July 2008   Issue 20 header_top

Welcome to ROTA's newsletter!

ROTA is pleased to announce that Dinah Cox, our Chief Executive, has been awarded an OBE in this year’s Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to community relations in London. Dinah continues in her capacity as Chief Executive until August when she will be leaving to become the first Executive Director of Rosa, a new initiative set up to raise the profile and funding for women's projects in the UK. Theo Gavrielides will be taking over from her as Acting Chief Executive.

June has also seen the publication of HEAR’s Gaps and Solutions report, which looks at how support for London’s third sector might be developed. The report aims to build a more diverse and integrated third sector where the needs of frontline equality organisations are better met. In July, we will be launching our two year research report of the Building Bridges Project providing youth-led new evidence on the gang, gun and knife culture in London.

In this issue:
01 Equality and Human Rights
02 Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
03 Community Cohesion and Empowerment
04 Third Sector News

1. Equality and Human Rights

The Single Equality Bill has been published

On the 26th of June, the Government published its new “Equality Bill: A Framework for a Fairer Future”. Harriet Harman, the responsible Minister said to the House: “…Progress has been made to outlaw discrimination against you if you are black, if you are a woman, if you are lesbian or gay, if you are disabled, or if you are old. But though progress has been made inequality and discrimination still persists … if you are Black or Asian you are less likely to be in work and if you are in work you are more likely to be earning below the level of your qualifications”.

The Bill is expected to have an impact not only for public authorities but also private and third sector organisations. The Bill is announced following the Government’s Discrimination Law Review in 2007 and the consultation that followed it. ROTA is partnership with other Third Sector organisations participated in this process by organising events and collecting evidence. In the next two weeks we will be publishing a new Policy Briefing informing BAME organisations of the impact that the new Bill will have on them and the communities they serve. For more information visit our website or contact theo@rota.org.uk


The National Equality Partnership

The National Equality Partnership based at the Women’s Resource Centre, which was established to support third sector organisations to champion and address equality, diversity and human rights, is now up and running. The partnership will deliver a range of activities to improve support to frontline equalities organisations, run by and for people who experience discrimination and abuse, by supporting equality networks and increasing collaboration between equalities and generalist support providers. Additionally, it will improve support providers’ abilities to support all frontline organisations on equality, diversity and human rights. To find out more visit http://www.improvingsupport.org.uk/equality/index.html or contact barbara@rota.org.uk


2. Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

Building Bridges – Youth-led Conference on gangs and the use of weapons in London

On Monday 21st July, ROTA will launch the report and DVD at a youth led conference that will document the findings of its two year youth led research project into gangs and the use of weapons in London. As well as launch the findings and recommendations of the research, the event will feature presentations and workshops led by the young people of London from organisations such as Foundation 4 Life, Independent Academic Research Studies and Community Builders as well as some of the Young Mayor’s of London. 

To book a place at this conference please click HERE and complete ROTA’s event booking page. For further information on the event or the Building Bridges project please contact Carlene on 020 7729 1310 or carlene@rota.org.uk

The Coalition for Equality in the Criminal Justice System and the Race for Justice campaign

The campaign was set up to end the inequalities faced by black and minority ethnic groups and strengthen the voice and role of the voluntary sector in the criminal justice system. The campaign is a coalition of voluntary sector organisations working with BAME offenders and ex-offenders and their families. It will launch in the Autumn 2008, but you can find out more about it here. ROTA has been one of the core members of the coalition which is led by Clinks and complements our work on criminal justice. If you would like to get involved, support the campaign or simply find out more, visit www.raceforjustice.net

Hate Crime Figures Down – Are We Tackling the Problem?

On 8th April, ROTA launched the second phase of its Project Restoring Relations (RRP): Addressing Hate Crime through Restorative Justice and cross-sector Partnerships: a London Study. Over 100 people attended the conference representing a wide range of statutory bodies and Third Sector organisations from London and across the UK. Much positive feedback was received within evaluation forms regarding the conference and the content and quality of the report as ROTA continues to tackle keys issues that people are concerned about. ROTA will endeavour to utilise the comments and advice from delegates that were present to contribute to future work ROTA intends to continue in this area. The post conference report is now available on the ROTA website. For information please contact anthony@rota.org.uk


3. Community Cohesion and Empowerment

Committee report on ‘Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and “Honour”-Based Violence’

