June 2010    Issue 40

Welcome to the June edition of ROTA's newsletter!

This month we have been trying to make sense of what the election results mean for BAME organisations and their communities. We’ve been analysing what’s been said, the Coalition Government agreement, the various appointments and developments within Whitehall, and thinking about how we can engage and influence the new government for the benefit of BAME organisations and their communities.

As a special feature this month, we provide an initial summary of developments since the election on 6 May, particularly as they relate to our policy priorities.

This month we’re presenting the newsletter as headlines with links to the full stories. This is to make it faster for you to get to the sections which particularly interest you. We’re always keen to hear what you think, so please let us know what you think of the new format.

Best wishes until next month.

Barbara Nea
Editor, ROTA policy e-newsletter


In this issue:
National Policy News
01 Coalition Government Special
02 ROTA’s Female Voice in Violence Project
03 Criminal Justice
04 Equalities and human rights
05 Health Inequalities
London Policy News
01 MiNet updates
02 Other London News


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month
We’re celebrating Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month by attending a number of events and celebrations.

This month too we’re celebrating Gypsy Roma Traveller History month by attending a number of events and celebrations that will be held by organisations such as Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, Families, Friends and Travellers, Irish Travellers Movement in Britain, London Gypsy and Traveller Unit and Roma Support Group. For those wanting to host celebrations, or to find out more about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture, a guide to getting involved is available here. It includes details of the local organisers working hard to make the month a success and how local Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities can get funding to put on events of their own.

Volunteering and internship opportunities at ROTA
If you are interested in race equality, education, health or criminal justice and would like to develop your research and policy skills while supporting our policy team please get in touch.

Volunteering and internships can be full or part-time. They are unpaid although lunch and travel expenses will be reimbursed and childcare expenses may be subsidised. Find out more here. The closing date for applications is 23 June, with placements starting before the end of June.


National Policy News

1. Coalition Government Special

The elections on 6 May 2010 resulted in no political party having overall control (the so-called hung parliament). After five days of negotiations the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats finally agreed to form a Coalition Government on 11 May.

The Government is guided by The Coalition: our programme for government, available here. Over 30 Commissions have been proposed to look at a range of issues including banking and electoral reform.

Following The Queen’s speech on 25 May, we’ve provided links to the main elements of the Bills which relate to ROTA’s policy priorities, and discuss other areas of interest from the agreement:


The agreement acknowledges that educational inequality has widened in recent years, and proposes school reform to address this. It will include support from the state to help parents, community groups and others come together to improve the education system by starting new schools. This could provide opportunities for BAME organisations, including supplementary schools, to address educational inequalities faced by certain groups of BAME children and young people, if the right support is provided.

A new premium is proposed for disadvantaged pupils, but the scale of this has yet to be confirmed.

More powers will be available for heads and teachers to discipline pupils. ROTA has concerns about this proposal because of well documented, unfair treatment of certain groups of BAME pupils within behaviour management strategies in education and we will be monitoring its development.

Academies Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to enable more schools to become Academies and give them the freedoms and flexibilities they need to continue to drive up standards.

The main elements are:

  • To provide schools with the freedoms to deliver an excellent education in the way they see fit, within a broad framework where they are clearly accountable for the outcomes they deliver.

  • To enable all maintained schools to apply to become an Academy with schools judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted being pre-approved.

  • Primary and special schools would be able to apply to become an Academy in their own right for the first time and will benefit from the increased freedoms and flexibilities that this will offer.

  • To make the process of applying to become an Academy as simple as possible without a requirement for Local Authorities to be consulted.

  • We expect standards across the education sector to rise through the creation of more Academies. We would expect a significant number to open in September and for the number to continue to grow each year.

  • Academies would be funded at a comparable level to maintained schools.

  • There would be no expansion of selection but grammar schools and other schools which select or partially select pupils will be able to continue to do so.

  • The Bill would automatically make all new Academies charities.

Education and Children’s Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to give full effect to the range of programmes envisaged in the Coalition agreement.

