February 2009    Issue 25 header_top

Welcome to the February 2009 edition of ROTA’s policy E-Newsletter.

January has been a busy and exciting month. Eight new trustees were successfully elected onto the ROTA board and we look forward to taking ROTA forward, both in it’s London focused and national work. ROTA has put forward responses to the London Empowerment Partnership, the London Development Agency’s Investment Strategy and the EHRC Strategic Plan, details of which can be found on the ROTA website.

ROTA in conjunction with London Probation will be delivering hate crime training which is free for the voluntary sector- there are limited places so book early!

ROTA Chief Exec met with Trevor Phillips last month to discuss the upcoming Single Equality Bill and ROTA will now be leading on building a coalition of supporters to influence the Bill to ensure that the race agenda is adequately represented throughout the Bill. Contact Pavan@rota.org.uk for details and to find out how to join the coalition.

ROTA premises move

As of April 1st 2009 ROTA will be moving premises. The new ROTA address will be Waterloo Business Centre, Unit 217 & 208, 117 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UL.

We have 4 desk spaces available for any organisation that wishes to arrange an office share. Please contact Saifur@rota.org.uk for further information and details on costs.

In this issue:
01 Equality and Human Rights
02 Crime and Anti-social behaviour
03 Community Empowerment and Cohesion
04 Education and Young people
05 MiNet and London Policy News


1. Equality and Ruman Rights

EHRC activities to celebrate International Women’s Day

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is holding an event at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on the 7th March 2009 to celebrate International Women’s Day. This joint event with the Greater London Authority (GLA) will launch their violence against women (VAW) strategy To find out more about the event or how to participate please contact: anna.edman-bastos@equalityhumanrights.com.

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. To find out more about EHRC and its grants and funding visit www.equalityhumanrights.com.

EHRC Responds to ROTA’s letter Regarding the EHRC Future Funding programme

ROTA Chief Executive Dr Theo Gavrielides wrote to the EHRC with concerns regarding the decision to delay it’s next funding programme. He highlighted the fact that it was not Compact compliant in relation to the good Practice Articles and the detrimental effective this would have on the BAME VCS in an already uncertain climate. We received a response acknowledging the adverse impact that their decision would have on certain groups but justified their decision by stating that the deferment was deemed necessary to ensure that the commission had a grants infrastructure that was strategically coherent. The letters can be read in full here:

ROTA's response to the EHRC's decision to defer their grants programme for 6 months. Click HERE.

EHRC's Response to ROTA's complaint RE delay in grant programme. Click HERE.

EHRC Reports on Police and Racism, Ten years on from the Macpherson Inquiry

Ten years after the Metropolitan police was branded institutionally racist, some areas of policing still exhibit pervasive racism, states a report by the EHRC published on January 11th. The Commission also held an event on Monday 19 January 2009 at 11.00am where the Chair Trevor Phillips delivered a keynote lecture. He considered how the Macpherson report changed the British landscape and what we believe that landscape will look like over the next 10 years. For the full report click HERE.

Inequalities: Research Publications by Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

In the last month the EHRC have published a number of key reports covering various areas illustrating concisely the inequalities faced by ethnic and other equality groups. The reports bring a focus onto areas of earnings, mobility and pensions for minority groups. Findings from the research into educational inequalities identify how education protects minority groups against disadvantage however they still fail to achieve the returns that would otherwise be expected from education. It was also made clear that men from some minority groups experience high rates of job refusals and promotion blockages whilst women report greater levels of unfavourable treatment. To access these reports visit, click HERE.

Government response to Joint Committee report on ‘A Bill of Rights for the UK’

The Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights published, with comment, the Government’s response to its report on a UK Bill of Rights. The Committee notes that the Government has agreed with a number of its recommendations, particularly in recognising the place for developing social, economic and environmental rights in an enduring constitutional document such as a Bill of Rights. It also welcomes the Government’s acknowledgment of the "universality" of rights, separate from the fact that certain more specific rights and entitlements within the UK may depend on nationality and immigration status. For the full report, click HERE.

2. Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

Hate Crime Training

ROTA is advertising training places for hate crime training sessions for February 10th and March 4th. The training draws attention to the dynamics of hate crime, the role of mediation and the value of multi-agency cross-sector partnerships.

The training is aimed at those working with groups which are highly victimised in areas such as; Conflict resolution; Domestic Violence and Sex offenders; Housing disputes; Education; Work disputes; Criminal Justice agencies and Safer Neighbourhood Teams; and Hate Crime coordinators with little or no understanding of restorative justice/mediation.

