Medway Conservatives voted against a Medway Labour & Co-operative motion to implement fairer recruitment practices at Full Council on Thursday 23rd January.
Cllr Harinder Mahil’s motion called on Medway Council to implement a “name-blind” recruitment policy, which would remove the name from all job applications to reduce the chances of unconscious bias from impacting decision making during recruitment.
This low-cost and non-controversial measure is considered best practice, and is already used by the NHS, BBC, HM Civil Service, Deloitte, and countless other organisations.
Unfortunately, Medway Conservatives felt they had been personally insulted by the implication that they were subject to unconscious bias, and voted the motion down.
'Medway Conservatives are so blinded by party politics that they can’t bring themselves to implement a common sense policy that will help make Medway Council a better place.’ Cllr Harinder Mahil, Medway Labour & Co-op Councillor for Chatham Central
Cllr Harinder Mahil, Medway Labour & Co-op Councillor for Chatham Central said, ‘”Name-blind” recruitment is already considered best practice by a whole host of employers, and is in fact so uncontroversial that it has been Conservative Party policy since 2015.
‘Countless studies have shown that, with the same CV, work history, and education, a ‘John’ will beat a ‘Jamal’ for an interview two times out of three. This is due to a phenomenon known as ‘unconscious bias’, which in this context essentially means that people, without meaning to, have a bias in favour of names they are familiar with. We all do it, no matter who you are or where you are from.
‘This policy is a win-win for employers and job-seekers alike, it doesn’t just prevent unconscious discrimination, it protects the Council from legal challenge and makes it more likely that the best people for the job will be invited to interview, resulting in a stronger workforce and higher productivity – it just makes good economic sense.
‘The truth is that if this motion itself had been “name-blind”, without the name of a Labour councillor attached, it would have passed at full council. Medway Conservatives are so blinded by party politics that they can’t bring themselves to implement a common sense policy that will help make Medway Council a better place.’
Medway Tories are happy to ignore what HR and industry professionals, countless studies, and even their own party call best employment practice, over imagined slights and their misguided impression that they know best about everything Cllr Naushabah Khan, Medway Labour Councillor for Gillingham South and Shadow Cabinet member for Employment
Cllr Naushabah Khan, Medway Labour Councillor for Gillingham South and Shadow Cabinet member for Employment, who seconded the motion said, ‘The fact that Conservative Councillors are offended by the implication that they are not exempt from unconscious bias is frankly embarrassing.
‘Medway Conservatives denying the existence of discrimination and accusing the practice of “name-blind” recruitment as “political correctness gone mad” is a poor reflection on their character, and reveals just how ridiculously thin-skinned Councillor Jarrett and his Conservative Councillors really are.
‘To top this off, Medway Council have released a report stating that, once again, the gender pay gap at Medway Council has increased since last year. There is a culture among Conservatives on Medway Council of refusing to accept that interventions can be made to improve Medway Council as an employer. Medway Tories are happy to ignore what HR and industry professionals, countless studies, and even their own party call best employment practice, over imagined slights and their misguided impression that they know best about everything.’
The motion reads as follows:
Councillor Mahil, supported by Councillor Khan, submitted the following:
As an employer, Medway Council recognises more can be done to prevent discrimination and unconscious bias during each stage of recruitment.
One proven method for preventing employment discrimination in the early stages of recruitment is to adopt a “name-blind” application process, wherein the names of applicants are not disclosed.
This Council notes that:
- Name blind recruitment is a positive step to reduce discrimination in employment;
- Name blind recruitment assists in reducing both gender and racial bias in initial recruitment stages;
- Name blind recruitment helps reduce legal risks to employers;
- Name blind recruitment has been effectively implemented in numerous organisations, including the UK Civil Service and UCAS.
This Council resolves:
- To adopt a name-blind recruitment policy in order to reduce unconscious bias during the recruitment process.
Name blind recruitment is considered best practice by HR professionals and most good employers: