April 2009    Issue 27

March was an especially busy month for ROTA. We have now moved into our new premises at Waterloo Business Centre, Unit 217 & 208, 117 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UL. Tel 020 7902 1177. Many thanks for bearing with us for two weeks. We are also pleased to announce that Pavan Dhaliwal has now been appointed as ROTA’s permanent Head of Policy. Also MiNet is recruiting for a full time Co-ordinator, see www.rota.org.uk for details.

Our policy work continued with the successful launch of the London Councils funded Transformative Justice Project (TJP) . The event focussed on the 10 year anniversary of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, with high profile speakers including Trevor Phillips, Chair of the EHRC, Dru Sharpling, Chief Crown Prosecutor at the CPS and Doreen Lawrence, mother of the late Stephen Lawrence. In attendance were representatives from the statutory, private and third sectors, working in the area of criminal justice. For more details see www.rota.org.uk. ROTA and HEAR also responded to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission consultation on it’s forthcoming Strategic Plan and Grants programme. ROTA chief Executive, Theo Gavrielides and Head of Policy, Pavan Dhaliwal along with Runnymede Trust Chief Executive Rob Berkerley, representing the Winning the Race Coalition had a promising meeting with the Solicitor General Vera Baird last month to discuss concerns with the forthcoming Single Equality Bill, details of which can be found on the ROTA website.

In this issue:
01 Equality and Human Rights Policy
02 Education Policy
03 Criminal Justice Policy
04 Community Empowerment and Cohesion Policy
05 Health Inequalities
06 MiNet and London Policy News
07 BAME Third Sector Policy News


1. Equality and Human Rights Policy

‘Winning the Race’ Coalition Update

The ROTA led ‘Winning the Race’ Coalition comprises of third Sector organisations supporting ROTA’s concerns with the forthcoming Single Equality Bill. Within weeks the Coalition gained great support from across the equalities sector. Representatives from the Coalition recently met with the Solicitor General and hope to meet Ministers soon to discuss concerns relating to the Bill. The outcome from the meeting with the Solicitor General was positive and there was a promise of further support and engagement with the Coalition. To find out more about the meeting and the coalition click HERE.

For further details contact Dr Theo Gavrielides (theo@rota.org.uk) or Pavan Dhaliwal (pavan@rota.org.uk) on 0207 902 1177

Single Equality Bill Update

Vera Baird has confirmed that Ministers expect to publish the Equality Bill during April but after the Easter parliamentary recess. This means it is likely to be published between April 20th to the 30th, with second reading in May. The Bill will start in the Commons. For more information contact Pavan Dhaliwal on pavan@rota.org.

Government consultation on tackling race inequality in the UK

ROTA will be responding to the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on its future approach to tackling race inequality in the UK. We will be collecting evidence and members are encouraged to send their thoughts on the discussion document to be included in the ROTA submission. The race discussion document has been published which aims to start answering three important questions about race equality: What should a government race equality strategy look like? How does tackling race inequality fit with a broader equality and fairness agenda and how do we strengthen our society to tackle race inequalities? Alongside the written responses the CLG are embarking on a 'Tackling Race Inequalities' listening tour across nine cities with Hazel Blears and Sadiq Khan addressing local communities and gathering views on the way forward with the Race Strategy.

For more details, click HERE or visit be-utd.org. For more details about the ROTA submission and giving evidence, contact Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@rota.org.uk.

Confidence Fears at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as Commissioners Step Down

Nicola Brewer, Chief Executive of the EHRC, Patrick Diamond, Head of Strategy and Commissioner Kay Hampton have all stepped down from their positions at the Commission. ROTA has been aware of the lack of confidence across the BAME Third Sector in regards to the work and direction of the commission since it opened it’s doors and hopes that this latest news will not have a negative impact on the work that the EHRC will be going on to do, and we will be monitoring progress.

EHRC Strategic Plan Consultation

ROTA and HEAR responded to the second and final phase of the EHRC Strategic Plan consultation. ROTA in both phases of the consultation emphasised the need for a specific focus on the needs of BAME communities in terms of specific inequalities to be embedded into the Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan will inform the direction and priorities of the Commission for the next three years. The final plan will be published this month. For responses see www.rota.org.uk.

