnosis we are prepared to take the medicine prescribed, we will remain stuck in an undesirable and unhealthy rut of our own making.

The Leader of Harrow Council ,Cllr Susan Hall,has accepted the final outcome of this important investigation and has promised to implement the recommendations so that any practices which cause so much unease can be rooted out and the workplace become a level playing field for everybody.

Please let us stop all this infighting and concentrate on implementing these recommendations so that we have a much improved working environment within the Council,enabling staff at all levels to thrive and reach their full potential.
It seems "damned if you do and damned if you don't " seems to be what one is hearing.First,it is rather insulting to our previous borough Commander,Dal Babu, to insinuate that his report is not credible for reasons stated by some who have their own axe to grind or for political gain.This is really intolerable. Making baseless accusations about somebody's integrity is hardly fair and definitely a sordid attempt to smear the investigating officer,who only happens to be a retired senior officer of the Metropolitan Police,held in great regard in this borough.It is deeply upsetting that anybody should make reference to" a former ASIAN police officer" and predict the outcome like some soothsayer!These remarks are obnoxious. Had it NOT have been a candidate from the Asian community you can bet the same people would have cried "FOUL" on the grounds that the appointment itself was tainted and racist.Please resist from playing judge and jury just to win your point. Nobody can return the serious and criminal verdict of" RACISM "MINUS EVIDENCE.Certainly not a member of the Metropolitan Police Service!Those who have complained about being treated unfairly could have stepped up to the plate and blown the whistle!Even if it puts your job at risk,if it's true then stand up and be counted. Over 33 members of staff have been questioned either in person or have made written submissions,This has been conducted over a four week period.SOMEBODY could have spoken out and stated if there is rank racism in Harrow Council.. Remarks like these are not helpful in any way.It seems churlish and childish to suggest that Dal Babu's judgement is compromised and that he has not done his work thoroughly.No matter how many investigations are conducted,detractors will always howl "unfair" as they have already done,even BEFORE the report is published.Public money has not been wasted but demands of a SECOND investigation are quite unnecessary. How extraordinary that pre-judging the outcome of such serious allegations are to be taken as gospel truth.It's pretty clear from the statements made by Dal Babu,that there is much scope to make many improvements so that opportunities are extended fairly and squarely to ALL our communities,BAME or otherwise,to help make our Council more in tune with the demographics of Harrow and more representative of its peoples.Please study them carefully before dismissing this report out of hand. He has not minced his words but has made clear recommendations for training of staff and pointed out that equal opportunities for ALL at every level--in particular appointments at the highest level be extended fairly on merit and ability. He has recommended mentoring and several other important points to tackle these thorny issues.Nobody is saying things are perfect within our Council but unless, after receiving the investigating officer's diagnosis we are prepared to take the medicine prescribed, we will remain stuck in an undesirable and unhealthy rut of our own making. The Leader of Harrow Council ,Cllr Susan Hall,has accepted the final outcome of this important investigation and has promised to implement the recommendations so that any practices which cause so much unease can be rooted out and the workplace become a level playing field for everybody. Please let us stop all this infighting and concentrate on implementing these recommendations so that we have a much improved working environment within the Council,enabling staff at all levels to thrive and reach their full potential. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -8

7:10am Sun 13 Apr 14

rabbitz says...

So after all that we find the Council is not racist we knew this all along,
"Despite finding no evidence of institutional racism Mr Babu did find a ‘clear disproportion in staffing numbers at middle and senior grades in the council’.

There are no Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers at director level at the council and only 11 per cent at service manager level."
Should staff employed at these levels be replaced by less qualified staff because of their colour?
So after all that we find the Council is not racist we knew this all along, "Despite finding no evidence of institutional racism Mr Babu did find a ‘clear disproportion in staffing numbers at middle and senior grades in the council’. There are no Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers at director level at the council and only 11 per cent at service manager level." Should staff employed at these levels be replaced by less qualified staff because of their colour? rabbitz
  • Score: 2

1:33pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Husain Akhtar says...

I hope one day public might know the the actual cost of this controversial ‘investigation’ which does not add to what we already knew!
I hope one day public might know the the actual cost of this controversial ‘investigation’ which does not add to what we already knew! Husain Akhtar
  • Score: 1

1:38pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

It's so sad that rabbitz has jumped to the conclusion that staff should be employed even though they may not have the proper qualifications just because they are another colour!With all due respect,you need to do your home-work thoroughly before making such statements.

The report expressly states that staff should receive proper training and opportunities made available to empower them with adequate skills and qualifications so that they are in a position to compete on an equal footing---having achieved equal competence.Mentoring has been mentioned as well.

Let us study the recommendations and digest them carefully prior to making inflammatory and inaccurate statements which serve no purpose but to incite the indigenous population unduly and misguide people.This is mischievous and a definite waste of our time and monies.

There is definitely a need to make a number of changes to better the working environment within our Council and make it a level playing field for ALL concerned,as has been clearly stated in the findings.

Reviewing and updating current practice is healthy and a legal requirement. This happens in other boroughs as well, with demographics changing rapidly now-a-days.We may have guessed what the state of play is but having an investigation lends credence.

Instead of getting uptight,we should welcome the opportunity to address these important issues within our Local Authority,with a cool head,and make absolutely certain that we introduce and encourage practices and processes which help nurture a good environment for our staff .This will help them give off their best to serve our citizens.Surely,that is a win-win for all.Let's stop this senseless bickering and go for it!

Let us put people before politics!
It's so sad that rabbitz has jumped to the conclusion that staff should be employed even though they may not have the proper qualifications just because they are another colour!With all due respect,you need to do your home-work thoroughly before making such statements. The report expressly states that staff should receive proper training and opportunities made available to empower them with adequate skills and qualifications so that they are in a position to compete on an equal footing---having achieved equal competence.Mentoring has been mentioned as well. Let us study the recommendations and digest them carefully prior to making inflammatory and inaccurate statements which serve no purpose but to incite the indigenous population unduly and misguide people.This is mischievous and a definite waste of our time and monies. There is definitely a need to make a number of changes to better the working environment within our Council and make it a level playing field for ALL concerned,as has been clearly stated in the findings. Reviewing and updating current practice is healthy and a legal requirement. This happens in other boroughs as well, with demographics changing rapidly now-a-days.We may have guessed what the state of play is but having an investigation lends credence. Instead of getting uptight,we should welcome the opportunity to address these important issues within our Local Authority,with a cool head,and make absolutely certain that we introduce and encourage practices and processes which help nurture a good environment for our staff .This will help them give off their best to serve our citizens.Surely,that is a win-win for all.Let's stop this senseless bickering and go for it! Let us put people before politics! Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -4

2:04pm Thu 17 Apr 14

diligaf says...

36 pages?? he must have large handwriting to write about nothing...
36 pages?? he must have large handwriting to write about nothing... diligaf
  • Score: -1

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