Haringey Council has been criticised for having too few people from ethnic minorities in senior positions.

Sharon Grant, widow of the late MP Bernie Grant and chairman of Haringey Citizens' Advice Bureau, said the lack of ethnic diversity created a “perception” problem for people in Tottenham.

Although roughly half of the council's total staff are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds, Ms Grant said she is concerned the council's senior management is becoming less ethnically diverse than it was two decades ago.

The authority’s Tottenham regeneration team has no non-white members.

Mrs Grant said: “I’ve seen a diagram of the council’s top team and senior management and it’s a bit short on black and ethnic minorities.

"It's unacceptable for the senior management team to have so few black or ethnic minority members".

“I’d like to see council staff at a senior level be reflective to some extent of the community that it serves.

“Nobody is saying that white people can’t do the job, but people like to feel that those people who are running the services represent them.”

Census data shows that Tottenham has more than three times the number of people identifying as Black British than the London average.

Mrs Grant added: “It is a question of perception, and making sure that in our personnel processes we are as fair as we can be that we are attracting as wide a possible field.

“Obviously nobody is saying that just anyone should do the job, but there is first class black and ethnic minority talent out there – we know there is.

“There was a time where there weren’t people available at the right level, but that’s changed now.”

She added:  “In the early 80s the council was all white but by the early 90s it was very different. We were very proud of that.  If you walked into the council offices, you’d see a lot of black and Asian faces.

“There was a time when we were exemplary in that respect in Haringey, and we blazed a trail on the issues of that kind. We blazed a trail for equality of opportunity.

“If we’ve taken our eye off the ball in that respect I’d be very concerned."

A council document setting out information about Tottenham states that the area has “a higher than average of residents from ethnic backgrounds”.

It goes on to report that as the figures it uses are old, Tottenham is likely to now have even higher numbers of black and minority ethnic residents than census data suggests.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “Haringey’s senior leadership and Tottenham regeneration teams have a wealth of expertise and experience that enable them to deliver in the best interests of all of Haringey’s communities.

“We’re proud to be one of the largest local employers in Haringey with a workforce that represents the borough’s diversity – with around half of all staff coming from black and ethnic minority communities.

"Our commitment to equal opportunities and to the development of all staff is reflected through our equal opportunities policy.” 

Tottenham MP David Lammy declined to comment.