|ISSUE 51 - January 2012
|Children, young people and schools
Call for evidence: Office of the Children's Commissioner's Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups (CSEGG)
The Office of the Children’s
Commissioner has launched a two year enquiry into Child
Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups, which will
be conducted under the Children’s Commissioner
powers laid out in the Children’s Act 2004.
The call for evidence (which has now closed) forms part
of the information gathering process. ROTA has submitted
evidence to the Inquiry.
You can see the response here.
Boris Johnson launches inquiry into London schools
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
ROTA, 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.
NRCs online database of supplementary schools goes live
NRC has launched a new online database
of supplementary schools. Over 2,700 organisations from
across England are listed by region and local authority.
The database includes detailed information on the schools,
including curriculum subjects and languages taught,
additional activities, number of pupils, level of Quality
Framework reached and contact details. To access the
database please click here.
|Criminal justice and mental health
Gang and Youth Violence
Elizabeth Henry, ROTA’s CEO, is a member of the
Home Office’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence Advisory
Group. The aim of the group is to support the Ending
Gang and Youth Violence Strategy.
The cross-government report, published
on 1 November 2011, sets out detailed plans to make
this happen through:
providing support to local areas to tackle the
preventing young people becoming involved in violence
in the first place, with a new emphasis on early
intervention and prevention
pathways out of violence and the gang culture for
young people wanting to make a break with the past
punishment and enforcement to suppress the violence
of those refusing to exit violent lifestyles
partnership-working to join up the way local areas
respond to gang and other youth violence
A summary of the report and a more
detailed version including further evidence and good
practice case studies are available here.
developing a strategic framework for girls and women
The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC)
has been commissioned by the GLA to develop a strategic
framework with minimum standards for girls affected
by criminal gangs and serious youth violence in London.
WRC have brought together key organisations as an Expert
Advisory Group to the development of the framework.
Rahana Mohammed, Head of Policy represents ROTA on the
Expert Advisory Group. The report is due in March 2012
and is linked to the GLA’s Violence Against Women’s
Strategy. The Way Forward which can be viewed here.
on the London Criminal Justice Scene
During the first month of 2012 we have
seen a number of changes and plans taking place across
the criminal justice arena. Boris Johnson, as Mayor
of London, become the first Police and Crime Commissioner
in England and Wales, at the same time the Metropolitan
Police Service have commenced the development of a new
strategy to tackle gang-related crime and serious youth
violence. Amongst all this the Legal Aid, Sentencing
and Punishment of Offenders Bill weaves it way through
However, in a month when we have seen
levels of confidence in the police put under the microscope,
particularly in the wake of two people convicted of
the heinous murder of Stephen Lawrence, the Metropolitan
Police have signalled plans to alter the way in which
it operates its section 60, stop and search tactics.
Section 60 gives powers which allow the Police to Stop
and Search the public without reasonable suspicion.
The Macpherson report 13 years ago
highlighted the tensions caused by stop and search due
to the disproportionate number of BAME people who these
powers were used on. Criticism of the powers has remained,
not least due to the low arrest rate following a stop,
currently at 6%. New Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe,
has stated he would like to see these powers used more
commented that, “Bernard Hogan-Howe, wanted
the arrest rate from all stop and searches carried out
to increase from 6% (at this rate the lowest for an
urban force) to 20%”.
One method mentioned as part of the
reform is to target serious offenders. Although this
has its merits, it cannot be guaranteed that a greater
focus on more serious offenders to improve the ratio
of stop and search activity to actual arrests, will
automatically settle problems or shift responsibility
from equality and rights. In particular, responsibility
of equality has waned with the supposed removal of ‘red
tape’ resulting in changes to the Police and Criminal
Evidence Act (PACE). Changes to PACE have now reduced
the data captured during stop and search activity restricting
the option to assess the validity of allegations of
harassment and abuse. So, although some changes will
be welcome, problems of uncertainty, suspicion, confidence
and trust are likely to remain unless rigorous oversight
and scrutiny can take place on data which is now not
Two men have been convicted of the
racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. Gary Dobson, 36,
and David Norris, 35, were found guilty of murder by
a jury at the Old Bailey. In a struggle that has spanned
the 18 years since Stephen’s murder, Stephens’s
parents campaigned for justice and in so doing unwittingly
exposed the horrible truth of racism and hate crime
The Government appointed MacPherson’s
inquiry highlighted the failure of the police investigation
into Stephen’s murder as well as wide spread institutional
racism within public institutions.
The inquiry made far reaching recommendations
for policing and the criminal justice system.
In the wake of the trial, ROTA is currently
hosting a series of local road shows entitled “Shaping
the future: Race and racism in 21st century Britain”.
For further information regarding the
events please click here.
For further media articles related
to the conviction please see the links below:
News | The
Guardian | The
|Equality Act 2010 update and Training
Public Sector Training: Public Sector on the Equality Act 2010
22nd February, London
The Equality Act 2010 is the most significant
overhaul of equality legislation in more than 35 years;
key provisions came into force on 1st October 2010 and
5th/6th April 2011. Although to some extent, the Act
harmonises and simplifies existing legislative anti-discrimination
and equality protections, it also introduces new provisions
and clarifies the law in important areas.