Government Publishes Green paper on Rights and Responsibilities: Developing Our Constitutional Framework

ROTA and HEAR will be responding to the Government Green Paper which suggests that a bill of rights should extend the coverage of the Human Rights Act to social and economic rights such as free healthcare, a position that ROTA is fully in support of. However the Green Paper does not propose making these rights legally enforceable in the courts and it is unclear whether the Bill would subsume the Human Rights Act or preserve it as a separate Act. There is a fear that the Government’s focus on individuals' responsibilities appear to have lost sight of its own responsibilities to give equal moral and legal weight to all the fundamental human rights including health, education and housing.

EHRC on Gypsy and Traveler Communities

The EHRC have published ‘Inequalities experienced by Gypsy and Traveler communities: A review’. The report reviews the available information about the severe inequalities that Gypsies and Travelers face in Britain today. It draws on a wide range of sources, including published literature, the results of Gypsy and Traveler Accommodation Assessments and a specially designed consultation. The Commission also published ‘Gypsies and Travelers - simple solutions for living together’ on 18 March 2009. ROTA will also be doing work specifically in the area of health inequalities faced by these groups and Irish communities. For the full report visit www.equalitiesandhumanrights.org. For previous work done by ROTA with a focus on gypsy and traveler communities contact Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@rota.org.uk.

2. Education Policy

Back on Track – Making improvements to Alternative Education Provision

On the 25th March, London Councils launched its Pan London ‘Back on Track’ programme funded by Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). The project aims to improve the quality of alternative provision for children and young people excluded from mainstream education. The project has identified specific workstrands to focus on to improve provision, including pupil and staff safety and has highlighted the fact that 6 PRU’s have been marked as outstanding by Ofsted. It seeks to support PRUs to all reach this standard and work with partners in the third sector to better alternative provision across London. ROTA will be engaging the this work as it develops and encourages other third sector to do the same, especially given the disproportionate number of Black, Irish Traveler and Gypsy children who are excluded from mainstream education. For more information on the project please click HERE.


3. Criminal Justice Policy

Effective Commissioning to Reduce Reoffending

ROTA contributed to the 'What Works in Local Commissioning - a 360º perspective' which was launched in March. It is the latest Clinks publication featuring a collection of case studies of services for offenders covering homelessness, unemployment (specific focus on BAME services), substance misuse, and dual diagnosis. Each service is examined from a commissioner, provider, and user perspective. Key issues and recommendations are identified in the report, which can be downloaded at www.clinks.org/publications For details on the ROTA case study report please contact pavan@rota.org.uk.

London Serious Youth Violence Board Launched

On Thursday 26th March the London Youth Crime Prevention Board (LYCPB) launched its report ‘Safer Young London’ which outlined the work that the board had completed over the course of its existence and ushered in the newly created London Serious Youth Violence Board (LSYVB) that will now be taking this work forward. The LSYVB, chaired by Darra Singh, will focus on six work streams including focusing on priority areas and groups, making links between serious youth violence and safeguarding and measuring progress in the desire outcomes set out by the LYCPB. ROTA will be feeding in the findings of its Building Bridges Project as well as its current Female Voice in Violence (FVV) Project to ensure the voices of young people and women are considered as this work develops. The board has stated that it seeks to build on work already done and improve the way that it works with its partners including the Third Sector. For further information on the LSYVB or to download a copy of the LYCPB report please click HERE.

10 years on from The Macpherson inquiry, ROTA launches the Transformative Justice Project

ROTA launched it’s Transformative Justice Project with an evening reception on March 11th at the EHRC. The event had a focus on the 10 year anniversary of the Macpherson Inquiry, with high profile speakers sharing their positions on areas from the value of using restorative justice, hate crime in schools to the changing face of institutionalised racism, a positive foundation was formed to inform the work of the ROTA's 4 year Transformative Justice Project. The project builds upon on the recommendations from the two year Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and EHRC funded Restoring Relationships Project. The Transformative Justice Project will be delivered through a cross-sector, multi-agency partnership steered by a Forum chaired by CPS London, and consisting of members such as Metropolitan Police Service, ACPO, Probation, NACRO, Victim Support and others. Despite progress, institutional racism within the criminal justice system, the issue of over-representation and concerns such as the use of the Stop and Search Powers remain unaddressed. Evidence from our work suggests that these gaps will be better addressed through genuine partnership models between agencies and sectors. More information about the event can be found at www.rota.org.uk. For more information, contact Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@rota.org.uk or alternatively call on 020 7921 0049.

