ISSUE 51 - January 2012
Policy E-Newsletter
 

 

In this issue:
Boris Johnson launches inquiry into London schools

Public Sector Training: Public Sector and the Equality Act 2010

London Councils consultation

Seminar series: Shaping the future: Race and racism in 21st century Britain

Volunteering opportunities with the Tamil oral history project

 
Children, young people and schools

Call for evidence: Office of the Children's Commissioner's Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups (CSEGG)

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has launched a two year enquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups, which will be conducted under the Children’s Commissioner powers laid out in the Children’s Act 2004.


The call for evidence (which has now closed) forms part of the information gathering process. ROTA has submitted evidence to the Inquiry.

You can see the response here.

Boris Johnson launches inquiry into London schools

On 11 November the Mayor of London announced a new education inquiry aimed at exploring the critical challenges facing London's primary and secondary schools. Key issues will be: How to support schools to continue to drive up standards; Meeting the demand for good school places; Increasing investment in school buildings and supporting the growth of academies and free schools; Encouraging more partnerships between state schools and independent schools, businesses and charitable or cultural organisations; Tackling underachievement of particular ethnic groups, boys and those from disadvantaged backgrounds; Driving school improvement and keeping class sizes to maximum of 30 pupils; Increasing take up of key subjects such as Languages and STEM (Science, Technology and Maths) to ensure London’s workforce are skilled for the future economy; Exploring the role of vocational education, careers support for future work; Provision of after school clubs and supplementary education.

ROTA, the Runnymede Trust and the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education will be working together to ensure this Inquiry considers the inequalities faced by London’s BAME children and young people in education, highlighting the key role supplementary schools play in addressing these.

To find out more and to work with us in responding to this Inquiry please contact Barbara Nea, Senior Policy Officer on barbara@rota.org.uk or tel: 020 7842 8531.

To read the Mayor of London's press release about the Inquiry here.

NRCs online database of supplementary schools goes live

NRC has launched a new online database of supplementary schools. Over 2,700 organisations from across England are listed by region and local authority. The database includes detailed information on the schools, including curriculum subjects and languages taught, additional activities, number of pupils, level of Quality Framework reached and contact details. To access the database please click here.


 
Criminal justice and mental health

Ending Gang and Youth Violence

Dr Elizabeth Henry, ROTA’s CEO, is a member of the Home Office’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence Advisory Group. The aim of the group is to support the Ending Gang and Youth Violence Strategy.

The cross-government report, published on 1 November 2011, sets out detailed plans to make this happen through:

  • providing support to local areas to tackle the problem

  • preventing young people becoming involved in violence in the first place, with a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention

  • pathways out of violence and the gang culture for young people wanting to make a break with the past

  • punishment and enforcement to suppress the violence of those refusing to exit violent lifestyles

  • partnership-working to join up the way local areas respond to gang and other youth violence

A summary of the report and a more detailed version including further evidence and good practice case studies are available here.

GLA developing a strategic framework for girls and women gang associated.

The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) has been commissioned by the GLA to develop a strategic framework with minimum standards for girls affected by criminal gangs and serious youth violence in London. WRC have brought together key organisations as an Expert Advisory Group to the development of the framework. Rahana Mohammed, Head of Policy represents ROTA on the Expert Advisory Group. The report is due in March 2012 and is linked to the GLA’s Violence Against Women’s Strategy. The Way Forward which can be viewed here.

Changes on the London Criminal Justice Scene

During the first month of 2012 we have seen a number of changes and plans taking place across the criminal justice arena. Boris Johnson, as Mayor of London, become the first Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales, at the same time the Metropolitan Police Service have commenced the development of a new strategy to tackle gang-related crime and serious youth violence. Amongst all this the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill weaves it way through Parliament.

However, in a month when we have seen levels of confidence in the police put under the microscope, particularly in the wake of two people convicted of the heinous murder of Stephen Lawrence, the Metropolitan Police have signalled plans to alter the way in which it operates its section 60, stop and search tactics. Section 60 gives powers which allow the Police to Stop and Search the public without reasonable suspicion.

