The union for managers and professionals in public service
Home  >  News and media  >  News  >  FDA criticises government’s “absolutely illogical” decision on unconscious bias training
Friday 18 December 2020

FDA criticises government’s “absolutely illogical” decision on unconscious bias training

The FDA has branded the government’s decision to scrap unconscious bias training for civil servants as “absolutely illogical” and has criticised ministers for making the announcement without producing any proposals for what will replace it.

Speaking to the BBC’s Politics Live, FDA Assistant General Secretary Lucille Thirlby argued that the FDA has not been provided with any of the evidence on which the government says it has based the decision, despite being a recognised civil service trade union. Thirlby pointed out that there is significant evidence of bias leading to worse outcomes for those including BAME civil servants and civil servants with disabilities.

In comments picked up across media outlets, including by BBC News and the Guardian, Thirlby asked how the government is now going to ensure people are not discriminated against: “It's easier to attack something than do something positive about it.”

Writing for Left Foot Forward, Thirlby called for ministers to get a better understanding of how workplaces operate rather than tinkering around the edges of diversity strategy. She made clear that the FDA and fellow trade unions “are always happy to talk to the government and debate the evidence, but the driver for change must not be an ideology that regards diversity as a gimmick that costs taxpayers’ money.”

She added that “if the government really wants inclusive and diverse workplaces and communities, they must come forward with the proposals to prove it.”

6th May 2022
It has been another extraordinary year for the FDA. As the fastest growing union in the country, we have reached record levels of membership.
3rd May 2022
Scott Dobson outlines why the FDA chose to launch a legal challenge to the Prime Minister’s decision that the Home Secretary did not breach the Ministerial Code, and how the Court came to its rejection of the idea of different standards for ministers
Find us
FDA, Centenary House, 93-95 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1NL