4. Community Empowerment and Community Cohesion Policy

Further Vigilance Needed over Communities and Local Government’s Cohesion Delivery Framework

Voice4Change England has called for further vigilance over the Government’s policy and practice on cohesion to ensure that specialist BAME organisations (and other equalities organisations) are being treated fairly. Voice4Change England is maintaining a ‘watching brief’ and will soon produce a briefing on CLG’s Cohesion Delivery Framework. The Framework has been developed to support Government’s commitment to cohesion under Public Service Agreement 21: to build cohesive, empowered and active communities. ROTA share the concern that the thinking behind the withdrawn Cohesion Guidance for Funders continues to influence Government’s cohesion policy even though ‘single group funding’ is no longer referred to. ROTA and HEAR are working in with V4CE and LVSC in producing a briefing and DVD on the value of specialist BAME organisations. To find out more, please click HERE.

5. Health Inequalities

NHS Trusts Not Meeting Minimum Requirements to Promote Race Equality

The Healthcare Commission has stated that NHS trusts must do more to meet their legal obligations to promote race equality in it’s review of race equality in the NHS.The review shows that improvements have been made and that examples of good practice exist. However, many trusts still fall short on meeting basic requirements in a number of areas and urgent action is required. The review consisted of both a series of publication audits and an in-depth review of 39 trusts. It found that just 35% of NHS trusts had provided some information on all three of the publishing requirements of the Race Equality Act 2000. ROTA will be renewing its focus this year on health inequalities in BAME communities and following up on some of the findings of the report which can be viewed by clicking HERE. For previous work done by ROTA in the area of health inequalities visit our publications page at www.rota.org.uk.

6. MiNet and London Policy News

BAME Sub-Regional Networks Update

This month MiNet will be publishing a short policy briefing to bring information on the current position of the BAME sub-regional networks up to date. The briefing will look at the current structures of the networks in each sub-region, how they have managed their interaction with mainstream networks and the difficulties they have and continue to face. If you have an involvement with the BAME sub-regional networks and would like to offer your opinion which may form a role in devising the outcomes for the next two years of MiNet, please contact Anthony@rota.org.uk.

The Impact of the Recession on London’s BAME Third Sector

ROTA in partnership with it’s two regional networks HEAR and MiNet will shortly be publishing the findings of their survey that documents the impact of the current recession on the BAME and other equalities Third sector organisations. As localised community groups and organisations that serve the most disadvantaged members of the community, BAME and equality Third sector groups are feeling the impact of the present recession in different ways. The relevant strategic partners need to be informed and solutions and appropriate help needs to be identified. Check the ROTA website this month to see the final report or contact Anthony Salla at anthony@rota.org.uk or call 020 7902 1177.

BAME Sub-regional Network Update

MiNet recently completed an update on the state of the five sub-regional BAME networks across London, which were originally set-up as part of a ChangeUp funded project in 2006. The update indicates that the level of interaction between, and the voice and representation of BAME groups is inconsistent between each sub-region, with the formation of BAME sub-regional networks being strong in some sub-regions whilst appearing largely absent in others. MiNet will be looking closely at the infrastructure needs of BAME groups over the coming months in addition to considering the changing needs of Racial Equality Councils. For more information on MiNet please contact Anthony@rota.org.uk.

BAME leaders receive FREE Training plus £700

Only a few places remain for individuals to receive free mentoring support and training and a bursary of £700 towards further training of their choice. The programme which starts in April is uniquely designed to allow individuals, such as, first-time managers and committee members to develop a wide range of skills, including fundraising, business planning and strategic organisational thinking. For more information on this programme or free taster sessions available from LVSC, contact Karin@lvsc.org.uk or visit www.lvsc.org.uk/MTP.

BAME Organisation? Problem with the Compact?

Evidence collected from recent research carried out by MiNet suggests that it is apparent that there are mounting pressures on BAME third sector organisations to deliver services, even though funding is not forthcoming. As many people know this is partly a consequence of the economic downturn and also partly a consequence of the impact of now withdrawn guidance on single group funding. Against this background, increasing questions have been raised over the role played by some local authorities in respecting Compact Guidance. MiNet would like to hear from BAME organisations who have encountered difficulties with a public authority, for example, has your local authority failed to carry out an equality impact assessment? Have you experienced a situation similar to that of Southall Black Sisters, whether the outcome was favourable or unfavourable? If you or another BAME organisation has been successful or unsuccessful in a dispute or disagreement with a public body please contact anthony@rota.org.uk.

