Church of England abandons plans to appoint 'racial justice officers'

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby who has shared a prayer for racial justice and equality in the church and in the nation. Welby wrote the prayer with Dr Sanjee Perera, Archbishops' adviser on minority ethnic Anglican concerns, for Racial Justice Sunday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby who has shared a prayer for racial justice and equality in the church and in the nation. Welby wrote the prayer with Dr Sanjee Perera, Archbishops' adviser on minority ethnic Anglican concerns, for Racial Justice Sunday.

The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce in April made 47 proposals to address institutional racism and improve diversity in an attempt to end a 'rut of inaction'

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The Church of England has scrapped plans to appoint 42 "racial justice officers", snubbing one of the recommendations made to tackle racism in the institution.

The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce in April made 47 proposals to address institutional racism and improve diversity in an attempt to end a “rut of inaction” spanning several decades.

It led to the Archbishop of Canterbury conceding people of colour had been “bullied, overlooked, undermined and excluded” within the Church.

With the taskforce warning a failure to act against racism would convince people the Church was “not serious about racial sin”, one recommendation was for paid, full-time racial justice officers to be employed in every diocese for a five-year term.

However, the idea has been scrapped, reportedly due to financial reasons.

The Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, said: “The Archbishops’ Council has concluded that it cannot support this recommendation in this formulation at this time, given the need to reduce costs in diocesan and national administration.

“The council understands the rationale for this recommendation and will do more work on how best to support racial justice across the country through a network of officers who would be suited to different contexts.

“The council will look at whether and how this might be supported in a different way as part of looking at funding priorities for the next [three years].”

The taskforce’s other recommendations included that shortlists for senior clergy should include at least one appointable minority ethnic candidate by September, with an expectation this occurs for all other jobs in the Church.

It is also calling for annual reporting on recruitment so bodies must provide “action or explain” as well as mandatory training in all dioceses to embed anti-racism practices.