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The outcome of the Equalities Red Tape Challenge and Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission shimAdd News581 to Scrapbook
Baroness Verma: My right honourable Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:
I am today announcing the outcome of the Red Tape Challenge spotlight on Equalities, alongside the Government response to the consultation on the reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Equalities Red Tape Challenge package balances the need to provide important legal protection from discrimination with identifying which measures in the Equality Act 2010 are placing unnecessary or disproportionate burdens on business.

The package aims to reduce these burdens through delaying or repealing the law.

We have today published consultation documents on the removal of provisions relating to:

• employer liability for the harassment of an employee by a third party e.g. a customer;

• the power of Tribunals to make wider recommendations in a successful discrimination case; and the statutory mechanism by which individuals can obtain information where they think an employer, or service provider, has acted unlawfully towards them.

We will:

• proceed with the repeal of the socio-economic duty;

• delay commencement of the dual discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010;

• delay commencement of reasonable adjustments to common parts provisions.
We have also looked again at the public sector Equality Duty (PSED). This Government has a strong commitment to equality of opportunity. But we also have a strong desire to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy where it exists and consider alternatives to legislation. We committed last year to assess the effectiveness of the PSED specific duties. We have decided to bring forward that review and extend it to include both the general and specific duties to establish whether the Duty is operating as intended.

A proportionate approach to legislation goes hand in hand with our plans for the EHRC.
We want the EHRC to become a valued and respected national institution. To do so, we believe it must focus on the areas where it can add value – as an independent equality body and ‘A - rated’ National Human Rights Institution. And, it must be able to show that it is using taxpayers’ money wisely.

Taking account of the views expressed in our consultation: Building a fairer Britain: Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, we have decided to scrap vague, unnecessary and obsolete provisions from the Equality Act 2006 to focus the EHRC on its core functions.

In parallel, we are implementing a strong package of non-legislative measures, including:

• recruiting a new Chairman, to succeed Trevor Phillips who is standing down, and a new smaller Board;

• conducting a comprehensive review of the EHRC’s budget;

• implementing tighter performance and financial controls set out in a new Framework Document.

We consider that this package has the potential to deliver the change in the EHRC’s performance that we all want to see, but we will review the EHRC’s progress at its next triennial review in Autumn 2013.

Copies of the consultation documents on removal of specific provisions in the Equality Act 2010, and the Government response to the EHRC consultation will be placed in the House Library and can also be found on the Home Office website at the following link www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities
We need to talk about migration: Daniel Silver blog for Voice4Change shimAdd News580 to Scrapbook

It is very difficult to have a reasonable conversation about migration. The dominant narrative is extremely negative. Polls suggest seventy per cent of people in the UK believe there is too much immigration. However, if you ask people if they have had direct problems as a result of immigration, this figure plummets to around twenty per cent. We need to change this narrative and show that migration is an essential part of the future. Making migration work is critical to building a dynamic society and economy.

One North West and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration have started this conversation about migration and a paper will be out shortly.

Where is the local evidence?

One major issue that emerged was the absence of local evidence within national policy design and the wider narrative around migration. Local perspectives will allow a more nuanced and effective approach, which can lead to practical solutions for our communities.

If the government is serious about de-centralisation, then local evidence must surely be crucial to migration policy. The Migration Advisory Committee, which provides the evidence that supports government policy, is based upon large quantitative statistics, which can obscure what is happening at a local level. It seems as though local evidence is currently being overlooked.

For example, by 2016 the Government's new strategy on migration includes an attempt to 'break the link between employment and long-term settlement'. This neglects the regional dimension and the adverse impact this policy will have.

 

North/ South divide

The wage threshold of £35,000 is clearly much less common in the North of England. Therefore, many young, skilled and dynamic people will not settle in our region and will re-migrate to the South. This is a problem for the Northern skills base and the long-term viability of the labour market, which has already experienced huge difficulties due to the government's actions of 'rebalancing the economy'.

We must be clear about the impact that government policy is having upon our local economies. We must also develop a robust evidence base to drive locally informed policy and contribute towards a more reasonable narrative that challenges often uninformed rhetoric and policy from national government.

 

An inter-agency approach

Much of this local evidence can be provided by our rich and diverse voluntary and community sector (VCS), which is often working on the front line with migrant communities. VCS groups have a vast amount of knowledge, experience and insight into the needs and capabilities of our new and emerging communities.

However, the VCS shouldn’t try to do this alone. It needs to be inter-agency and interdisciplinary, bringing together key partners from the public sector, universities and the private sector to develop evidence and fresh policy thinking in order to contribute towards building a more dynamic and resilient society and economy in the North.


http://www.voice4change-england.co.uk/content/we-need-talk-about-migration

Progress report on Gypsy and Traveller inequality shimAdd News579 to Scrapbook

In April 2012, the Department forCommunities and Local Governmentpublished a ‘Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers'.

