December 2008   Issue 24 header_top


Welcome to the December edition of ROTA’s policy E-Newsletter. Last month saw history in the making with the election of the first Black president of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. A momentous occasion for the equalities movement which will impact on policy and practice worldwide.

Here at ROTA we continue the hard work with our AGM due on 15th December. We are also pleased to announce that Dr Theo Gavrielides, has been officially appointed as ROTA’s Chief Executive. Kamila Zahno, ROTA Chair said "I am delighted to welcome Theo Gavrielides as our new Chief Executive. We believe he will take ROTA to a new dimension and raise the profile of the organisation"

Our work on criminal justice policy is growing with the launch of the Race for Justice national campaign and the London focused Transformative Justice Project. Also with the Government’s commitment to support regional networks with 1.5 million over 2 years we are hoping to strengthen MiNet and work with the 3SA and HEAR to ensure regional decision makers are informed of the need of the Third Sector.


In this issue:
01 Policy News
1.1 Equality and Human Rights
1.2 Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
1.3 Health Inequality
1.4 Education and Young People
02 MiNet News


1. Policy News

1.1 Equality and Human Rights

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Consultations

The EHRC is currently consulting on the following areas;

  • Strategic plan the deadline for phase 1 is 7th December 2008. There will be a second phase to this consultation, which will commence in the new year. The final strategic plan will be published in April 2009

  • Equality Scheme the deadline is 7th December.

  • Grants Programme the deadline for the written consultation is 31st January 2009, while the deadline for the online consultation is 7th February 2009 ROTA and HEAR will be making submissions to the above consultations and we would encourage our members to send us their comments.

ROTA has been a critical friend of the EHRC even before its formal establishment and have developed strong links particularly with its regional office. For example, ROTA and HEAR met with EHRC officials in November addressing issues concerning aspects of the consultations and to discuss the role of HEAR as the London cross-equality and human rights network.

Update about EHRC grants and funding

On 30th September, EHRC announced its decision to defer the launch of the next grants programme for 6 months – putting this back from April 2009 to September 2009. EHRC hopes to call for applications to its next grants programme in May 2009, with a deadline 8 weeks from the date of the launch. EHRC hopes to notify applicants of the outcome of their applications in August/September, so that work commences in October 2009.

ROTA considers this decision to be unacceptable and in breach of the Compact. We have written to the EHRC explaining the impact that this decision will have on multi-year projects. For a copy of our letter visit

To find out more about EHRC and its grants and funding visit

British Library exhibition: ‘Taking Liberties’ – to 1 March 2009

‘Taking Liberties. The Struggle for Britain’s Freedom and Rights’ uncovers the roots of British democracy over a period of more than 900 years. The exhibition runs until 1st March 2009. Click here for details.

1.2 Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

Race for Justice Launch

ROTA in partnership with Clinks, NACRO, the National Body of Black Prisoner Support Groups and Sainsbury’s Centre have released the 'Less Equal Than Others: Ethnic Minorities and the Criminal Justice System'. The report is backed up by the Race for Justice national campaign and coalition highlights the need for the government to act decisively in shaping policy to redress the over-representation of people from BAME backgrounds in the criminal justice system. The report makes a number of important recommendations as to how the government can work effectively with the voluntary sector. These recommendations will be taken forward by the coalition, with ROTA leading on a number of them. Report available at: Race for Justice or

Effective Commissioning to Reduce Reoffending

On December 11th, we will be presenting our report on BAME offender re-settlement at a half-day seminar for voluntary and community sector organisations concerned with reducing reoffending. The seminar is organised by Clinks. To book contact Heloise Wood on 020 7608 2503 or email

Supporting Community Based Restorative Justice Project

Safer London Foundation (SLF) recently funded a newly formed project which will offer restorative justice to families involved in youth crimes. The project will operate in the Borough of Newham and offer support to the victims and their families for those affected by the aftermath of gang, gun and knife crime incidents. Valerie Brown can be contacted for details of this project ( As evidenced by ROTA’s Restoring Relationship Project, restorative justice practices can offer genuine criminal justice alternatives for serious offences such as hate crime and weapons use. For a copy of the report contact or visit

