top of page

Unconscious bias training: A thing of the past?

16th December 2020

Over recent years, in light of raised awareness of systemic racism and as a response to deepening inequities, we saw a number of organisations, including government departments and public bodies, rushing to tick the box of unconscious bias training. But, as recent research shows there is a lack of evidence as to its effectiveness.

The fact of the matter is, unconscious bias training was created not as a solution for systemic bias, prejudice and discrimination but to target individuals and their ingrained worldviews and unconscious cognitive shortcuts. Furthermore, it was not designed by people who experienced and understood discrimination.

Research and reports by a number of organisations, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the CIPD (the professional body for Human Resource and People Development) and most recently a government review has found it to be ineffective.

It has lead to the government recently announcing the scraping of such training for civil servants in England; which in the last 5 years has estimated to have cost the public purse in the region of £370,000.

Halima Begum, chief executive of the