By Dr Minh Alexander NHS whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist 13 February 2019
Public Health England (PHE), as an executive agency of the government with oversight functions, should set an example.
It seriously failed to do so in the case of its former employee Public Health Consultant Dr Femi Oshin. An Employment Tribunal determined on 17 January 2017 that PHE had racially discriminated against Dr Oshin and constructively dismissed him. Most seriously, the ET concluded that PHE victimised Dr Oshin for raising concerns about Race discrimination. Despite attempts by PHE to cast aspersions, the ET concluded that there had been no contributory conduct by Dr Oshin:
The aftermath of the case rumbles on. Public Health England delayed in completing a review of its governance failure. It produced a voluminous report of October 2018 by Professor Parish a PHE NED, which was published in board papers of 21 November 2018. The report was accompanied by a submission from Capsticks LLP, counsel’s opinion from Old Square chambers, a ‘Management response’ document by PHE and annex D, a PHE document entitled: “Analysis of Appraisals, Employee Relations and Engagement by Ethnicity and Other protected Characteristics”:
I focus on Annex D of the Parish report, which starts at page 140 of the bundle and reassuringly states:
This is curious, because the same document gave PHE grievance data for 2018/19 year to date as follows. Page 145 of the bundle:
This gives 33% (11 of 33) BME grievances, which is higher than expected because PHE has approximately 18% BME staff:
Over two months after the publication of the Parish report, an FOI disclosure by PHE of 11 February 2019 gave different, lower grievance numbers for 2018/19 YTD, but a pattern of over-representation of BME staff in grievances since at least 2016/17:
Based on the above PHE FOI data, taking the whole period from 1 April 2016 to the present time, gives 32% BME grievances (25 of 78).
PHE claimed it held no central data for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Whatever the truth of the matter, it is disconcerting that PHE has released discrepant Race statistics for grievances even at this late stage.
It would also seem rather selective of PHE to only provide 2018/19 grievance figures in the Parish report, when the data from preceding years would also seem relevant to a picture of Race disadvantage.
The discrepancies have been questioned.