1.3 Health Inequality

London Health 08

ROTA will be giving a speech on health inequality and migration at a major two day conference bringing together the capital’s health community to share learning; showcase best practice and stimulate ambition in embracing the unique challenges and exciting opportunities that London presents. It has been put together by a team of experts from NHS London, London Councils, The London Health Forum, London Higher, NHS Innovations London and The King’s Fund amongst others. For more information contact

Department for Health Take Action on Violence.

On the 20th November, the Department for Health launched their draft report on ‘Healthier, Fairer and Safer Communities – Connecting People to Prevent Violence: Towards a Framework for Violence and Abuse Prevention.’ This framework is out for consultation until February 2009 and is welcomed as a preventative approach to addressing issues of violence. The framework makes specific reference to youth violence and ROTA is pleased to see both the involvement of health and the importance of prevention being recognised in the youth violence debate. ROTA will be submitting comments and recommendations on this framework from the evidence base of the Building Bridges project and other research around serious youth violence and gender. For further information on the framework please visit

1.4 Education and Young People

Mayor’s Time for Action

In November, the Mayor launched ‘Time for Action’ – his proposals for creating youth opportunity and preventing youth violence. This proposal is up for consultation until 16th December and ROTA would encourage all organisations currently supporting young people to respond to this document. While ROTA has already been engaged with the Mayor’s office while this was being developed, we will also be submitting further written evidence to influence the final strategy, as well as anticipating the launch of the preventing violence against women strategy which is also being developed. To download a copy of Time for Action and make a response please visit

Recruiting volunteers for women’s research

ROTA is currently recruiting volunteers to support its policy team in delivering research around women affected by gangs and serious youth violence. This research builds on the findings of the Building Bridges Project and aims to convey the experiences of mothers, sisters and partners of young men involved in violence as well as young female offenders. For further information on the project or to work as a volunteer please contact

Olympic legacy and young people

A panel of young people will be given a unique opportunity to help with developing legacy plans for the Olympic Park site. The LDA is leading a partnership overseeing the Legacy Masterplan Framework (LMF) and, as part of its ongoing community engagement and consultation, is offering 14 to 19-year-olds the chance to join a Legacy Now Youth Panel. Around 50 young people from the host boroughs met with masterplanners in early October to understand the legacy project and the panel’s role, and 25 will eventually be selected for the panel. Click here to read more

2. MiNet News

MiNet important update

MiNet is the regional BAME network of networks that joined Race on the Agenda (ROTA) to strengthen the voice for London's BAME third sector in the development of regional policy. Since 2002, ROTA has been the accountable body for MiNet which has received support from the Home Office and the Office of the Third Sector. ROTA’s Chief Executive has line managed the work of MiNet and its Project Coordinator, and will continue to do so. At a strategic level, MiNet’s workplan is scrutinised and monitored by both ROTA’s Board of Trustees and the MiNet Advisory Group the members of which can be found at The current Acting Chair of MiNet is Buddhdev Pandya.

The priorities for this year continue to focus on the infrastructure support of London-based BAME networks and organisations so that their voices and concerns are represented at the policy level. These priorities are reflected in this year’s workplan. As of 17 November, one of MiNet’s key staff, Mr R Williams is no longer employed by ROTA. This will not affect the delivery of the agreed workplan and this letter should be read as a confirmation that any meetings, events or scheduled work are to delivered as planned.

On 16th December, a meeting has been arranged with Government Office for London to discuss progress, while the MiNet Advisory Group is due to meet on 9th January. In the interim, ROTA’s and MiNet’s Chief Executive will be the main contact for MiNet related business. We would be grateful for your patience as we go through this transitional period. We will be contacting you shortly with the contact details of the new Project Coordinator.

