Citizens Advice East End responds to training documents published by national Citizens Advice
The Board and staff at Citizens Advice East End are extremely concerned at reports that a training document adopted by national Citizens Advice has been found to have unacceptable, racist, content.
What was expressed in this document is entirely contrary to our values and we deplore it. We unreservedly reject the assumptions underlying the document; they are offensive to the local users of our services and also to the staff and volunteers at our offices who deliver them.
Citizens Advice East End is a local independent self-governing charity. We are BAME-led and most of us, staff and volunteers, are from BAME communities. We are diverse, inclusive, non-judgemental and committed to serving and empowering our clients. While Citizens Advice East End is a member of the Citizens Advice national network, we were not involved in the preparation of this training document,we had never previously seen it and we have never used it for training at our organisation. This document in no way reflects the work that we do and the help and support we give to local people in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham. We stand by our equality strategy for 2015 to 2020 and we:
- Challenge discrimination through advice
- Champion equality through research and campaigns
- Value diversity as an employer and volunteer agency
The document appears to have been published by national Citizens Advice without any consultation with the local associations. Citizens Advice have now withdrawn the document. Their CEO, Gillian Guy, has apologised unreservedly, and they are investigating how it came to be published. We welcome this as we feel strongly that this document goes against the grain of the core values that the national Citizens Advice network embodies.
We are raising our concerns directly with Citizens Advice, because we want to know how the document originated, how it has been used, and how Citizens Advice will change their processes to ensure that a similar situation can never happen again. We will also seek reassurance that Citizens Advice’s processes and culture reflect these core values of equality, diversity and anti-discrimination, and that they share the same commitment to diversity that we have in the East End.