Trust for London Grants

A new round of funding is available to support small, new and emerging voluntary organisations which have been established to improve the lives of people and communities in London. The deadline for applications is 30th May. Criteria for prospective bidders, include organisations that promote the inclusion and integration of recently established communities; organisations which work to strengthen mother-tongue and supplementary schools to provide creative educational opportunities and organisations which address new and emerging. For more information, visit http://www.cityparochial.org.uk/tfl/grants.

LVSC’s campaign on the impact of the recession on London’s VCS

On February 11th, London Funders, London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC), CCLA, the London Regional ChangeUp Consortium and the Young Foundation held an event 'We're in it together' to look at how the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and their funders could work together to minimize the effects of the recession on communities in London. LVSC provided an interim report of their findings from the Big Squeeze survey. This looked at the effects of the recession on the users of VCS organisations' services. If you would like a copy e-mail policy@lvsc.org.uk. LVSC is continuing the Big Squeeze campaign to lobby for support for VCS organisations so they can continue to provide services to Londoners throughout this difficult time.

Report on the value of ChangeUp and Futurebuilders

The National Audit Office has now reported on the impact of the Government's ChangeUp (VCS infrastructure development) and Futurebuilders (investment to allow VCS organisations to deliver public services) programmes. The report, 'Building the Capacity of the Third Sector' concludes that the two programmes have had a positive impact on frontline organisations but have not yet demonstrated value for money. Click HERE for the full report.

Job Vacancy: MiNet Co-ordinator: £29,963 - £31,524 (NJC scale SO2 point 32 - 34), 5% pension

This post offers the opportunity to lead on the development and delivery of the network, provide information on policy and provide a voice on the BAME implications of policy developments. You will need to have demonstratable experience in developing and supporting networks, knowledge of issues affecting the BAME Third Sector in London and some experience of management and income generation. Closing Date for applications: Wednesday 22nd April 2009 10:00am (by post or email). Successful candidates will be notified on Friday 24th April 2009 to attend an interview on Wednesday 29th April 2009. We would like the successful candidate to start as soon as possible. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. CV's will not be accepted. Click HERE for more details and to download an application pack.

Migration Impacts Fund - Invitation to submit bids

The fund to manage the transitional impacts of migration was announced in the February 2008 Green Paper The Path to Citizenship. The fund will be allocated on a regional basis through the Government Office for London. All local service providers including the police, local authorities, Primary Care Trusts and 3rd Sector organisations will be eligible to benefit from this fund. GOL will be liaising with members of the London Migration Strategy Partnership and London Councils over the arrangements. London has been allocated £5,653,282 for 2009/10 with the same amount expected to be available for 2010/11 (subject to a review in the autumn to see if sufficient migrant fees are being received). All service provides are welcome to apply. Contact with their Local Strategic Partnership must be made. ROTA encourages BAME organisation to apply for the fund. We can provide support if needed through signposting and awareness raising. We are also keen to hear from services who would like to partner with us. The closing date for bids is 5pm on Friday 1st May 2009. GOL expects to announce which bids have been successful by 15th June. All applications, and any queries you have, should be directed to Alex Bouras at Alex Bouras Tel: 020 7217 3073 e-mail: alex.bouras@gol.gsi.gov.uk.

7. BAME Third Sector Policy News

New Compact to be Published in November

A new version of the national Compact will be published in November. Sir Bert Massie, Commissioner for the Compact, recently received a letter from Kevin Brennan, minister for the third sector, and Simon Blake, chair of Compact Voice, asking him to lead the process to redraft the document. Commissioning is expected to feature prominently. ROTA will be responding to the panel's recommendations which will go out to consultation in the summer before the new document is launched during November's Compact Week. Tom Levitt, who is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Community and Voluntary Sector, has announced plans to present a 10 Minute Rule Bill to establish the Commission for the Compact as a statutory body. Tom Levitt will table his bill on the 19th May 2009. The bill which ROTA supports will enable a limited number of new powers and duties to be given to the Commission, including powers of investigation where there have been breaches of Compact agreements, access to relevant information and the ability to impose a duty on others to co-operate with its investigations.

Fawcett Society’s Seeing Double Event

HEAR Co-ordinator Barbara Nea chaired The Fawcett Society’s Seeing Double half day seminar on strategic networking on Tuesday 17th March in London. The purpose of the seminar was to facilitate a dialogue between 2nd tier umbrella organisations and ethnic minority women’s grassroots organisations in order to provide better support and increase capacity for grassroots organisations.