May 2010    Issue 39

Welcome to the May edition of ROTA's newsletter!

Since the Prime Minister announced the general election there’s been great excitement here at ROTA as we’ve watched the polls dance around with any outcome possible. We’ve been keenly reading the three main parties’ manifestos, preparing our policy lines for after the elections.

BAME communities are under-represented as local councillors in most areas, as Members of Parliament and as voters, and we recommend that members encourage their communities to vote to ensure a stronger influence in democratic structures and processes.

Polling stations will be open in your local areas from 07.00 until 22.00 on Thursday 6 May so please encourage your communities and service users to vote as well.

Last month we welcomed the Equality Act 2010 as it received Royal Assent. Over the last 18 months, through our Winning the Race Coalition, we have worked to ensure that our communities’ views informed the development of this Act. We believe it has the potential to enhance protection for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people who are no longer seen or protected in a single dimensional way. Like any tool, the question now is what we do with it and through our training programmes we will be working to enable the BAME third sector to use it effectively.

In this issue:
National Policy News
01 Equality and Human Rights Policy
02 Criminal Justice
03 Health Inequalities
04 Education and Young People
London Policy News
01 MiNet updates
02 Other London News

Following the success of our London-based Female Voice in Violence project, we are expanding our research into the impact of gangs and serious youth violence to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

Working with local third sector groups and statutory stakeholders in these areas, we will engage young women to act as researchers, collecting evidence in their local areas. We would like to hear from anyone currently work with young women affected in these areas or elsewhere who have examples of promising practice to share. Last month, too, with Imkaan and Nia we formed a national Female Voice and Violence Coalition to take forward the recommendations from the Phase 1 report which was launched in February. Through the Coalition, we will annually review progress made at local, regional and national levels for women and girls affected by gang violence. Find out more here or contact Carlene Firmin at

This month we also say a fond farewell to our Chief Executive, Dr Theo Gavrielides who leaves ROTA after four years to return to his portfolio and academic career, and to spend more time with the youth-led charity he founded, Independent Academic Research Studies. Theo’s new contact details are; phone 0772 005 7750.


National Policy News

1. Equality and Human Rights Policy

Equality Act 2010

The final wording of the Equality Act 2010 is available here. It unifies all previous equality legislation for all the equality strands of age, disability, gender, race, religion and faith, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. It strengthens coverage for all protected characteristics and also extends the provision to include a socio-economic duty on public authorities; improved positive action in employment; and dual discrimination.

Over the coming year, there will be further consultations on the public bodies that should be included under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and the specific duties that will shape its implementation. ROTA and the Winning the Race Coalition will be responding to these consultations and seeking to consult with partners and stakeholders to keep the protections for race central to the Act’s implementation. Find out more about the Winning the Race Coalition, including details of how to get involved here.

Free conference on the Equality Act 2010

The Equality and Diversity Forum is running a conference in Birmingham on 7 June to help third sector organisations to make good use of the 2010 Equality Act. Get more information here.


2. Criminal Justice

DNA database

The DNA database has had restrictions placed on it by the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act 2010 on 7 April 2010. There have been several attempts through the Joint Committee on Human Rights, European Court and others stating that it is disproportionate to keep the DNA profiles of all those arrested on the database indefinitely.

The Criminal Justice Act 2010 means that DNA profiles collected from all those arrested must be destroyed if they are not convicted, except for sexual and violent crimes, in which case the samples can be retained for six years.

The issue of the disproportionate representation of individuals from the African-Caribbean community is still a concern that will need to be addressed over the coming parliament.

ROTA will continue to work to ensure the criminal justice system fairly represents all communities.

Louise Casey appointed as Victims’ Commissioner

Louise Casey has been appointed as the new, independent Victims' Commissioner, Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced on 30 March. The appointment of this Commissioner is part of a package of reforms aimed at improving the support available to victims and witnesses, and personalising the criminal justice system.

The Commissioner will chair a new Victims Advisory Panel and work with victims’ groups to ensure their voices inform government policy. The Commissioner will also review the Code of Practice that provides a guarantee to victims of crime of the level of service to which they are entitled.

New support for victims of hate crime

Victims of hate crime and their families will soon benefit from more than £265,000 to provide increased access to vital support services, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced on 31 March.

Eight organisations from the voluntary sector will receive grants of up to £50,000 to help run projects that work to prevent hate crime and provide specialist support to victims including counselling, access to information, and training for frontline staff.

The hate crime action plan, published in September 2009, includes 70 short-to medium-term actions for government and criminal justice agencies across all five hate crime strands: disability, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, and transgender.

