Union raises racism fears around NCT practitioners assessments

The Independent Workers for Great Britain union has raised concerns around alleged changes to the way pracitioners are assessed at the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), claiming it will lead to discrimination against black and ethnic minority practitioners.

The IWGB Charity Workers branch has launched a petition complaining about the, which it alleges has seen the withdrawal of trained peer assessment, leaving client feedback as the key measure of the quality of their work.

This move “leads to humiliating and threatening monitoring practices which in some cases go on for a period of a year or more,” says the union.

“A practitioner could teach 1,000 people a year and 30 of them rate the course negatively. These processes are damaging practitioners' mental health and wellbeing.”

It adds: “This process is critically impacting black and brown practitioners, who are likely to receive more negative feedback than their white counterparts.

“When practitioners should be protected from racist clients, they are instead seeing racially biased feedback being used as a means of excessive monitoring and even threats to have their licence to practice removed.”

The union is inviting all NCT practitioners and supporters to sign the petition. Once 50 names have been gathered it will be sent to the charity’s management.

An NCT spokesperson said: "At NCT, we have zero tolerance for bullying, harassment, racism or any other form of discrimination.

“We would encourage anyone who has experienced any such behaviour or practice to get in touch, so that we can work together to investigate, identify actions, learn from experiences and find positive resolution.

“Our mission is to support all parents through the first 1,000 days to have the best possible experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. We are committed to providing the best experience for new parents at this critical time. As a consequence, we regularly evaluate, review and report parents’ feedback to ensure the highest levels of service and support to parents. We have not withdrawn assessments by trained peers – these remain an important part of our quality measures.

“At NCT we are committed to raising awareness and tackling the critical issue of racial inequality in maternal outcomes. We are involved in a range of community and campaigning activity to support change for women on this very important issue.”

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