London councils are tackling the problem of under represented ethnic minorities in their finance departments. Ethnic minorities account for 25% of London’s economically active population, but this is not reflected in senior finance posts. A recruitment drive encouraging applicants from underrepresented ethnic minorities into local government finance careers has produced 40% of trainees from this background.The trainees have each signed a four-year employment contract with one of the London boroughs included in the scheme and the individual employers will decide salary, funding levels and study leave. The trainees will join together to study the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Professional Accountancy Qualification three-year day release course at the CIPFA Education and Training Centre in central London. Their first modules will be Financial Accounting and Management Accounting.
The Society of London Treasurers , consisting of the finance directors from London’s 33 boroughs, launched the graduate recruitment drive in September 2003 with 17 boroughs taking on trainees. Rob Whiteman, SLT chairman and executive director of resources for the London Borough of Lewisham, said: “This is the first time that the London Boroughs have come together to jointly recruit finance graduates into their organisations and it has been a highly successful venture. We chose the CIPFA qualification because it is the most relevant accountancy qualification for a local government career.”