The successful applicants are: GALOP (sexual orientation/gender identity); Press for Change (gender identity); Community Security Trust (race/religion); Torfaen People Trust (disability); VOICE UK (Disability); Furness Multicultural Community Forum (race/religion); Anthony Walker Foundation (race); and GACARA (all).

Home Affairs Select Committee criticises IPCC

The Home Affairs Select Committee has criticised the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for handling cases in a "distant and non-empathetic manner" and for failing to win confidence with the potential for retired officers investigating their old force.

It called for the body to be more transparent and better at sharing its initial evidence – but also warned that public confidence was damaged when investigations took too long to be resolved. You can find the report of the committee here.

As part of our further work, ROTA will be examining the issue of complaints in the criminal justice system, particularly as it relates to BAME communities within it.


3. Health Inequalities

Health Foundation looking to Close the Gap

The Health Foundation, an organisation that works to ensure an equitable and quality UK health system, is looking for partnerships to be part of this year's Closing the Gap award scheme. This scheme will fund eight partnerships up to £400,000 each to transform the dynamic between those who use health services and those who provide them.

Potential partnerships include local clinical leaders, commissioners, providers, service users, change agencies and the voluntary sector. Find out more here.

Diabetes Lifestyle

Diabetes Lifestyle is a newsletter produced by Diabetes UK aimed at BAME communities. The newsletter contains information on diabetes management and care, as well as information on local community events and campaigning issues. It is available here.

First 'Health and Criminal Justice Tsar' announced

Professor Louis Appleby will be the first National Clinical Director for Health and Criminal Justice.

The move reflects an increased focus on improving the mental health of offenders and develops responsibilities from Professor Appleby’s current work as National Clinical Director for Mental Health Services.

She will champion the Government’s action plan ‘Improving Health, Supporting Justice’, which set out measures to get health and criminal justice services working together more effectively.

ROTA was involved in developing this action plan to ensure it was responsive to the particular mental health issues faced by BAME people within the criminal justice system. Find out more here.

A series of new reports on criminal justice and mental health

The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health has recently produced a series of reports on the future of mental health, and mental health and criminal justice, which are available here. ‘Looking Ahead: The next 25 years in mental health’ includes an article by Melba Wilson, National Mental Health Development Unit, about the need for the mental health system to be responsive to the needs of communities of diversity in a way that encompasses issues of equality, social inclusion and social determination.

ROTA informs the work of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health to ensure it considers the particular mental health issues of BAME communities through our representation on its Mental Health and Criminal Justice Third Sector Liaison Forum.


4. Education and Young People National Policy

Introduction to the ‘Pupil and Parent Guarantees’

In April we submitted our response to the consultation on the ‘Introduction of Pupil and Parent Guarantees’ to the Department for Schools, Families and Children (DCSF). Our final response is available here. It welcomed the increased emphasis on providing personalised and targeted support, which we believed had the potential to act as an effective tool against educational inequality. The guarantee for one-to-one tuition which our response commended, has since been removed from the Children, Schools and Families Act, which received Royal Assent last month (see below for further information).

Our response welcomed the commitment made to supporting parents to engage in their children’s education. However, we expressed concern at the limited reference to educational inequalities and racial inequality within the document and urged government to develop the guarantees further in response.

Children, Schools and Families Act

The Children, Schools and Families Act received Royal Assent on 8 April. A number of clauses in the Bill were dropped in the final stages including compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE) and personal, social and health education (PSHE) for 15-year-olds, one-to-one tuition, a home education register and school report cards. ROTA had hoped to feed the findings from our Female Voice in Violence project on sexual violence and bullying into the statutory SRE and PSHE programmes, and will now be seeking new ways to engage in the education system. Find out more about the Act here.

New Vetting and Barring Schemes and Independent Safeguarding Authority

It is vital that third sector organisations working with children and young people are familiar with the new Vetting and Barring Scheme and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Under the Vetting and Barring Scheme, a range of new safeguards have been introduced, with which many third sector organisations will need to comply. The aim of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. It works with the Criminal Records Bureau and other delivery partners to achieve this.

Havering Association of Voluntary and Community Organisations (HAVCO) have produced a clear briefing for third sector organisations and will be delivering local roadshows. To contact HAVCO for the briefing please use the contact details available here. Further information about the Independent Safeguarding Authority is available here.

The support needs of BAME families with vulnerable young boys

The Black Training Enterprise Group (BTEG) is undertaking research into the support needs of BAME vulnerable families with young boys. The findings so far suggest that there are three broad areas of support needs emerging: information, advice and guidance; parenting skills and confidence; and counselling support arrangements.

