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Justin Varney: ‘Discrimination is a public health issue’

Local government needs to move away from “homogenised” approaches to equalities to one that recognises differences between communities, one of the country’s leading public health directors has said.

Justin Varney is DPH at Birmingham City Council and is developing a “cultural intelligence framework” to foster “cultural competency” among the workforce.

“It’s not good enough to say black,” he told LGC. “It’s actually not good enough to just say African because when you start to dig into the number of different African nation populations [in Birmingham], our largest African population is Somali, followed by Nigerian, Ghanaian and then Eritrea. These are all in thousands of households and they are completely different countries.”

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