Gypsies and Travellers experience, and are being held back by, some of the worst outcomes of any group across a wide range of social indicators. In November 2010, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government set up a ministerial working group to tackle these issues, bringing together ministers from seven Government departments.

This progress report includes 28 commitments from across Government that will help mainstream services work more effectively with the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Click here for details

Runnymede collection: Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging shimAdd News578 to Scrapbook

‘Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging' was published by Runnymede in April 2012.

The publication, edited by Nira Yuval-Davis and Philip Marfleet,is a collection of papers that were presented at conferences in 2010 and 2011 co-organized by the Runnymede Trust and CMRB – the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London. The contributors address issues of migration, racism and religion.

Click here for details

brap report on Interculturalism shimAdd News577 to Scrapbook

In April 2012, brap published ‘Interculturalism. A breakdown of thinking and practice: lessons from the field'.

After 60 years of community relations policies— from assimilation, to multiculturalism, to community cohesion, to a new, Big Society approach— are we anywhere nearer to solving the problems of integration? And while we're at it: what actually are the problems associated with integration?

This new report explores these ideas and more. Based on recent research into the frontline activities of organisations involved with the Awards for Bridging Cultures, the report looks at:

  • how past approaches to community relations (such as multiculturalism) have affected the way communities interact
  • the activities, initiatives, and projects that are taking place on the ground as communities focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us
  • how integration can be promoted in an age of austerity
  • the skills local authorities and community groups need to establish better relations between people from a range of backgrounds

Click here for details


VSNW Press Release on Choice in Public Services shimAdd News576 to Scrapbook

We welcome the Government's update on the Open Public Services White Paper and the decision to look at ways in which public services can be better linked to individual choice. 

The recent research by VSNW and CLES identified that there has been significant shortcomings in the way that public service reform has so far sidelined equality. It finds evidence of 'the stripping away of specialist services, governance mechanisms and knowledge, leaving demonstrable growth in inequality as opposed to equality of opportunity'. It evidences the fact that public service reforms are being drawn up with little consideration of their impact on society's most vulnerable. 

The annoucements of a new right to choose, making it easier to set up neighbourhood councils and the independent review on how we can extend choice to the most disadvantaged in society are all extremely important and offer a new range of tools for  our communities. 

However, we must be wary about what we are exchanging here. Are these things taking the place of democractic accountability, of service provision responsive to a diverse range of needs, and is this instead of what we have described as the development of 'small state equalities' that draws on the UK's equalities heritage? The 'supermarketisation' of public services is unlikely to create better public services. 

Richard Caulfield, Chief Executive of Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW), said:

"Encouraging a culture of legal redress will not save the state money; it will increase bureaucracy and put choice on the hands of those that can afford a lawyer. Instead of central leadership and new models of local collaboration, the danger is we will get providers with the best in-house legal teams and the best insurance cover. This won't just dismantle the big state, it will take local services away from local people and from those that most need them".

We need responsible reform that makes the best use of all available resources and engages communities - all of our communities - in the way services are designed. 

Neil MnInroy, Chief Executive of CLES, said:

"Reform of public services is required. However, any reform process must be responsible, ensuring that negative unintended consequences are kept to a minimum. Our work with VSNW casts a torch onto a reform process, which is starting to have negative effects, and in light of this we wanted to demonstrate that a responsible way forward is possible. I hope today's updated paper represents such an approach".   

Integration strategy fails to address race equality shimAdd News575 to Scrapbook

The Government's integration strategy, ‘Creating the Conditions for Integration' was published on Tuesday 21st February. It does little to address racial inequalities.We want the Government to produce, publish and put into practice a cross-government race equality strategy with clear, measurable outcomes.

Find out:

Why a race equality strategy is needed
What we are doing about it
What can I do?


Pledge your support for our campaign and a fairer civil society

Click here to see who has pledged their support

 

Why is a race equality strategy needed?

Race inequalities still exist

  • Almost half of black young people, and 31% of Asian young people, are unemployed.
  • There are three times as many young Black men in prison as in Russell Group universities.
  • In 2010 only 6.8% of Black Caribbean pupils achieved the English Baccalaureate measure of achievement compared to 15.4% of white British pupils.
  • 65% of Bangladeshis and 55% of Pakistanis live in poverty. This compares to 20% of White British people.
  • Chinese boys are among the highest performing groups in our schools. After university, however, they can expect to earn 25% less than White graduates.

The causes are complex

These inequalities have complex causes, and therefore need tailored and strategic approaches to tackle them – mainstream approaches alone will not solve them. They need a comprehensive, cross-departmental strategy including concrete policy proposals and substantial evidence.

