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Harrow Borough Council racism investigation cost £15,000
A total of £15,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent by Harrow Borough Council on an investigation into institutional racism.
The figure was revealed by a Freedom of Information request from former council candidate Dr Pravin Shah into the investigation by former police borough commander Dal Babu earlier this year.
The three-week investigation, set up by then leader of the council Susan Hall, officially found no evidence of institutional racism at the authority.
The investigation was called for by the Independent Labour Group, which said it had evidence of 30 members of staff who had experienced institutional racism.
However during the time of the review no member of the group came forward with any evidence of institutional racism.
Mr Babu did make nine recommendations to the council to build on employee relations and to meet the council’s goal of having a workforce representative of the Harrow community.
In reply to the request, Harrow Borough Council said: “The cost of the investigation was £15,000, which is the fixed price agreed with the Investigator for the review work, and additional costs not exceeding £600 for such things as off-site room hire.”
Dr Shah and former councillor Husain Akhtar, are both now part of the Harrow Monitoring Group.
The group said: “We deplore the waste of public money on the investigation that adds nothing to what was already known.”
Mr Akhtar added: “We repeatedly reminded the Harrow Council that if it takes its duty and equalities policy seriously and really wishes to investigate the allegations of racism, they need to do it objectively and not as a politically processed paper exercise to please some.”
A spokesman for Harrow Council said: “Harrow Council takes its equalities policy very seriously, so when allegations of racism inside the organisation were made, we had a clear duty to investigate them.
“To do that in a thorough and independent way, we commissioned a former senior police officer with a national track record in diversity and race issues.
“The investigation involved sifting claims and sensitive information around various alleged incidents and interviewing a number of staff.
“The fee agreed was proposed by the successful candidate and was a one-off cost for delivering a comprehensive report in a limited timescale.
“Other candidates proposed a longer timescale and consequently a higher fee. We believe the cost agreed strikes a fair balance between the obligation to investigate serious allegations and the need to limit costs for the taxpayer.”
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