|ISSUE 52 - April 2012
|Children, young people and schools
inquiry into London schools - update
On 11 November the Mayor of London
announced a new education inquiry aimed at exploring
the critical challenges facing London's primary and
secondary schools. Key issues will be: How to support
schools to continue to drive up standards; Meeting the
demand for good school places; Increasing investment
in school buildings and supporting the growth of academies
and free schools; Encouraging more partnerships between
state schools and independent schools, businesses and
charitable or cultural organisations; Tackling underachievement
of particular ethnic groups, boys and those from disadvantaged
backgrounds; Driving school improvement and keeping
class sizes to maximum of 30 pupils; Increasing take
up of key subjects such as Languages and STEM (Science,
Technology and Maths) to ensure London’s workforce
are skilled for the future economy; Exploring the role
of vocational education, careers support for future
work; Provision of after school clubs and supplementary
report from the inquiry has now been published for
ROTA has produced a briefing on the
interim report which is available here.
ROTA, BTEG, the Runnymede Trust and
the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education
will be working together to ensure this Inquiry considers
the inequalities faced by London’s BAME children
and young people in education, highlighting the key
role supplementary schools play in addressing these.
To find out more and to work with us
in responding to this Inquiry please contact Barbara
Nea, Senior Policy Officer on email@example.com
or tel: 020 7842 8531.
To read the Mayor of London's press
release about the Inquiry here.
|Criminal justice and mental health
Prisoners, Mental Health and Wellbeing and the Government
In March, the Government announced
that people leaving prison who go on to claim Job Seekers
Allowance (JSA) will be referred immediately to the
Work Programme and any benefits will be lost if ex-prisoners
refuse to cooperate.
Employment minister, Chris Grayling,
has argued the new measures are designed to reduce reoffending.
said:"Getting former offenders into work
is absolutely crucial to tackling our crime challenge.
The rate of reoffending in Britain is far too high,
and we have to reduce it. In the past we just sent people
out onto the same streets where they offended in the
first place with virtually no money and very little
It is anticipated that up to 30,000
prisoners who leave jail each year, who then claim JSA,
will be referred to the Work Programme (one third of
all those claiming job seekers allowance have criminal
records, with 28% on employment support).
ROTA welcomes the joint pledge on Mental
Health and Wellbeing from the Work Programme prime providers
and hope this is reflected in effective support and
services. This should go some way to helping people
with mental ill health gain and sustain paid work. It
is imperative that this support is equally available
for people leaving prison and that it recognises the
links between health and employment so that they are
ROTA’s research into commissioned
services for ex-offenders highlights the importance
of employment support taking place in a “through
the gates” fashion to increase success. See the
executive summery of the Effective Commissioning to
Reduce Re-offending here.
This will be a challenging aspect for the Work Programme
prime contract holders who will need to balance the
nuanced needs of prisoners, including those where there
may be a skills gap. Adding sufficient flexibility within
the work programme is absolutely crucial and may go
some way towards reducing the racial inequalities particularly
experienced by black and black British ex-offenders
in obtaining employment.
Wider concerns for prisoners
ROTA welcomes the investment into diversion
and liaison services across courts and police stations.
However, ROTA is concerned that there has not been equal
focus on supporting and effectively diverting ex-offenders
with mental health conditions. As commented by Sean
Duggan, Centre for Mental Health, "Nine
out of ten prisoners have a mental health condition.
It is vital that people leaving prison are assessed
accurately under the Work Capability Assessment and
given the right level of support from the Work Programme
based on their personal needs”. The delivery
of mental health support in prisons remains a pressing
concern for ROTA. For example, evidence
shows that 26.1% of Irish Travellers in prison have
1 or more mental illnesses. In comparison, it is estimated
that 10% of the prison population has ‘serious
mental health problems.
Without adequately identifying and
thereafter supporting prisoners with mental health conditions
whilst in prison, then efficiently coordinating health
and employment services upon their release success will
be limited. Therefore it is necessary to ensure user
led involvement shaping the delivery of the Work Programme.
|Equality Act 2010 update and Training
|Currently no new updates.
oral history project
Community Centre women exchange stories of migration
for International Women's Day
On 30 March, a Tamil Community Centre
women's group hosted a story hour on women and migration
to celebrate International Women's Day.
Women in the group shared their experiences
of life in the UK and reflected on the circumstances
for women in their country of origin. Participants spoke
candidly about the impact of social change and migration
on women in Sri Lanka and around the world.