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee published its report on ‘Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and “Honour”-Based Violence’ on 13 June 2008. The report states that ‘a lack of standardised data, and what is judged to be significant under-reporting, make it difficult to make an accurate assessment of the numbers of individuals experiencing domestic violence’, while ‘understanding of the scale of so-called “honour”-based violence and forced marriage is even patchier’. Click HERE for report

The Human Rights Dimensions of Community Cohesion

ROTA in partnership with Independent Academic Research Studies have completed an original research project investigating the role of human rights and human rights legislation for promoting community cohesion. The report was commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and is expected to be published soon. It provides new data that was collected through fieldwork with leading practitioners and academics as well as a critical analysis of existing material. For more information contact theo@rota.org.uk

Migrants often ignored in community decision-making

According to a new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation more needs to be done to enable new migrant communities to be heard and ensure resources are allocated openly and fairly. The report, Community Engagement and Community Cohesion, ‘explored ways of helping new arrivals to the UK to get involved in their communities, and also looked at how to engage effectively with new migrants in ways that promote community cohesion, rather than increasing competition between new and more established communities.’ The report also highlighted growing difficulties with inclusive and effective community engagement and draws attention to practical barriers such as difficulties with access to information and language that new communities face. These difficulties are entrenched without formal representation. The report’s author advocates that service providers work closer with voluntary and community sector groups to improve this engagement. For further information on this report visit http://www.jrf.org.uk/pressroom/releases/250608.asp 

Ethnic minority women are still sorely under-represented in parliament

Recently, Fawcett launched the final report of its Routes to Power study on BAME women leaders that explored the reasons for this under-representation. As the interim report on local councillors also highlighted, it is organisational cultures that stop women reaching senior decision-making positions. The interim report, in fact, showed that the reason why less than one percent of councillors are BAME women is that councils and political parties are exclusive. Political parties were specifically named as problematic for their lack of leadership in recruiting BAME women to their parties and then acting as gatekeepers to potential candidates.

Last month, Dawn Butler spoke out about the racism and sexism she's experienced in parliament in an exclusive interview in Fawcett's newly published collection (pdf) of essays on race and gender in ethnic minority women's lives. Citing some truly appalling behaviour, Dawn candidly admits, "People generally don't believe I'm an MP. Because I'm black. Because I'm a woman. Because I'm quite young." Even though there are only two black women MPs out of 646, making them visible minorities if ever there were any, Dawn still gets mistaken for the secretary at events.


4. Third Sector News

London Infrastructure Development Plan

The ChangeUp London Infrastructure Development Plan 2008 was launched on 21 May 2008 by Catherine Johnstone, Acting Chief Executive of Capacitybuilders. The strategy for 2008-2014 sets out the LRC's long-term aspirations for Third Sector infrastructure support and delivery in each of the priority areas identified through consultation and research. To find out more www.lvsc.org.uk

Sir Trevor Chinn appointed as chair of the Mayor's Fund for London

Mayor Boris Johnson has announced Sir Trevor Chinn as chair of the Mayor’s Fund for London. The Mayor's Fund for London ‘will be a charity that aims to get money from the wealth-creating sector to communities across London that are facing hardship… Funding distributed will be in addition to LDA and Government funding, including the £79 million pledged for youth clubs in London.’ Sir Trevor Chinn said: “. We must ensure that young people get help and support so as to turn a poverty of aspiration into positive expectations and a better life.  I am sure that many people in London will want to help the Mayor’s Fund make a real difference.” The Fund will formally launch in late 2008 as an independent charitable company targeting corporates and high net worth individuals as well as recruiting Londoners to contribute their time and skills. For further details please click on the following link: http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=17494

Free 'Demonstrating Need' training for 3SA members

Third Sector Groups seeking statutory funding are under pressure to provide evidence to show why their services are needed, particularly when applying for funding for new projects. This course will help you think creatively about how to find and present the evidence to demonstrate the need for your current or proposed services. The training takes place on 15 July 2008 and booking details  must be completed and returned to Sandra van der Feen by Monday 30 June 2008

Local Area Agreements

The breakdown of all of England's 150 Local Area Agreements (LAAs) is now in the public domain. This will enable us to analyse the likely effect of LAAs on London’s Third Sector. For more information contact theo@rota.org.uk