ROTA will continue to work with its partners and supporters to improve and sustain the work of MiNet both during this year and beyond. In the interim, we ask for your patience and understanding for any inconvenience or delays you might experience. If you have any questions regarding this letter or MiNet more generally please do not hesitate to contact ROTA’s Chief Executive Dr. Theo Gavrielides

£1.5 million government investment in the third sector regional networks for 2 years

The Government has announced £1.5 million to support third sector regional networks in delivering many of the Government’s policies and programmes at the regional level. The Office of the Third Sector will provide £1million over two years, whilst Capacitybuilders has identified a further £500,000 for 2009-10.

Theo Gavrielides, chief executive of Race on the Agenda who host the London regional network MiNet, commented: "Race on the Agenda is pleased with the Government's announcement to support Third Sector regional networks for two years. Considering the current financial uncertainty and the changes in the policy environment, this announcement is particularly welcomed by the Black and Minority (BME) sector which has felt the pressure the most. Without the networks, small BME frontline groups are left out of policy development and as a result the local people and the needs that they represent are not properly considered. We look forward to continuing the work of MiNet, London's regional BME network.”

MiNet Website

For monthly updates and to access MiNet publications please visit The website is now updated regularly providing important regional policy news to MiNet members and other key decision makers.

Public Law Training by MiNet, the Public Law Project and NAVCA

Public Law Training for BAME organisations is scheduled to be delivered on the 9th December. If you are a member of MiNet/ ROTA the training is provided for free. To book please email by Wednesday 3 December. This new workshop has been developed to respond to the need for diversity to be considered when statutory bodies make decisions and has been developed in response to feedback from course participants

Community Leaders Development Programme

The Community Leaders Development Programme aims to provide individuals from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities who live in London, with a flexible and tailored range of leadership development opportunities. This project has two elements: a programme of outreach, taster sessions and entry level training; and a range of longer support options to provide more intensive structured personal and professional development. The programme is funded by the LDA Opportunities Fund Round 2 and is run by London Voluntary Service Council in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Race on the Agenda, MODA and Click on link for further details

Big Opportunities- London 2012 Olympics

The LDA has funded a new programme called the Big Opportunity Direct to provide advice to the Third Sector around employment, skills and contract opportunities available to them in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Third Sector groups and individuals will have the opportunity to speak to those involved in the Games at a conference next month. Click here for details. ROTA and MiNet will be representing the views of the BAME community to ensure that they also will benefit from the opportunities that the 2012 Olympics will afford.

Empowering London: The role of a thriving third sector in empowerment and Local Area Agreements, 25th November 11am – 4pm

The London Empowerment Partnership has organised a conference to explore how a 'Thriving Third Sector', community empowerment and LAA delivery are connected. ROTA and MiNet will be at the event which will look at how relationships between the sectors are developing in the London region. The emphasis is on practical learning, exploring good practice in relation to all the key national indicators in which the Third Sector is expected to play a role. Places will be allocated to ensure a representative and good geographical spread of participants. If you would like to attend, please contact

Supporting disabled refugees and asylum seekers

On 14th November, the main findings and recommendations of a report were released at an event at City Hall from a research project commissioned by Metropolitan Support Trust’s Research and Consultancy Unit. The report essentially focuses upon the role of refugee and mainstream community organisations in supporting refugees and asylum seekers in London. The report highlights the difficulties faced by disabled refugees and asylum seekers in accessing services and has received the endorsement of the Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes, who stated “it is important that all disabled Londoners are able to access the services to which they entitled, if they are disabled refugees access may often be especially limited”. For more information on this report please visit

3SA Celebrating Collective Action Event: 9th December Third Sector Alliance (3SA) are hosting this event to:

  • Showcase 3SA members’ successful interventions in London’s policy making and
  • Evaluate LVSC's policy work this year/determine future policy imperatives.

If you ever wonder what exactly 3SA does or would like a broad third sector and government audience to hear about your organisation’s action in policy making then we would love you to see you. This is a timely event which is supported by ROTA and we would encourage members to attend. For more information contact