The Macpherson report 13 years ago highlighted the tensions caused by stop and search due to the disproportionate number of BAME people who these powers were used on. Criticism of the powers has remained, not least due to the low arrest rate following a stop, currently at 6%. New Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, has stated he would like to see these powers used more effectively.

The Met commented that, “Bernard Hogan-Howe, wanted the arrest rate from all stop and searches carried out to increase from 6% (at this rate the lowest for an urban force) to 20%”.

One method mentioned as part of the reform is to target serious offenders. Although this has its merits, it cannot be guaranteed that a greater focus on more serious offenders to improve the ratio of stop and search activity to actual arrests, will automatically settle problems or shift responsibility from equality and rights. In particular, responsibility of equality has waned with the supposed removal of ‘red tape’ resulting in changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). Changes to PACE have now reduced the data captured during stop and search activity restricting the option to assess the validity of allegations of harassment and abuse. So, although some changes will be welcome, problems of uncertainty, suspicion, confidence and trust are likely to remain unless rigorous oversight and scrutiny can take place on data which is now not being recorded.

Stephen Lawrence Trial

Two men have been convicted of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were found guilty of murder by a jury at the Old Bailey. In a struggle that has spanned the 18 years since Stephen’s murder, Stephens’s parents campaigned for justice and in so doing unwittingly exposed the horrible truth of racism and hate crime in Britain.

The Government appointed MacPherson’s inquiry highlighted the failure of the police investigation into Stephen’s murder as well as wide spread institutional racism within public institutions.

The inquiry made far reaching recommendations for policing and the criminal justice system.

In the wake of the trial, ROTA is currently hosting a series of local road shows entitled “Shaping the future: Race and racism in 21st century Britain”.

For further information regarding the events please click here.

For further media articles related to the conviction please see the links below:

BBC News | The Guardian | The Voice


 
Equality Act 2010 update and Training

Public Sector Training: Public Sector on the Equality Act 2010

22nd February, London

The Equality Act 2010 is the most significant overhaul of equality legislation in more than 35 years; key provisions came into force on 1st October 2010 and 5th/6th April 2011. Although to some extent, the Act harmonises and simplifies existing legislative anti-discrimination and equality protections, it also introduces new provisions and clarifies the law in important areas.

ROTA has developed an interactive training course that will equip public bodies in understanding the new Public Sector Equality Duty (Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010) and associated specific equality duties. This course will provide an opportunity to explore the importance of the new PSED, the new due regard requirements contained in the Public Sector Equality Duty and the new specific equality duties; it will also highlight key trends and lessons from key public sector equality duty legal cases. If you would like further information on this training contact anthony@rota.org.uk.


 
National and Regional news

London Councils consultation

London Councils has launched another consultation on the future of its grants scheme.

It is proposing to further reduce this scheme, which for years has funded the voluntary and community sector to address inequalities in London. A significant proportion of the fund has been targeted at disadvantaged BAME communities.

Councillors will need to set the budget for the 2012-13 scheme at the end of January 2012, when the consultation is still underway, and this is likely to see a further cut to reduce the overall budget from £26 milllion in 2009-10 to £8 million in 2013-14.

ROTA will continue to engage in the work of the Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF), who have been leading a 2 year campaign around this issue. We agree with VSF’s recommends that:

  • full consideration should be given to priority setting and agreement reached (based on identified needs and consultation) before any further budget reductions are made;

  • comprehensive equality analysis should be conducted to assess the impacts of changes;

  • all current commissions should be extended to March 31st 2013, when the new funding priorities are introduced, to ensure that service users are not left with gaps in provision, groups can plan for 2012-13 and London Councils has sufficient time to develop and implement the start of the new round of the Scheme in 2013;

  • future funding should remain on a four-year basis to provide stability for service users; and

  • that London Councils arranges an open public meeting for other London funders of the voluntary and community sector and the groups affected to discuss its plans for the future of the Grants Scheme.