The main elements are:

  • To provide schools with the freedoms to deliver an excellent education in the way they see fit.

  • To reform Ofsted and other accountability frameworks to ensure that head teachers are held properly accountable for the core educational goals of attainment and closing the gap between rich and poor.

  • To introduce a slimmer curriculum giving more space for teachers to decide how to teach.

  • To introduce a year 6 reading test to make sure that young children are learning and to identify problems early.

  • To give teachers and head teachers the powers to improve behaviour and tackle bullying.

  • We expect standards across the education sector to rise through the creation of more Academies and giving more freedom to head teachers and teachers. We will also ensure that money follows pupils, and introduce a ‘pupil premium’ so that more money follows the poorest pupils.



A new strategy on public health and preventing ill-health is proposed. A separate proposal will investigate ways of improving access to preventative healthcare in disadvantaged areas to tackle health inequalities. This begs the question about the priority which will be given to addressing health inequalities, compared with the previous government’s proposals for a national health inequality strategy.

The strategy on public health and preventing ill-health will aim to harness innovative techniques to help people take responsibility for their own health.

It is also proposed that greater control will be given to communities over public health budgets with payment by the outcomes they achieve in improving the health of local residents.

There are also proposals to increase democratic participation in the NHS, for incentives to improve primary care in disadvantaged areas and for greater involvement of independent and voluntary providers in the delivery of health services.

Health Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to implement the Government’s proposals for a sustainable national framework for the NHS; to support a patient led NHS focused on outcomes; and to deliver on the commitment to reduce bureaucracy.

The main elements are:

  • To establish an independent NHS Board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidance, and to allow GPs to commission services on behalf of their patients.

  • To improve efficiency and outcomes by strengthening the role of the Care Quality Commission and developing Monitor into an economic regulator to oversee aspects of access and competition in the NHS.

  • To take forward proposals to significantly cut the number of health quangos, helping cut the cost of NHS administration by a third.


Criminal justice

In the field of youth justice the Government is going to mirror the Scottish model of a DNA database which limits when DNA can be taken and how long it can be kept if a person is not charged or found innocent. ROTA welcomes these moves as a method to limit the unfair overrepresentation of BAME communities on the database.

The Government is also looking to increase information-sharing among statutory services to focus stop and search tactics on areas where weapons are carried.

We will seek to inform this work using evidence from our research such as Building Bridges and Female Voice in Violence. Evidence identified that stop search was minimally effective at tackling weapon carrying and displaced criminal activity to other areas and other methods of violence.

Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to roll back the State, reducing the weight of government imposition on citizens that has increased in recent years through legislation and centralised programmes.

The main elements are:

  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

  • The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

  • The reform of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

  • The repeal of unnecessary criminal offences.

  • The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register and halting second generation biometric passports.

  • Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.

  • The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.

  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

  • Further regulation of CCTV.

  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.


Big Society

There are proposals for support for increased social responsibility, volunteering and philanthropy, to make it easier for people to come together to improve their communities. This will include the introduction of a National Citizens Service, with an initial programme for 16 year olds. Funds from dormant bank accounts will be used to establish a ‘Big Society Bank’, to provide new finance for neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other non-governmental bodies.

Key ministerial positions

Key ministerial positions of relevance to race equality include Theresa May MP (Conservative), who was named Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, and Lynne Featherstone MP (Liberal Democrat), who is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities. Lib Dem MP and Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell will hold the race equality and community cohesion brief. He succeeds former Labour MP Shahid Malik in the post. His other duties will include building regulations and the Big Society.

A government committee chaired by the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith MP has been set up to consider issues around poverty, equality and social justice. Former children’s spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, David Laws, now Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will be vice chair of the social justice committee. Children’s Minister Sarah Teather MP is also on the committee, along with junior equalities minister Lynne Featherstone. A full list of government ministers and responsibilities is available here.