To hear their stories, stay tuned for
a series of short films, currently in development for
the Through the generations: Tamil oral history project,
due out in late 2012. The session was made possible
with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Oxfam and
Race on the Agenda. For more information, visit our
research ranks grow with newly certified young Tamils
Fifteen young Tamil volunteers, aged
12 – 16, earned introductory certificates in oral
history and social research at a workshop delivered
by Dr. Lorena Arocha of the University of Bedfordshire.
The participatory workshop, hosted
in conjunction with the Through the generations: Tamil
oral history project, included discussions on the value
of community heritage and the importance of sharing
memories of home. The young researchers developed their
communication, interviewing and critical thinking skills,
while applying their knowledge of technology to audio
Certificates will be awarded during
a Hounslow Tamil New Year celebration in April. The
young volunteers will also be participating in photography
workshops, with the work set to be featured in a larger
exhibition on Tamil migration in West London in Autumn
For more information on taking part
in future sessions, please contact Ryan Mahan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Events and Training
series: Shaping the future: Race and racism in
21st century Britain
In partnership with Tower Hamlets
CVS, the Osmani Trust, Hackney CVS, the Selby
Centre and Islington BAME CVS, this seminar series
has now been successfully delivered. Through the
series, over 200 representatives from the voluntary,
community, statutory and private sectors considered
the broad questions: “Is there an elephant
in the room? If we live in a post-racial society,
why do certain ethnic groups continue to experience
disadvantage? This seminar series was launched
in November 2011 at the House of Lords to coincide
with the retrial into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
It had a particular focus on solutions to persistent
and emerging inequalities faced by BAME children,
young people and their families.
A full report will be available
and Regional news
brush’ approach to integration strategy points
finger without direction
The Department for Communities and
Local Government’s integration strategy arrives
at a time of popular anxiety over the economy, security
and immigration. Unfortunately, its broad brush brand
of vintage populism provides none of the strong leadership
demanded of the situation, argues Elizabeth Henry, ROTA
The current debate on multiculturalism
and immigration set out in the DCLG’s Creating
the conditions for integration focuses on two reasons
for our ‘integration failures’. One, according
to the paper, policies based in legal rights and anti-discrimination
law have ‘not solved the problem and, where it
has encouraged a focus on single issues and specific
groups, may in some cases have exacerbated it’.
The second failure is alleged to be consequence of those
migrants who are ‘unwilling to integrate’.
This repetition of myths about ‘red
tape’ bureaucracy and ‘hard to reach’
minorities immediately sets off alarm bells. What evidence
do we have that particular groups are failing to buy-in
to the UK’s value system? Should we be lumping
the vast and super-diverse individuals who populate
modern Britain into groups of ‘will's’ and
‘will not's’? Are muscularly ‘localist’
policies that give local groups the power to ultimately
decide who does and does not belong responsible? Where
is the evaluation of the strides we have made? What
about the role of the BAME voluntary sector?
There is a third, unavoidable failure
that we have to consider if we are to properly judge
the merits of the strategy.
here for more.
The Department of Work and Pensions
have released data analysed using the Labour Force Survey.
The data reveals that the rate of unemployment for young
black people is 44% compared to 20% of the white population.
This is important when research has clearly stressed
that unemployment rates for people from minority ethnic
groups rises faster than average unemployment during
recessions (Berthoud, 2009). This is a pattern which
has been repeated in past recessions (Smith 1977, Jones,
1993) with ethnic minority unemployment rising faster
than white unemployment. How fair is that?
More information and DWP additional
statistical analyses can be found here.
is making an unwelcome resurgence
The racially aggravated abuse of Mauro
Demetrio by PC Alex MacFarlane is one of a string of
abuses gaining coverage in the media. Add to that those
who have taken to Twitter to abuse black football players
from Fabrice Muamba to James Perch and we have a situation
in need of swift action. What is frustrating is that
in the wake of the Evra/Ferdinand affair(s), few, Twitter
abusers without the requisite institutional backing
aside, are actually being held to account for their
actions. Months after convictions were finally gained
in the Stephen Lawrence case, the fact that PC MacFarlane
has not been held to account is a symbol that we can
not drop our guard.
This leads to one suggestion. A study
by the LSE’s Alan Manning on sense of belonging
among minority ethnic and white British communities
argues that Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
say they have a strong sense of belonging to Britain
and their local community, despite factors such as residential
segregation. It is the white British respondents who
reported a lower sense of belonging, especially when
asked if they agreed if one can belong to Britain and
maintain a separate/religious identity. In one sense,
the integration strategy follows this line of logic,
it gives precedence to these anxieties of the majority
population, without advocating policy that diffuses
them, dispelling myths about migrants and speaking in
clear terms about issues of integration, legislation
A related point has been made that
Government policy on multiculturalism has never been
the heavy-handed and deep set of prescriptions we are
made to believe it is. The suggestion here is that it
has failed because it has not been applied liberally
enough. Controversially in London, one of the most diverse
cities in the world, should be implementing substantive
policies and programmes that address intercultural relations
between minority ethnic groups, tackle racism and impact
on the real, material circumstances of belonging –
education, criminal justice, access to health, jobs
and physical security. At the same time, this should
reject the idea that celebrating difference widens the
gap between us all.
