Call for investigation into sector's diversity deficit

Victor Adebowale, chief executive of Turning Point, is demanding an inquiry into why the sector is failing to employ and promote minorities among its workforce following a Third Sector survey of diversity at the top level.

Adebowale said the NCVO and Acevo should launch an investigation after the survey found that only one chief executive of the top 50 charities is non-white and only one has a disability. It also shows that charity chief executives are more likely to have been to public school and university than the population as a whole.

Adebowale said: "I think there should be a wide-ranging inquiry led by the NCVO and Acevo, because it's pretty serious. Then there should be a series of national recommendations.

"There are organisations that have never knowingly employed a black person at a senior level and never will. They'll claim it's because black people don't apply, but that's just an excuse. I think there's a danger we could end up with a kind of professional apartheid."

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said the problem was in the make-up of trustee boards that appoint chief executives, but a cadre of black chief executives was coming through the ranks: "At our recent training, 30 per cent of participants were black chief executives."

Lai-Har Cheung of the workforce hub, based at NCVO, said charities should review whether they reflect local diversity.

- See feature, page 26.

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