The UN has called for a race equality strategy

In September 2011 theUN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminationrecommended that the government develop a race equality strategy in consultation with voluntary sector organisations.

What about the integration strategy?

The Government's integration strategy,‘Creating 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.

What are we doing about it?

Briefing:Voice4Change England worked with theRunnymede Trustto put together abriefing on the Integration Strategy, signed by 17 other organisations, to raise awareness of our concerns and to call for a race equality strategy.Download briefing.

EDM 2874:Alun Michael MP has tabled anEarly Day Motion on race equalitywhich calls for a cross-departmental race equality strategy with clear, measurable outcomes.

What can I do?

Write to your MP and ask them to:

  • Sign Alun Michael MP's EDM 2874. (You can see if they have already signed it on the parliament website)
  • Write to Andrew Stunell MP, the Race Equality Minister, to request a cross-government strategy on tackling racism and promoting racial justice.
  • Meet with BME voluntary and community organisations in your area to learn more about what you do.

Pledge your support for our campaign and a fairer civil society

Click here to see who has pledged their support

Delivery of Structural Funds, Rural Development Funds and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund in England shimAdd News574 to Scrapbook

As the current European funding period will close at the end of 2013 and the next period will begin in 2014, the consultation about what the next programme of European funds will look like is gathering pace. BIS, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has started the consultation process with an informal consultation that asks for initial views on the various delivery options for the funds in England and is only open for one month.

The funds that this consultation is seeking views on are the European Regional Development Fund (ERDFi), and the European Social Fund (ESFi), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) from 2014-20.

EUi policies for cohesion, rural development, maritime and fisheries each play a significant role in supporting sustainable, environmental, social and economic restructuring across the EU. The purpose of this consultation by the is to elicit views on how the new round of structural funds can best be used to develop and maintain economic growth.

To view the consultation documents please visit:

At Network for Europe we have been gathering views on the current programme and ideas for the new through our various events around the region. We will be putting together a response to this consultation and we are keen to hear from you. Get in touch to let us know how the new round of structural funds can best be used to develop and maintain economic growth.

The deadline for this consultation is 27 April 2012. If you would like to feed in your comments to our response please get in touch with Angeliki Stogia or send your views by 25th April 2012 to Email: angeliki.stogia@networkforeurope.eu

If you are a voluntary sector organisation who is planning to submit your own response we would be grateful if you shared your response with us

100 Years of Chinese Women Suffrage shimAdd News573 to Scrapbook

A Talk by

Professor Louise Edwards

Professor of Chinese History at the University of Hong Kong

 

 

 

Date: Saturday 14th April 2012

Time: 12 noon – 2.30pm

Venue: Sheung Lok Wellbeing Centre, Justin Close, Ardwick, Manchester,

M13 9UB

(not far from the Sugden Sports Centre)

 

In March 1912, women from all over China gathered in Nanjing (the new capital) to demand that parliament passes women’s suffrage in the new constitution. When this was refused, some women stormed the Parliament building and smashed windows…a shocking action in Chinese Society.

 

By 1912, there were Women’s Suffrage Societies in most cities in China. Although these groups were inspired by the British Suffrage Movement, they had a distinct identity of their own. In 1911, a battalion of women soldiers were formed from the Women Suffrage Societies and this battalion fought in the Battle of Nanjing, the decisive battle which led to the collapse of the Ching dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. Initially, the new Republic promised votes for women but as the negotiations around the new constitution proceeded, conservative forces managed to water down any commitment to votes for women.

 

As the promise of votes for women receded, the fight back began.

 

 

We want to commemorate this action 100 years later and bring to the attention of both the Chinese and the Western world this long forgotten suffrage movement in China.

 

This event is free and has been supported by Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester City Council and Wai Yin Chinese Women Society.

 

For more information, please contact Louise Wong 0161 833 0377.

Free Chinese Buffet.

Is Personalisation working? shimAdd News572 to Scrapbook

New independent research now released.

During late 2011 Merseyside Disability Federation commissioned, on behalf of the North West Disability Infrastructure Partnership (NWDIP), a series of facilitated focus groups covering each NWDIP member’s geographical area. The sessions ran in November and December and were designed to:

 

·       develop a narrative of the experience of DPO’s, ULO’s and disabled people from across the North West

·       identify opportunities for individuals and organisations to influence local and national implementation and activity

·       produce findings to go forward as evidence to the White Paper engagement exercise.

 

In parallel with the focus groups, information was also gathered more widely through an online questionnaire.

 

This link will take you to the report and our findings, and includes views and perspectives from all the focus sessions and information taken directly from the online survey: 

 

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