Ian Thomas is used to tough jobs. The former children’s services director at Rotherham council is now chief executive of Lewisham, a London borough facing huge financial pressure, including a £15.6m overspend on children’s services.
Only two areas of public service better reflect the UK population: social work and the NHS. Latest figures show that around one-fifth of social workers and NHS staff are from BAME backgrounds, although given that 42% of medics are not white, diversity in non-clinical NHS jobs is very much lower.
The lack of diversity is even more acute at senior levels. Judges, senior civil servants, chief constables and NHS chief executives are still predominantly white. In local government, according to last year’s Colour of Power report, none of the 108 chief executives of England’s largest councils was a BAME person.