One of the issues that we discussed at this weeks staff meeting was complying with our QAF in relation to diversity and inclusion. Tessa, our manager, was quite concerned that we are currently not demonstrating a high enough standard of compliance with this QAF. In particular, she highlighted the fact that our project rarely has any people from an ethnic minority background. This is due to the fact that when we do have someone from an ethnic background they tend to work hard, save their money and then move in to private accommodation as soon as they can. This is after all our ostensible goal, to support young people in to independent living. Perhaps we should ask them to stay so that we can comply with our QAF re how many people with tans or who are practising Zoroastrians are residing with us?
Anyway, I had a pretty surreal conversation with Tessa which reveals how well intentioned policies can often degenerate into a farce.
“Well guys, I’ve been looking at our QAF in relation to diversity and we really need to be able to demonstrate more that we can do to ensure that ethnic minorities have fair access to our service. The local ethnic minority population is about two percent, but we don’t consistently have two percent of our residents coming from an ethnic minority background. We need to be able to explain why this is the case and evidence that we have tried to turn this around,” states Tessa.
“First of all, if our target is two percent then we only need to have 1.2 of our residents consistently coming from an ethnic background. Tariq will suffice as one whole ethnic person, and Zara’s granddad was a Hungarian Jewish refugee during the war so that might make up the 0.2 percent we need, as she is partially a foreigner,” I quip facetiously. “However,” I continue, “perhaps the reason, we never get that many ethnic minority applications is that the few ethnic groups we have living in the community are still quite bound by familial obligations and would never dream of offloading their offspring on to the burden of the state, I may be wrong, but it’s just a thought.”
Tessa, isn’t too pleased with my irreverent tone. I hate all this QAF stuff. It patronises the very people it purports to want to help.
“Anyway, we need to get in touch with various ethnic community groups and provide them with the information about our service. We need to document and record the contact with these organisations as evidence that we are trying to promote fair access for all in the community. I really want us to consistently reflect the ethnic diversity as well as the gender make up of the community,” states Tessa.
This gets me thinking, how in the hell are we to contrive reflecting the ethnic makeup of the community within our project? Are we to descend upon the local Indian restaurants in the evening with brochures promoting our project and asking the owner to consider sending some of his children to live with us when they turn sixteen in order to prove that our organisation isn’t secretly run by Nick Griffin?
Many ethnic minority groups in the UK today are from traditional and religiously conservative backgrounds which can produce a whole load of other social pathologies. However, to their credit, they see the family and not the state as the central unit of society.
Do you think they would want to see their young living in a project with rampant drug and alcohol abuse, abortion as a form of contraception, high rates of teenage pregnancy and STDs, domestic violence, inertia and criminal activity? Somehow, I think a place like our project is the last place many families would want to see their young living in whether from an ethnic minority or not.
If I were from an ethnic minority background I would wear it as a badge of honour that my community were not availing of such a service to the extent of the indigenous underclass, if any thing it would be a mark of integrity to have nothing to do with our project rather than an indication of being discriminated against.