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    There’s no faith left in Trevor Phillips any more

    by Sunny on 20th July, 2009 at 4:59 am    

    The Guardian has a report on money being unacceptably used at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. But here’s the bit that caught my eye.

    There was dissent within the government equalities office over the decision to reappoint Phillips last week, with junior officials raising concerns about whether the organisation represented value for money, with its £70m annual budget.

    Two days later, the respected disability campaigner Lady Jane Campbell resigned. She was understood to be unhappy at Phillips’s reappointment although she made no public statement. Prof Francesca Klug, a human rights academic, and Sir Bert Massie, another leading disability rights campaigner, resigned on Saturday.

    Prof Klug is very respected and her resignation will be a huge blow to Phillips. I wonder if writer Ziauddin Sardar is also re-considering his position. Ben Summerskill from Stonewall is reported as re-considering his.

    In all the times I’ve heard him speak or read his stuff, I’ve not understood what exactly his vision is. But this is only partly about Trevor Phillips divisive style of politics and more that he is widely seen as a terrible manager. The CRE was a huge mess. A former employee told me once that policies had to be constructed from scratch after Phillips had already announced them all over the media. Now the EHRC has massive management issues, especially after Phillips was re-electedappointed for another three years. Phillips is meant to be a champion for the groups he’s trying to get equality for, not the government, and which is why he has so many detractors.

      |   Trackback link   |   Add to   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Race politics

    11 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Dan Dare — on 20th July, 2009 at 5:51 am  

      As an unreconstructed race hustler Phillips has had little if any empathy for the other groups which have been unceremoniously bundled into his portfolio. It’s an absolute scandal that this charlatan should have been entrusted with the reponsibility for representing some of the the most vulnerable people in our society, when it has been clear all along that he has only ever viewed the Equalities mega-quango as a device to provide supplementary aircover for his primary business interest, that of ethnic rent-seeking.

    2. Leon — on 20th July, 2009 at 11:31 am  

      Bit late now for this isn’t it Sunny? He’s already been re-appointed for another three years and I really can’t see him going anywhere. People can resign all they like but all that will do is give him the opportunity to bring in some new talent!

      A more pertinent question though would be, who exactly do you think should be running the EHRC and what should their vision be?

    3. Anon — on 20th July, 2009 at 12:05 pm  

      Just shows how right Ken Livingstone was to commit resources to campaigning against Phillips being appointed chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, doesn’t it? Will Andrew Gilligan now be writing an article denouncing the misuse of public money at the EHRC?

    4. zaffer — on 20th July, 2009 at 12:37 pm  

      I think people get a bit confused with the role of Trevor Phillips- he is the Chair of the organisation. The stuff that is coming out is due to bad management of the EHRC. People who have worked in medium to large organisations would know this.

    5. Leon — on 20th July, 2009 at 12:41 pm  

      True say Zaffer but that’s how political smears work isn’t it? People conveniently forget the actual situation in favour of a perception that suits their agenda…

    6. zaffer — on 20th July, 2009 at 12:50 pm  

      That’s true Leon but to me blogs and organisations like pp should be challenging the mainstream and actually looking deeper into the real causes and not pandering to the staus quo.

    7. damon — on 20th July, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

      What’s the problem with him again? That he’s a bad manager? Maybe he is, but I don’t really care enough about the inner workings of the EHRC to find out.

      The only thing I ever hear about that body is when something thay said is in the newspapers or being discussed on some Radio 5 Nicky Campbell type programme.

      I find him quite an interesting person, but I’d prefer him to be more high profile. You have to go looking on the internet to see all the stuff you might have missed about him, like the piece by Sunny Katwala did about him in CiF.

      And Phillips’ article in Prospect magazine that Katwala talks about, I found very interesting.
      Trevor Phillips is alright, (isn’t he?)

    8. cjcjc — on 20th July, 2009 at 4:13 pm  

      Well if there is such a thing as the race relations “industry” then Phillips’s company (of which he is still an owner though no longer a director) seems to fit the bill.

    9. Yahya Birt — on 20th July, 2009 at 5:02 pm  

      The problem with the CEHR may also be structural, so rather than all the strands working harmoniously under the rubric of equality and human rights, they may instead be relatively unused to working together (having come recently out of their own silos) with their various champions coming to grief over how to split up the budget and to decide which battles the CEHR should champion the most in the public debate. A sort of zero-sum game between incomensurate (in a philosophical sense) equalities, in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. The CEHR might have seemd like a reasonable-enough bureaucratic rationalization at the time, but in practice maybe it’s not working out so well.

      This is not to ignore the fact that there may be internal problems with spending controls, or that the commissioners don’t like Sir Trevor’s management style, but maybe some of this isn’t just down to who is in charge.

    10. Leon — on 20th July, 2009 at 6:01 pm  

      Good point although it’s not like there wasn’t criticism of the single equalities agenda which led to the consolidation of equality strands into the EHRC…

    11. bananabrain — on 21st July, 2009 at 8:59 am  

      yahya’s got a point - a quango created out of other quangos is unlikely to have been constructed along strategically sound lines, when political expediency was likely to have been at the bottom of it.

      of course, that too might not have been the result of trevor phillips’ influence as well, who knows? i certainly don’t. it would be a great job for a management consultant to fix though.



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