BTEG is looking for feedback on the extent to which these broad areas reflect the needs of parents coping with young boys who are at risk of poor education outcomes, offending behaviour or mental health care support. Read the interim executive report here. To get involved in the research please contact by 14 May. Education has been a policy priority for ROTA for over 20 years because of the persistent inequalities faced by BAME communities in education, and we welcome this project.


London Policy News

1. MiNet updates

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. MiNet’s current priorities are BAME infrastructure, the recession and the Equality Act 2010. This section provides an update relevant to these priorities.

Find out more about MiNet here.

What changes have taken place in your borough?

  • Have any essential services been cut in your borough?

  • Are you expecting any of the services you deliver to be cut as a result of public spending reductions?

If so, inform MiNet about these changes here and you will automatically be entered to win a £50 voucher. This will also allow MiNet to more accurately represent the concerns of London’s BAME third sector at a regional level.

Single ethnicity infrastructure and support providers meeting

There are many questions being raised about the need for infrastructure at present. While government’s proposed ‘Cohesion Guidance for Funders’ in 2008, which advised funders not to fund single ethnicity organisations, has impacted on funding available to the sector even though it was withdrawn.

If you provide support specifically to a single ethnic group, MiNet invites you to an initial one off meeting. On 17 May, MiNet will be bringing together organisations which deliver their services to single ethnic groups to look at some of the key issues for these groups. If you would like to attend this meeting or would like more information please contact Anthony Salla on

Seeking sound advice – financial inclusion and ethnicity

The Runnymede Trust has published research showing that many BAME people experience exclusion from existing sources of money advice. It also shows that many are at risk of exclusion from Money Guidance, the government's new money advice service, which provides free and impartial guidance on a range of money issues and is currently being extended across the country. The report makes recommendations to ensure that BAME people are able to access and make full use of Money Guidance. The full report is available here.

Commission launches eastern European migrants’ report

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published the first comprehensive report looking at the skills and employment patterns of Britain’s eastern European migrants. ‘The UK’s New Europeans Report’ found that these migrants were primarily working in low skilled, low paid employment. Despite having higher education attainment levels than local employees, eastern Europeans earned on average 12.5 per cent less than British-born workers. More than half of the 1.5 million people from ‘new’ European countries have returned home. Only 700,000 people remain, with in-flows of eastern European migrants to Britain dropping by more than 60 per cent in the past three years. Find out more about the report here.


2. Other London Policy News

REAP Hillingdon Refugee Children’s Network

The recently established Hillingdon Refugee Children’s Network (HRCN) is a network for activists, agencies and voluntary and statutory professionals who work with refugee children across the London borough of Hillingdon. The initiative may prove to be a valuable model to raise and address the difficulties faced by accompanied and unaccompanied children in Hillingdon. The network will have quarterly events and strong communication channels and the next meeting is scheduled for 10 June. If you are interested in learning more about the network or wish to join HCRN, please contact

The Mayor of London’s final Health Inequalities Strategy

The Mayor has published his final Health Inequalities Strategy and its accompanying action plan, which are available here. In January, ROTA submitted a comprehensive consultation response to the draft strategy, which highlighted the persistent health inequalities faced by London’s BAME communities and proposed solutions to them. ROTA’s response is available here. Over the coming months ROTA will be seeking to engage with the Greater London Authority on the action plan.

The Mayor’s London Plan

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, ROTA submitted a response to the consultation held on the draft London Plan. Our response highlighted the need for greater consideration of the disadvantage faced by many BAME communities.

The next phase is the Examination in Public where a panel will examine the issues with evidence contributed by different statutory, private and third sector organisations. ROTA has been identified as one of the few BAME organisations participating. ROTA is advising the panel that a wider range of BAME community organisations are involved than at present.

If you have any further questions please get in touch with Ewan Kennedy on

London Councils’ commissioning priorities 2011-2015

London Councils currently awards £28.4 million funding to the third sector each year. Every four years, after the establishment of a new administration following London local government elections, the Leaders’ Committee sets new priorities for the programme of commissioning by the Grants Committee.

London Councils has already completed Phase 1 of scoping in preparation for this, which included a comprehensive consultation of London’s third sector and other relevant stakeholders.

ROTA submitted a consultation response based on evidence from our varied research projects and a consultation with our London-based members. Our response is available here. In the next stage London Councils’ officers will draft and consult on the content of specifications for each of the prospective services, for consideration by the new Leaders’ Committee in June/July 2010.

ROTA will continue to engage with London Councils in the development of its commissioning priorities and service specifications. To find out more about the initial findings from phase 1 of the London Councils’ consultation please visit their website here.