Details of the £6bn cuts to public funding were announced on Monday 24 May with the emergency budget coming on Tuesday 22 June. ROTA will consider the implications of proposed cuts for BAME organisations and their communities in next month’s newsletter.

London’s local election results

The outcome of the London local elections has resulted in Labour controlling 17 boroughs, Conservatives 11, the Liberal Democrats two, and with no overall control in two boroughs. You can find a summary of all the results, including borough by borough breakdowns, comparisons to previous results and the outcomes of London's elected mayoral ballots on the London Councils 2010 borough elections website here.


2. ROTA’s Female Voice in Violence Project

FVV Coalition

The Female Voice in Violence Coalition has now been formed. Over the coming year, its working group will be monitoring progress against recommendations from the project’s first report, published in February 2010. The working group is made up of representatives from the BAME and mainstream women’s sectors, the youth sector, the specialist youth violence sector and the statutory sector. Get more information on the working group and join the Female Voice in Violence Coalition network here or contact Carlene.

Consultation on the Sustainability of the Violence Against Women and Girls Sector

The Government Equalities Office has developed a strategic action plan, in partnership with other government departments, to look at what the Government could do to support the sustainability of the violence against women and girls (VAWG) voluntary and community sector.

They are gathering views from the VAWG voluntary and community sector, commissioners and others with an interest in the work. If you’re part of a BAME organisation which supports women and girls experiencing violence, we encourage you to respond to this consultation, and make a case for specialist VAW services.

ROTA’s FVV Coalition will be submitting a response to this consultation, with a specific focus on the services that support women and girls affected by gangs and serious youth violence. To contribute to the coalition response please contact Carlene. The consultation runs until 23 July. More details are available here.


3. Criminal Justice

Youth Justice Board moves to the Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice will now have sole responsibility for youth justice and the Youth Justice Board. Previously, the policy area was split between the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, now the Department for Education. Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of Justice, will have responsibility for the youth justice remit.

The Youth Justice Board brings together the agencies whose work is affected by criminal activity among young people. We have worked closely with them through our work on criminal justice and serious youth violence to develop constructive solutions to these problems for the benefit of BAME communities.

ROTA’s knowledge and experience work on the treatment of young BAME people within the justice system raises concerns that the welfare of young offenders may not get the priority it needs.

Effective measures are needed when dealing with young BAME offenders that reflect complex risk and protective factors to address offending behaviour. This requires the active input of families, schools and social services. ROTA will coordinate a response with stakeholders and BAME organisations to engage with the Ministry of Justice.

If you would like further information please contact Ewan.

Young Offender sentencing policy to be reviewed

The way young people are sentenced for offences is set to come under scrutiny after the government revealed it will carry out a full review of sentencing policy.

As part of the Coalition's programme for government document, the review will seek to ensure that sentencing policy is effective in deterring crime, protecting the public, punishing offenders and cutting reoffending.

It also reveals that the government will explore alternative forms of secure, treatment-based accommodation for offenders with mental health problems and drugs offenders.

ROTA will be monitoring the review and will provide support for a constructive and engaged sentencing policy that benefits all young people and reduces crime. The Conservatives have previously shown interest in mandatory minimum sentences for knife carrying. As some evidence suggests a high level of young mugging victims mistakenly carry weapons as a form of defence, there could be a danger of criminalising certain sections of the community unnecessarily.

Equally the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto included the desire to remove custodial sentences for low level offences. This could increase the need for support services for young people and first time offenders. Disseminating the findings of the review to the BAME sector will be an essential aim of ROTA’s activities.

If you would like further information please contact Ewan.

Ethnic profiling: the use of 'race' in UK law enforcement

This Runnymede Trust report on ethnic profiling pulls together commentary from a range of experts, including academics, campaigners, the police and young people who find themselves on the receiving end of stop and search tactics.

A decade after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, a number of commentators have declared institutional racism a thing of the past. Yet the over-representation of BAME people as targets of ‘hard’ law enforcement techniques has grown since the Inquiry. Black people are eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, and the greatest racial disproportionality continues to be found where police officers have the most extensive discretionary powers.

