The Observer has been told that significant sections of the report published on 31 March, which were criticised and debunked by health professionals, academics, business chiefs and crime experts, were not written by the 12 commissioners who were appointed last July.
The 258-page document was not made available to be read in full or signed off by the group nor were they made aware of its 24 final recommendations. Instead, the finished report, it is alleged, was produced by No 10.
One commissioner, who spoke out on condition of anonymity, accused the government of “bending” the work of its commission to fit “a more palatable” political narrative and denying the working group the autonomy it was promised.
“We did not read Tony’s [Sewell] foreword,” they claimed. “We did not deny institutional racism or play that down as the final document did. The idea that this report was all our own work is full of holes. You can see that in the inconsistency of the ideas and data it presents and the conclusions it makes. That end product is the work of very different views.”
The group, led by Sewell, was set up by Samuel Kasumu, No 10’s most senior black special adviser, who resigned from his post on the day the report was published, aghast at its final findings.
Accusations that Munira Mirza, director of No 10’s policy unit, was heavily involved in steering the direction of the supposedly independent report were not addressed by a No 10 spokesperson.
A source involved in the commission told the Observer that “basic fundamentals in putting a document like this together were ignored. When you’re producing something so historic, you have to avoid unnecessary controversy, you don’t court it like this report did. And the comms was just shocking.”
While the prime minister sought to distance himself from the criticism a day after its publication, unusually it was his office rather than the Cred secretariat which initially released the report to the press.