Conservative ministers have spent more than £400,000 on ‘unconscious bias’ training, including from a consultancy that has previously used Disney characters to highlight issues.
Civil servants usually take compulsory courses every year that cover similar issues, however, an extra £416,644 has been spent on further face-to-face courses in the last two financial years it has been revealed.
The Department for Education allocated £92,500 to such lectures in the 2018-19 year, while the Department for Work and Pensions has paid £112,500 to the professional services firm KPMG for 720 staff to be trained.
The Home Office spent £54,080 on training 164 staff as part of two courses run by Civil Service Learning entitled ‘Unconscious Bias’ and ‘Unconscious Bias for Senior Civil Servants’, a Freedom of Information request by the TaxPayers’ Alliance disclosed.
Equality firm Challenge Consultancy received £38,000 from the Ministry of Justice for two of its advocacy courses, which were delivered as training sessions that spanned up to two days.
The Departments of Health, Business, Transport, and Digital, Culture Media and Sport spent a further combined total of £119,564.
A presentation, previously used by Challenge in its workshops, condemned the portrayal of ‘Peter Pan’ character Captain Hook, who has a severed hand, as ‘sinister’ in its ‘messages on disability’.
Challenge uses the slogan “if you have a brain, you have a bias” in its resources, and founder Femi Otitoju said in a 2019 interview she “only worked in order to be an activist”.
The company has previously come under fire after it was revealed that they used a blue puppet – ‘UB’, short for ‘unconscious bias’, during workshops.
Korn Ferry Hay, which advised the Department of Health staff, has said that “reducing bias and barriers to development significantly expands any employee’s productivity”.
However increased spending in this area has left a bitter taste in many MPs mouths, one Conservative backbencher claimed there was no scientific basis for the activities.
He said: “Ministers will be furious about how much officials are wasting on courses which the scientific evidence suggests do not work and may be harmful,
“The whole agenda behind these courses is highly divisive and sets people against each other rather than bringing people together. They are a terrible waste of poorer taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”
James Roberts, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers’ money should be focused on high-quality services, not wasted on woke causes.
“There are extensive laws in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace, and mega training programmes like this should not be required.
“When ministers start the hard work of getting the public finances under control, they should start with stripping back on these controversial courses.”
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Editor-in-Chief | Carl D. Pearson has been involved in British politics and media from an early age, with the key knowledge of what it takes to run a news organisation for the 21st century. Mr Pearson, as Editor-in-chief, is responsible for supervising the daily tasks of publishing media and content to UNN’s website and various platforms.