If you have any queries or if you would like to book a place, please contact Jacky Moran on 020 7729 1310 or email jacky@rota.org.uk

The Home Office £4.5m Community Fund – helping the community tackle guns, gangs and knives

The Home Office has been working across government to provide help and support for young people, parents and victims. They have recognised that voluntary and community organisations are key to this process and can make a real difference by transforming the lives of vulnerable young people who are either at risk or who have been involved in gangs or carried or used an offensive weapon. In December 2008, the Home Secretary outlined a new £4.5m fund for local community groups to run activities for young people in 13 priority areas. This will fund intensive work with young people through mentoring and outreach work. Organisations can apply for grant funding of up to £10,000 per annum for three years.

For more information on the fund please visit Tribal’s website at: http://grantsadmin.co.uk/homeoffice_communityfund/

Effective Commissioning to Reduce Reoffending

In March ROTA will be presenting their case study on offender re-settlement at a half-day seminar for voluntary and community sector organisations concerned with reducing reoffending. ROTA’s report ‘Effective Commissioning to Reduce Re-offending: A BAME Case Study’ outlined the needs and value of existing specialist service provision available to BAME offenders and recommendations for effective commissioning. This formed part of a wider report which CLINKS will be launching at the event, which will provide insights into effective commissioning of services for offenders, former offenders and people with complex needs.

For further details please contact pavan@rota.org.uk

National Offender Management (NOMS)

ROTA provided oral evidence for the NOMS Reducing Re-offending in London: A Consultation on Partnerships and NOMS Regional Commissioning and will be keeping ROTA members up to date with important developments in this area. The first NOMS Agency Annual Conference will take place in February and this will provide an opportunity to meet, along with our key stakeholders, to discuss key issues affecting the Agency. An interim Head of Unit has been appointed at SCS level to lead this function. See http://www.noms.homeoffice.gov.uk/ for further details.

3. Community Empowerment and Cohesion London Health 08

Be a councillor goes national

ROTA would encourage more BAME councillors by getting involved in the London Councils’ Be a Councillor campaign is to be rolled out nationally. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the role of local councils and councillors and at encouraging more people to consider standing in the next local elections. Around 10,000 Londoners have come into contact with London Councils’ Be a Councillor campaign since it was launched last June with funding from Capital Ambition, London’s Improvement and Efficiency Partnership. The national version of the campaign is being launched by the Leadership Centre for Local Government.

Visit the Be a Councillor website

Report on race inequality in the UK workforce

The recently published ‘Race for the Top’ report published by Business in the community has highlighted the place of ethnic minority groups within the UK workforce. The report is based on new research carried out by Race for Opportunity who used data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in order to analyse the changes in ethnic minority populations, both in terms of total numbers and in the number achieving management positions and particularly senior-level jobs. It has recommended that the Government must make race an issue in its employment agenda and campaigns, just as it has done for gender. For the full report, click HERE.

Big Lottery Consultation

ROTA will be responding to the Big Lottery Fund (BIG)'s consultation on its future funding priorities.

We are encouraging all London's voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups to respond to the consultation to ensure that BIG continues to guarantee at least 60-70% of its funding goes to the VCS after 2012. For more details, click here.

As the UK officially enters recession, there are a number of issues that are of interest to the VCS. These include:

  • the Government's Third Sector Action plan, which is due out in February;

  • the decision to extend measures to help small and medium businesses to the third sector;

  • research on the effects of the economic downturn on VCS organisations;

  • the announcement of measures to be put in place by local authorities to help deal with the situation.

National Survey Of Third Sector Organisations Published

As part of the Local Area Agreement process, the government established a set of national indicators against which local areas could measure their performance. One of these, National Indicator 7 (NI7), aimed to measure 'an environment for a thriving third sector'. In order to assess this the Office of the Third Sector commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct a survey of registered charities in each local area. The initial baseline results are now available here.

More details and a breakdown of the results in each London borough are available by clicking here.

4. Education and Young People

Department for Children, Schools and Families – Child Poverty Consultation

On the 28th January the DCSF launched a consultation on legislative proposals prior to the introduction of a child poverty Bill in 2009. They state that the ‘legislation will require the Government to be accountable to Parliament on progress to end child poverty. As effective local action is critical legislation will also provide a framework to strengthen approaches locally to accelerate progress across all our communities.’ Given the local as well as national impact of this consultation, and the disproportionate level of BAME children living in poverty, ROTA would urge organisations to respond to this consultation. Full details for the document, click HERE. The deadline for submissions is 11th March 2009.

The New Opportunities White Paper and Social Mobility

The Government has published a White Paper, New Opportunities, which sets out its proposals to increase social mobility and ensure that everyone has a chance to be employed in the type of new jobs that will exist in the UK in the future.