London Councils latest consultation
on the London Borough Grants Scheme closed on 23 March
Through the consultation, London Councils
asked about its proposals to further reduce the scheme,
which for years has funded the voluntary and community
sector to address inequalities in London. A significant
proportion of the fund has been targeted at disadvantaged
BAME communities. It is possible that the budget for
the scheme will be reduced to as little as £8
million in 2013 – 14. In 2009 – 10 the budget
was £26 million.
ROTA has submitted a response which
is available from the publications pages of our website
along with responses to previous consultations.
London Councils will make a final decision
about the future of the London Borough Grants Scheme
on 12th June.
news, events and training
Equality Scorecard Launch
On 30 January, the Runnymede
Trust launched its Race Equality Scorecard project
in partnership with the Kingston Race Equality Council.
The project aims to enable communities to hold local
authorities and strategic stakeholders, such as the
police and NHS, to account for how they are working
to combat racial inequalities. To find out more email
strategy fails to address race equality
The Government’s integration
the Conditions for Integration’ was published
on Tuesday 21st February. This document does little
to address racial inequalities.
The strategy presents integration as
being a one way process, with an emphasis on adhering
to ‘British values’ and the social norms
of the ‘majority’. It also has little evidence
backing up its approach, very few policy solutions and
very little focus on race equality. In addition, the
strategy fails to consider the benefits of working with
BME voluntary and community organisations to promote
integration and achieve equality, despite the valuable
work they do across the country.
Voice4Change is running a campaign
for a fairer society calling for a Race Equality Strategy,
for further information please click here.
report identifies race as a causal factor in the 2011
Runnymede’s report of the Riot
Roundtables project was published in March 2012.
The Riot Roundtables brought key local
decision-makers, professionals, young people and members
of the community together to find out what happened
during the riots and what can be done to prevent something
similar happening again. Runnymede was keen to find
out if race played a role in the riots.
To find out more about Runnymede’s
Riot Roundtables, please click here.
It’s time to move on from ‘race’
30th April 2012, from 11am
Dr Yasmin Gunaratnam of Goldsmiths,
University of London is chairing a seminar to celebrate
the a launch of a new book from Policy Press. Understanding
‘Race’ and Ethnicity: Theory, history, policy,
practice edited by Gary Craig, Karl Atkin, Sangeta Chattoo
and Ronny Flynn refute the claim by politicians that
the issue of ‘race’ is well covered by the
present policy and political context.
The seminar is on the 30th April 2012,
from 11am to 2pm with refreshments and a light lunch
provided. The venue for the seminar is Resource for
London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA.
To attend please contact email@example.com
by the 16th April.
Community Empowerment Network are hosting
a 2 Day Restorative Justice Awareness course (Saturdays
5th and 12th May and a 4 Day Restorative Justice Facilitators
training course (Saturdays 5th, 12th 19th & 26th
May 2012 ) to be held in the Shakespeare Business Centre,
245a Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8RR.
Restorative Justice is ‘…a
process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular
offence (or incident) come together to resolve collectively
how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and the
implications for the future’ (Marshall, 1999).
The two day (RJ Awareness) and the
four day (RJ Facilitators) training courses are aimed
at anyone who wants to either familiarise themselves
with RJ principles and background as well as those who
want to be able to provide RJ conferencing and includes
school staff, youth workers; youth offending services;
social care services; residential care; community and
voluntary services; probation services; police forces;
local authorities; and human resource personnel.
For further details and to register,
please contact Deuan German, Training Officer at Communities
Empowerment Network deuan.@cenlive.org
T: 020 7733 0297 M: 07958 546 113 www.cenlive.org.
Race on the Agenda
c/o Voluntary Sector Centre, International Press Centre
76 Shoe Lane London EC4A 3JB
Tel: 020 7842 8533 Fax: 020 7842 8535
IF YOU NO LONGER WISH TO RECEIVE THIS NEWSLETTER OR YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS EMAIL BY MISTAKE, PLEASE CONTACT SAIFUR VALLI on t: 020 7842 8533, RACE ON THE AGENDA, C/O VOLUNTARY SECTOR CENTRES, INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTRE, 76 SHOE LANE, LONDON EC4A 3JB
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,
from ROTA on London policy developments which are likely to impact
on BAME communities.