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Information Professional article featuring Dominic Cummings – an apology

10 June 2020  
Posted by: Nick Poole

As CILIP’s Chief Executive, my role carries with it both the opportunity to promote the good that we do and a duty to represent the values that unite us. It is a duty that I take very seriously and to which I am passionately committed.

I understand that I am in a position of privilege to serve and support this professional community and am accountable for how we use this platform on your behalf. That is why I would like to make a full and unreserved apology for the article recently published in Information Professional magazine featuring the views of Government adviser, Dominic Cummings and to recognise the hurt the article caused for librarians, information and knowledge management professionals from marginalised communities and their allies.

As the professional body for information professionals, we can and should always be aware of the impact of the choices we make – including whose voice we lend our platform to. While we are committed to intellectual freedom and must not succumb to no-platforming, we ought not to have given a platform to Cummings’ views without subjecting them to appropriate critique and contextualisation. In so doing, we failed to meet the editorial standards which we set ourselves. I want to acknowledge that we made a mistake in the way we presented the article and to apologise for that and the offence it has caused.

I appreciate that this apology has been a long time coming and that this will have compounded the offence caused. Our immediate response failed to understand the scale of the issue or to engage with its underlying causes. We have learnt from this and are committed to working with our fantastic professional community to do better in future.

We know that ultimately these issues arose because we failed to understand the lived experience of people in communities that are marginalised in our society.

My ambition, working with our Board of Trustees, is to lead an organisation that credibly and clearly drives positive change for our profession, including celebrating the achievements and promoting the success of librarians, information and knowledge management professionals from marginalised communities. We cannot do so until our actions match our words.

We have been listening, and will continue to listen, to all of you across our profession to ensure that we learn from this situation. I know that you rightly want and expect us to do better and we are in discussion with the Board of Trustees and our Diversity Networks to ensure that this incident leads to real change.

Published: 10 June 2020

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