ROTA will submit a response to this consultation urging London Councils to maintain its focus on London’s most marginalised communities. If you would like to engage in the consultation, but do not have the capacity to submit an individual response, we would welcome any contributions to ours. For more information, please contact Barbara Nea, Senior Policy Officer, on e: barbara@rota.org.uk or t: 020 7842 8531.

Read ROTA’s response to London Councils previous two consultations on its grants scheme on the publications pages of our website at www.rota.org.uk.

Find out more about the consultation here.

The consultation deadline is 5pm on Friday 23 March 2012.

It's your vote, don't lose it

BAME groups have been underrepresented in the election process, they have traditionally not taken up the right to vote and thus have less voice/influence in planning/decision making structures. ROTA believes that it is very important to exercise your right to vote, and supports the work of The Electoral Commission.

On Thursday 3 May local elections will take place in Scotland and Wales and in some local councils in England. Elections will also take place for the Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly.

The Electoral Commission will be launching a public awareness campaign in March to encourage people to register to vote. So look out for the adverts on television, online and in the newspapers, and listen out for a rather nostalgic radio advert.

The deadline for registering to vote in these elections is 18 April. To check if you are registered you should contact your local electoral registration office. You can find their contact details on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. If you're registered to vote, you should receive a poll card through the post with details of where to vote. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm, so you'll have plenty of time to vote on the day.

 
Events and Training

Seminar series: Shaping the future: Race and racism in 21st century Britain

Is there an elephant in the room? If we live in a post-racial society, why do certain ethnic groups continue to experience disadvantage? This seminar series, launched in November 2011 to coincide with the retrial into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, will debate these questions and seek to identify solutions to persistent and emerging inequalities faced by BAME children, young people and their families.

Seminars will take place in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey and Islington.

Each seminar will begin with a range of experts presenting their views on what needs to be done to progress race equality. Seminar Chairs will then facilitate solutions-focused discussions with panellists and participants, including representatives of the BAME voluntary, community and statutory sectors with roles and responsibilities relating to children and young people.

To find out more and to book a place, please click here.


 
Tamil oral history project

Volunteering opportunities with the Tamil oral history project

'Through the generations: Tamil stories young and old',a one-year oral history project supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, is currently recruiting volunteers to help document the narratives and experiences of the Tamil community in London.

The project, jointly delivered by Race on the Agenda and the Tamil Community Centre, is looking for volunteers with an interest in oral history, Tamil history and culture, diaspora and migration studies, social media, documentary film or social policy to join our mixed-media research team. Volunteer placements are part-time, unpaid positions, although lunch and travel expenses will be reimbursed within reasonable limits.

ROTA is a research and social policy organisation focused on race equality in health, education and criminal justice. The Tamil Community Centre provides advice and information for Tamil speaking migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

For more information, or to register your interest, please contact Ryan Mahan, Project Officer: ryan@rota.org.uk or 0207 842 8535.

Celebrate Poomaalai 2012 with the Tamil oral history project

The Tamil Community Centre, Hounslow is hosting its sixth annual Harvest Festival celebration in Hounslow on Saturday 18 February. Doors open at 5:00pm and entry is free.

Join in the festivities and learn more about the Tamil oral history project, a one-year oral history project supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For more information, please visit our website.

 




 

Race on the Agenda
c/o Voluntary Sector Centre, International Press Centre
76 Shoe Lane London EC4A 3JB
Tel: 020 7842 8533 Fax: 020 7842 8535

Email: rota@rota.org.uk

 

 


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About the newsletter
Our policy newsletter provides a monthly update on developments under our three policy priorities  health, education and criminal justice  as well as from our policy projects which fall under these areas. It also provides a more general update, from ROTA and MiNet, on London policy developments which are likely to impact on BAME communities.