ROTA has developed an interactive training
course that will equip public bodies in understanding
the new Public Sector Equality Duty (Section 149 of
the Equality Act 2010) and associated specific equality
duties. This course will provide an opportunity to explore
the importance of the new PSED, the new due regard requirements
contained in the Public Sector Equality Duty and the
new specific equality duties; it will also highlight
key trends and lessons from key public sector equality
duty legal cases. If you would like further information
on this training contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
|National and Regional news
London Councils consultation
London Councils has launched another consultation on the future of its grants scheme.
It is proposing to further reduce this
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.
Councillors will need to set the budget
for the 2012-13 scheme at the end of January 2012, when
the consultation is still underway, and this is likely
to see a further cut to reduce the overall budget from
£26 milllion in 2009-10 to £8 million in
ROTA will continue to engage in the
work of the Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF),
who have been leading a 2 year campaign around this
issue. We agree with VSF’s recommends that:
full consideration should be given to priority
setting and agreement reached (based on identified
needs and consultation) before any further budget
reductions are made;
comprehensive equality analysis should be conducted
to assess the impacts of changes;
all current commissions should be extended to March
31st 2013, when the new funding priorities are introduced,
to ensure that service users are not left with gaps
in provision, groups can plan for 2012-13 and London
Councils has sufficient time to develop and implement
the start of the new round of the Scheme in 2013;
future funding should remain on a four-year basis
to provide stability for service users; and
that London Councils arranges an open public meeting
for other London funders of the voluntary and community
sector and the groups affected to discuss its plans
for the future of the Grants Scheme.
ROTA will submit a response to this consultation
urging London Councils to maintain its focus on London’s
most marginalised communities. If you would like to
engage in the consultation, but do not have the capacity
to submit an individual response, we would welcome any
contributions to ours. For more information, please
contact Barbara Nea, Senior Policy Officer, on e: email@example.com
or t: 020 7842 8531.
Read ROTA’s response to London
Councils previous two consultations on its grants scheme
on the publications pages of our website at www.rota.org.uk.
Find out more about the consultation here.
The consultation deadline is 5pm on Friday 23 March 2012.
It's your vote, don't lose it
BAME groups have been underrepresented
in the election process, they have traditionally not
taken up the right to vote and thus have less voice/influence
in planning/decision making structures. ROTA believes
that it is very important to exercise your right to
vote, and supports the work of The Electoral Commission.
On Thursday 3 May local elections will
take place in Scotland and Wales and in some local councils
in England. Elections will also take place for the Mayor
of London and Greater London Assembly.
The Electoral Commission will be launching
a public awareness campaign in March to encourage people
to register to vote. So look out for the adverts on
television, online and in the newspapers, and listen
out for a rather nostalgic radio advert.
The deadline for registering to vote in these elections is 18 April. To check if you are registered you should contact your local electoral registration office. You can find their contact details on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. If you're registered to vote, you should receive a poll card through the post with details of where to vote. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm, so you'll have plenty of time to vote on the day.
|Events and Training
Seminar series: Shaping the future: Race and racism in 21st century Britain
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, launched in November 2011
to coincide with the retrial into the murder of
Stephen Lawrence, will debate these questions
and seek to identify solutions to persistent and
emerging inequalities faced by BAME children,
young people and their families.
Seminars will take place in Tower
Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey and Islington.
Each seminar will begin with a
range of experts presenting their views on what
needs to be done to progress race equality. Seminar
Chairs will then facilitate solutions-focused
discussions with panellists and participants,
including representatives of the BAME voluntary,
community and statutory sectors with roles and
responsibilities relating to children and young
To find out more and to book a place, please click here.
|Tamil oral history project
Volunteering opportunities with the Tamil oral history project
the generations: Tamil stories young and old',a
one-year oral history project supported by the National
Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, is currently
recruiting volunteers to help document the narratives
and experiences of the Tamil community in London.
The project, jointly delivered by Race
on the Agenda and the Tamil Community Centre, is looking
for volunteers with an interest in oral history, Tamil
history and culture, diaspora and migration studies,
social media, documentary film or social policy to join
our mixed-media research team. Volunteer placements
are part-time, unpaid positions, although lunch and
travel expenses will be reimbursed within reasonable
ROTA is a research and social policy
organisation focused on race equality in health, education
and criminal justice. The Tamil Community Centre provides
advice and information for Tamil speaking migrants,
refugees and asylum seekers.
For more information, or to register
your interest, please contact Ryan Mahan, Project Officer:
or 0207 842 8535.
Celebrate Poomaalai 2012 with the Tamil oral history project
The Tamil Community Centre, Hounslow
is hosting its sixth annual Harvest Festival celebration
in Hounslow on Saturday 18 February. Doors open at 5:00pm
and entry is free.
Join in the festivities and learn more
about the Tamil oral history project, a one-year oral
history project supported by the National Lottery through
the Heritage Lottery Fund.
For more information, please visit our website.
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 and MiNet, on London policy developments which are likely to impact on BAME communities.