Have reforms exacerbated existing tensions in the lead up to the largest civil disturbance in decades? Will public sector change fill disadvantaged pockets? Will BAME communities see change without real investment?

Experts and practitioners from the voluntary and community sector set out to answer these questions and chart the way forward in our latest edition of Agenda, 'Change for the Better? Government reforms and BAME communities.'

According to Editor Joy Francis, "Government reform was the biggest running news story so far this year until the alarming riots in London, the North West and parts of the Midlands became headline news."

Long before the onset of the disturbances, ROTA's evidence has highlighted concerns that sweeping reforms, in tandem with funding cuts, may be making life tougher for many on the bottom. Speaking at the time, ROTA CEO Elizabeth Henry said, "recession, cuts to 8 out of 13 youth programmes in Haringey alone and messages of a 'failed multiculturalism' have all contributed to stunt some of the progress made in achieving outcomes for disadvantaged people."

In Agenda, Issue 35, a series of thought provoking essays, from contributors such as Runnymede's Omar Khan and the Hibiscus' Olga Heaven MBE, reflect on the year leading up to the riots, measuring the fairness of reforms for BAME communities, young people, women, people with mental ill health and foreign nationals in prisons. Neil Reeder, from the Young Foundation, ends on a positive note, charting one possible way forward through increased social investment.

Access the online version of Agenda here. Order your free hard copy by contacting Saifur Valli.