Too few 'ethnics' at GCHQ?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Unsworth, Jul 11, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Given that the chaps we are focusing so much of our energies on are based out of FATA and don't tend to speak Estuary English a grasp of Pashtu, Urdu, Uzbek, Dari or Arabic and the associated cultures would certainly be handy.

    You'd think GCHQ would be a somewhat more dusky place than urban London after nearly a decade of obsessing on threats from camel jockeys but it does not surprise its still too white bread to pass an equality audit. Big bureaucracies change really slowly.
     
  2. I always find GCHQ to be really PC and "on message". You tend to find that quite a few staff are locally recruited and Cheltenham hasn't got the widest ethnic spread. It also has the issue of having to move to the Cotswolds for the job, and that isn't too attractive to certain members of our multicultural rainbow nation. GCHQ, to me have no issues with employment of disabled staff, so I honestly think that this is down to a lack of ability in the Recruiting Office. There's a clear requirement for speakers of ME languages, and I don't think that there's an institutional issue at Chelters.
     
  3. Sorry if this seems a trifle frivolous but I would imagine that most new Britons arrive with the intention of earning as much money as humanly possible rather than merely eavesdropping on their sometime neighbours. Well, that is what most of my in-laws did.
    Second point, I suspect that the BBC and I see the world differently.

    B
     
  4. Not quite, eh?

    "The report says GCHQ has tried to improve its equality and diversity, but "the culture of the organisation has not been receptive to this" and it "is seen as a people issue which only applies to some people". It points out that there are no black or Asian senior managers.

    Several dozen ethnic minority intelligence officers were interviewed during its preparation, and among the complaints recorded was: "I wasn't born here and although I have been security cleared, I am constantly challenged about my loyalty to Britain by my colleagues."

    Another employee said: "The security officers ask questions which are culturally inappropriate, insensitive and offensive."

    A third said they felt that ethnic minority employees had to work harder than white colleagues "and for less reward".


    What has that to do with Operational Effectiveness? Clearly it's essential that native speakers of various languages work for GCHQ. But this article seems to indicate real discontent on their part. If that is so, can we be certain that they are doing a proper job - i.e. being Operationally Effective?
     
  5. Perhaps a degree of paranoia is part of the mindset for that sort of place - so openness and inclusivity are unlikely to be common traits among the workforce ?
     
  6. Another way of looking at it is to ask how many people from ethnic minorities are applying, and how many meet the grade. If there is a genuinely colour blind application process, then there isn't an issue. You can complain all you want about lack of BME staff, but if they can't do the job, then its right that they aren't recruited.

    There are wider considerations, such as the fact that many current potential ethnic minority staff have family histories with all sorts of challenges which would make it exceptionally difficult to get a DV on due to the real security concerns and potential for problems - if you are a first generation immigrant, its extremely difficult to identify what challenges are out there. It will take a few years for those people speaking languages of interest to develop strong enough ties that we can easily identify whether there is a risk or not.

    At the end of the day, I am more concerned with ensuring that we put staff into post who we know are unlikely to pose a security threat, or risk compromising some seriously secret kit / capabilities / information than I am with worrying about the diversity agenda. National security is too important to compromise on the altar of political correctness.
     
  7. Hmmm. An office filled with grey men. I'd rather have someone who was effective. It should be relatively simple to cross check their output and offset nuance/bias accordingly ? I'd guess that the majority of the work for new entrants would be basic interpretation anyway ?
     
  8. This is a good point. The guys they should be recruiting probably running a curry house #5 for Uncle Abdul and driving a Merc. A badly paid government snooping job with very high educational requirements and way out in the white bread sticks may not be very enticing.

    That we're killing off Uncle Abdul's relatives at a fair rate may also be a disincentive.
     
  9. Saladin

    The workforce there is anything but grey and innefective! There are very real issues relating to DVing people and ensuring they are not going to present a risk to national security - its not about being a stay at home trainspotter with no life, but it is about ensuring that proper background checks can be conducted to ensure there are no 'skeletons' lurking out there.

    DVing is a pragmatic business, and I've found that they will do what they can to make you pass it - but ultimately we are trying to ensure that the person we're putting into post isn't going to turn out to have ties to places we don't get on with.
     
  10. Indeed, look at SIS who had to turn loose 5(?) recruits last year when it was realized they're sympathies were for the away team.
     
  11. In the days of yore, when I worked for this lot and we intercepted signal traffic by shooting down carrier pigeons, background checks included the stipulation that your grandparents were born in the UK. OK, some divs like the ones that run the staff canteens may be able to recruit at a lower background level but it would seriously affect the promotion prospects through other departments. GCHQ has always had a high level of disabled personnel and, even before moving into the doughnut, had all the rooms and desks made disabled friendly (and that's going back 40 years!). One of the heads of shed in K that I worked with was in a wheelchair and ISTR his boss only had one arm. Sorry, this is defo a non-story.
     
  12. quote "Several dozen ethnic minority intelligence officers were interviewed during its preparation, and among the complaints recorded was: "I wasn't born here and although I have been security cleared, I am constantly challenged about my loyalty to Britain by my colleagues."

    Another employee said: "The security officers ask questions which are culturally inappropriate, insensitive and offensive."

    A third said they felt that ethnic minority employees had to work harder than white colleagues "and for less reward"."

    It would appear that "Trevor Phillips" of the biased EHRC has some followers in GCHQ trying to play the "race card"!
    FFS, GCHQ is a security organisation they should be recruiting the right people for the job, irrespective of race, colour or creed, HOWEVER if they (the applicants) feel that the vetting procedure is "culturally inappropriate, insensitive and offensive", then they are almost certainly NOT right for the job! After all they might possibly decide it was not "culturally appropriate, or sensitive" to report the truth about a coreligionists views on terrorism that they had overheard!!
     
  13. It is a good point - I'm certainly aware of one young British Asian who looked very carefully at a career in one of the agencies and decided in the end to do something more entrepreneurial in the family business.

    But there is also a problem of perception among the people that the agencies want to recruit. A while back I met a young man with the cultural and linguistic knowledge that the agencies are crying out for - a very bright, British to the core, devout Muslim who loathed what was being done in the name of his religion and was keen to do something about it. When I asked him if he had ever thought about joining one of the agencies he looked downcast and said words to the effect that he didn't think 'they would want people like him'. I pointed him at a couple of websites. I've lost touch, but I hope he made it.

    C_C

    P.S. any chance a mod could merge the two threads on this topic??