Find out more about the report here.

Where does racism come from?

A new educational guide from PHULL aims to increase understanding about racism.

A key recommendation from ROTA’s Restoring Relationships Project was the need for an increased focus on informing people at an early stage about racism.

On 19 May, PHULL launched the guide which explains the origins of the ideas behind racism, who came up with them, what they said, and what legacy their ideas have for the 21st century. Its aim is to enable people to increase their understanding about racism and its origins, and for this information to become more widely known. For more information contact phull2007@yahoo.co.uk.


4. Equalities and human rights

Charity Commission to issue guidance on Equality Act

The Charity Commission has agreed there is a need for guidance on how charities should implement the Equality Act 2010.

The Act, which passed through parliament in April, says a charity can restrict the type of beneficiaries it works with only if its governing document permits benefits to people who share a ‘protected characteristic’, such as ethnicity. Some charities reported difficulty in interpreting this requirement and many feared they would have to change their constitution to continue to deliver their services.

The Charity Commission will publish guidance once the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have published their guidance due out in the summer.

ROTA has developed training for BAME organisations on how the Equality Act 2010 can be used to protect against discrimination and ensure public bodies are fulfilling their duties. We will inform that training with any supplementary guidance that the Charity Commission provides.

Contact Ewan if you would like more information on our Equality Act training, or the guidance produced by the Charity Commission or the EHRC.

5. Health Inequalities

London Health Commission Awards – closing date 18 June 2010

The second London Health Commission Awards are open to applications from small community groups and businesses which are improving the health and wellbeing of their staff, volunteers and communities.

Prizes include £1,000, places at the awards event, exclusive use of a winners' logo and production of a film to showcase each winner’s work.

Winners from 2008 report that the positive impact the awards have had on their work include increased community awareness, as well as greater material and financial support.

Applications can be submitted in eight categories: community groups; small/medium businesses; community cohesion; healthy – good working environments; mental health; wealth – nurturing your workforce; partnership working; wise – engaging your people; partnership achievement with the local community, which will be made to businesses and community groups that have worked effectively in partnership; the Mayor's Award for Active Travel in partnership with Transport for London. This last category is open to community groups or small/medium businesses which are getting people together to be more active.

Find out more and apply here. The deadline for applications is 18 June 2010.

Barriers to the use of health services among BAME communities

ROTA health research evidence demonstrates BAME communities face persistent barriers to accessing appropriate health services and care.

Barriers are often linked to language, communication, culture and lack of diversity in the health care workforce. The Race Equality Foundation aims to help health professionals and BAME organisations working with health and social care issues to overcome some of these barriers by showcasing good practice. Read their latest briefing here.



London Policy News

1. MiNet updates

MiNet’s current priorities are BAME infrastructure, the recession and the Equality Act 2010.

Recession discussions

MiNet, London Funders, RAMFEL, and North London CVS have now arranged dates for sub-regional recession discussions. The discussions provide an opportunity for BAME organisations, funders and key regional bodies to look at some of the newly emerging trends related to the economic downturn. Contact Anthony for more information.

Migrant and minority community organisations and the recession

On 9 June, MODA and Middlesex University will launch the findings of their joint research project about funding and resources available to migrant and minority organisations in London.

The event will bring together minority organisations, funders, researchers and other stakeholders in a series of interactive discussions. Topics will include: the future of the minority voluntary and community sector; changes in the economic and political climate and addressing community needs; service delivery; and access. To attend the event please contact e.sanders@mdx.ac.uk.

Partnership work and commissioning for BAME and migrant organisations

REAP (Refugees in Effective and Active Partnerships) and BrAVA (Brent Association for Voluntary Action) are bringing BAME organisations, councillors and commissioners together to talk about local commissioning. The meeting will take place on 8 June and you can book a place or get more information by contacting poornima@reap.org.uk, 01895 441530 or atim.abrams@brava.org.uk 020 8438 1520.