At the same time Communities & Local Government announced plans to provide £10million to support young people in deprived areas by establishing 'Inspiring Communities' Networks.

These measures coincided with the publication of the final report from the independent Commission on Social Mobility.

More details here.

5. MiNet and London Policy News

ROTA Consultation – Priorities for London’s BAME Third Sector

ROTA is currently running a consultation to establish the social policy priorities of London’s BAME third sector. We are seeking the views of all BAME organisations who impact on London’s communities ( national or regional). The consultation will determine a research project for the next two years, as well as five social policy priorities for ROTA to develop. The process closes on 5th February. All interested parties should contact carlene@rota.org.uk to receive a questionnaire.

Mayors Equality for All Framework: Equal Life Chances for All

The Mayor’s equality framework is out for public consultation until the 20th February. ROTA will be submitting a response and publishing it on our website and we would urge other equalities organisations to also take part in the process. The framework is set to influence all the ‘key policies and processes that the GLA has for delivering equal life chances for all’ and will be significant for cross equalities issues. To take part in the consultation please visit http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/equalities/framework/

Call For Evidence- The Impact of the Recession on London’s BAME Third Sector

ROTA and Minet are conducting a survey to document the impact of the current recession on the BAME voluntary and community(VCS) organisations. As localised community groups and organisations that serve the most disadvantaged members of the community, BAME VCS could be feeling the impact of the present recession in different ways that need to be documented and shared with the relevant strategic partners. Solutions and appropriate help needs to be identified. This is your chance to make your voice heard as to how the recession is impacting on your service provisions or on your ability to deliver services to your respective BAME groups. These could include cutting down on your staff, problems with premises, increased demand on your services etc. Visit www.rota.org.uk to partake in the questionnaire or contact nwadio@rota.org.uk.

BNRRN Engagement Project commences in Ealing and Hackney

As part of their Engagement Project for a six month period starting in February, BNRRN will have a renewed emphasis on enabling BAMER organisations to become aware of and engage with their local structures. The work will be carried out in the boroughs of Ealing and Hackney and will identify the key services BAMER organisations can access and mechanisms through which they can voice their concerns. The Engagement Project is crucial as it can capture the difficulties BAMER organisations encounter in being engaged and empowered to influence local decision making which has relevance to the important work presently being undertaken by Independent Academic Research Studies and London Civic Forum as part of the London Empowerment Partnership. For more information on the BNRRN Engagement Project visit BNRRN.org.uk, and for more information on the London Empowerment Partnership visit www.IARS.org.uk

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 SocialEntrepreneurs, ROTA, MODA and Charitytraining.com. For further details please contact Karin@lvsc.org.uk

The Future of MiNet

On 22nd January MiNet attended a Stakeholder event in Birmingham regarding the regional network funds. The purpose of the meeting was to update the networks on the progress of funding allocation and gain feedback from the networks on the guidance offered CapacityBuilders. CapacityBuilders have been asked by The Office of the Third Sector to develop a new programme of funding for the support of regional third sector voice and influence, and have proposed two broad programme outcomes to be achieved by 2011: regional third sector networks should be able to demonstrate increased influence over regional and national policy affecting the third sector, and regional third sector networks should be able to demonstrate improvements in their leadership, income diversity and efficiency. Essentially this means the work of MiNet will continue though we await a decision about the resources available and objectives for each network.

Recruitment of new Advisory Group and Chair for MiNet

Current funding arrangements are coming to an end and MiNet is now in the process of recruiting a new Advisory Group and Chair. This is a good opportunity for individuals who are committed to voicing the interests and concerns of the communities they are in place to represent. Therefore MiNet is inviting applications from individuals, organisations and networks specialising in London focused BAME second tier services. Forum members will be expected to commit to attend quarterly meetings and comply with conditions of the job description. For further information please contact Anthony@rota.org.uk

Lobby your MP to get recognition of the BME Third Sector’s contribution

Voice4Change England has launched a campaign to increase the recognition of the positive contribution made by the BAME Third Sector in bonding communities and promoting equality. The “Valuing the BME Third Sector campaign” aims to increase political support amongst MPs for adequate and equitable resourcing of the Sector to bring better outcomes for BME communities.

V4CE needs the support of frontline groups in educating MPs about the issues facing the Sector, and is urging individuals and organisations to contact their local MP to ask them to sign the early day motion. In addition, V4CE is encouraging frontline groups to invite their MP to visit and meet with staff and beneficiaries of the service. Further information about how you can participate in the campaign is available form Martin Ball on 020-7843 6131 or martin@voice4change-england.co.uk