Single ethnicity meeting

On 17 May, a number of single ethnicity groups met to look at various challenges presently associated with their work.

Discussions focused around whether there is a need for greater brokerage between single ethnicity groups, and how information about commissioning opportunities can be better shared and accessed. If you are a single ethnicity group and would like to attend a future meeting please email Anthony.

London Plan meeting

The Mayor’s London Plan sets out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of the capital over the next 20-25 years.

It will be used by London’s local authorities to shape how the physical development of London should progress between 2011 and 2030. In January MiNet and ROTA submitted a response to the initial phase of consultation on the draft London Plan. Visit the London Plan website to read it.

The next phase is the Examination in Public where a panel will examine the issues with evidence contributed by different statutory, private and voluntary and community organisations. ROTA, MiNet and BNRRN (Black Neighbourhood Renewal and Regeneration Network) will be among the few BAME organisations participating.

On 22 June, MiNet will be working with partners to coordinate a meeting to respond to the Examination in Public on the London Plan.

Just Space and London Civic Forum will also be supporting an equalities perspective in their work. If you would like to attend, or inform these discussions, please contact Anthony.


2. Other London Policy News

Race Equality Scheme – consultation workshop

The Mayor’s Race Equality Scheme is now out for consultation.

Meetings are being held at City Hall to give Londoners an opportunity to have their say on the plans.

The Race Equality Scheme sets out what the Greater London Authority (GLA) has done, and plans to do, to make sure the opportunities that London has to offer are available to everyone regardless of race. At the meeting you will be able to hear more about the Scheme and put forward your views on the priorities and key areas the Mayor has identified.

Find out more about the Scheme, the consultation and the meetings here.

ROTA will be responding to the consultation and would welcome any contributions to our submission. Please contact Barbara if you’re interested.


Gender Equality Scheme – take part in the ROTA submission

A consultation is also being held on the Mayor’s Gender Equality Scheme.

The ROTA-based Female Voice in Violence Coalition, which looks at the impact of serious youth and gang violence on women and girls, will be making a submission and also welcomes contributions to our submission. Find out more about the Female Voice in Violence Coalition here, and to contribute to the Coalition submission please contact Carlene.

Have your say! Join the VSF survey on the future of the London Councils’ commissioning programme

Following the London local elections, a Voluntary Sector Forum survey aims to gain a better understanding of ideas about the potential future of the London Councils’ commissioning programme.

It is very important to VSF that they reach all London's communities as potential cuts to the budget may affect BAME organisations and their beneficiaries. The survey will enable VSF to lead the debate with London Councils and their new members. Read it here.

The deadline for responses is 25 June. For further information or clarity please contact Tim Brogden, VSF Development Officer, LVSC by emailing tim@lvsc.org.uk or calling 020 3349 8937.

Integrated in Brent: A project between housing and refugee organisations

‘Integrated in Brent’ aims to tackle housing and community development issues faced by the many refugee and migrant communities in the borough.

Innisfree and Inquilab are housing associations whose work is based mainly in Brent. They came together to create Integrated in Brent, working with the local authority, Brent Refugees and Migrants Forum and some of the many based organisations of refugees based in Brent.

The report shares the project’s evaluation findings and good practice that emerged. Find out more and order a copy of the report here.

Recruitment of Two New Advisory Group members

MiNet is now recruiting for two members to sit on its Advisory Group. This is a good opportunity for organisations involved in policy and voice who are committed to representing the interests and concerns of London’s BAME population to inform regional policy. MiNet is inviting applications from individuals representing 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.




About the newsletter
Our policy newsletter provides a monthly update on developments under our three policy priorities – health, education and criminal justice – as well as from our policy projects which fall under these areas. It also provides a more general update on policy developments in London which are likely to impact on BAME communities, and from MiNet.

About MiNet
MiNet is London's BAME third sector network which provides a voice for London's BAME population in the development of regional policy. Since 2002, MiNet has been hosted by ROTA on behalf of London's BAME third sector.