Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a review of Government policies following last week's riots, to ensure they are bold enough to fix a "broken society".
Mr Cameron said he would speed up plans to deal with anti-social behaviour and improve parenting and education.
He said the riots had been a”wake-up call for our country” and anysecurity fightback must be matched by a social fightback.
"Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face..
"Now, just as people wanted criminals robustly confronted on our street, so they want to see these problems taken on and defeated.
"Our security fightback must be matched by a social fightback. We must fight back against the attitudes and assumptions that have brought parts of our society to this shocking state.”
Over the next few weeks, the Coalition Government will be reviewing all policies and programmes to consider whether they are bold enough to deliver the changes needed to mend society.
The PM also said there would be a stronger police presence on the streets as part of the "security fightback”. And he said the police would be cutting the burden of bureaucracy which until now has meant officers spending the majority of their time filling in forms and stuck behind desks.
As part of the social fightback, the PM announced that more emphasis will be placed on families and parenting with a”family test” applied to all domestic policy.
"If it hurts families, if it undermines commitment, if it tramples over the values that keeps people together, or stops families from being together, then we shouldn’t do it.
"More than that, we’ve got to get out there and make a positive difference to the way families work, the way people bring up their children…”
Mr Cameron also pledged action to "turn around the lives” of the 120,000 most troubled families in the country by the next general election.
The Government willbe extending its programme of National Citizen Service, working with businesses, charities, schools and social enterprises, so that it is available to all sixteen year olds.
The VCS cannot afford to under-estimate the scale of the change that is coming as the government aims to open up public services, transfer more and more power to communities and individuals, and radically re-structure how the sector is funded and supported. Finding a way to navigate this changing environment will be crucial for the survival of organisations and the vital services they deliver.
VSNW’s annual conference will explore the opportunities and challenges for the VCS in the North West, amidst current government policies on Big Society, health, the economy, employment, volunteering, and VCS infrastructure.
With a strong focus on national policy and its implementation in the North West, attendees will learn more about the emerging agenda, how it will impact their organisation and those they support, and how they need to respond. Attendance is free for VCS organisationsand lunch will be provided.
Keynote speaker: Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, the Shadow Civil Society Minister.
Book your place online here
Download a booking form here- please return to Helen Walker, Administrator, VSNW, St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester, M12 6FZ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
MENTER is part of the national BME VCS Coalition which issued a statement on the riots and violence. To read this statement please see the BME VCS Coalition facebook page.
We agree with the Runnymede Trust that speculation does not help us in a situation where apparently people appear not to care enough about the neighbourhoods and spaces where they live or the moral consequences of their actions often on equally disadvantaged neighbours. We need clear, dispassionate evidence before we can begin to work together to build a society which does not fracture in violence and destructive looting. As Dr. Berkeley from Runnymede puts it "There is no excuse for rioting, but it is crucial that we understand the context in which it happens” if we wish to put an end to this.
At MENTER we are concerned about growing race inequalities and the dismantling of some of the current safety measures that act against racism and discrimination. If BME people feel they are facing increasing poverty and discrimination, without any prospects of improvement the consequence may well be increased mental stress or violence. BME people currently make up half of Job Seeker claimants in London although they represent less than a third of London's working age population. Evidence from the EHRC submission to the UN shows that "ethnic minorities are more likely to experience discrimination in the private sector (35%) than the public sector (4%)”. We know that rising youth unemployment figures (now near a million, with 46% unemployment rates for Black young people) coincided with the end of measures such as the Future Jobs Fund and the Education Maintenance Allowance. The Runnymede Trust shows that there was in 1981 a 20 point gap in achievement between Black and White schools – today in Haringey this has increased to 35 points.
The Equality Human Rights Commission submission to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Race Discrimination highlights their concern that Government proposals to remove legal aid for appeals for schools exclusions and employment matters (including discrimination cases in employment) will have not only a disparate impact on certain ethnic minority groups but a "chilling effect on access to justice for workplace based discrimination cases” and will impact on the human rights of BME communities. The EHRC notes that: "The Government has introduced the ‘Equality Strategy: Building a Fairer Britain' which sets out its vision for the future of equality and implementation of the strategy. In addition it has established the Inter-departmental Ministerial Group (IMEG) which will have oversight for all aspects of equality. We agree that there needs to be an integrated approach to equality. However, it is also important that government does not take a ‘one size fits all' approach to equality. It is disappointing that the wider equality strategy has no specific focus on tackling race inequality and the Minister with responsibility for race has not publicly set out his proposals for the approach to be taken”. Failure to tackle structural race inequalities or poverty rates of 60% in some BME communities will have an impact on the economy as a whole and the social health of this country – not just on the marginalised and dispossessed.
On the 10th of August, a panel discussion on Newsnight was asked if there was some element in Black culture that made criminality cool e.g. through rap music. Given the reputation of Newsnight it is astonishing that a statement like this can be made i.e. that all people who have a certain pigmentation of skin share a singular and common culture regardless of country of origin, class, age, gender etc.! This is one of the worst stereotyping examples we have come across. The BBC News interview with Darcus Howe (now on YouTube) is perhaps another illustration of casual comments from the media that give a skewed and wrong perspective, if not a racist one, when the interviewer (Fiona Armstrong) can decide, with no evidence, that Mr. Howe is not a stranger to rioting and completely ignore his comments on the destructive impact of disproportionate stop and search of Black people. Comments on blogs about the riots illustrate far too often views that the present ills of society are a compound of unnecessary immigration, leniency in cases of crime by "foreigners” and work shy young people. If these views are reinforced by statements from politicians and the media we are likely to see a detrimental impact on cohesion and race relations that will not help in building the kind of society we wish to live in. MENTER is committed to developing projects that help build healthy, cohesive societies that value a diversity of cultures. MENTER also wishes to host public discussions of some of the underlying contexts e.g. what we mean by community and what we collectively want our society to be. Our website will post details of these proposed projects from September.
It is a sadness to me that a speech I made in 2004 on the impact of racism in impeding cohesive or resilient communities still has so many relevant points – given that the main quotation was from "The Invisible Man”, a book written by Ralph Ellison in the 1950s. To read this speech please click here. Danny Dorland's recent analysis in his book "Injustice (why social inequality persists)” states that we will continue to have dysfunctional societies if we continue to believe that elitism is efficient, exclusion is necessary, prejudice is natural, greed is good and despair is inevitable. MENTER today reiterates its commitment to challenging these tenets and to work for the positive aspects of rebuilding vibrant and cohesive communities in the East of England.
To join us in this, or for more information please contact email@example.com
The report highlights areas of good practice across the North West and provides insight into the number of Roma people living in the region, along with the issues this gives rise to, and the work undertaken by statutory and voluntary agencies to ensure positive community relations.
The report is published by the Regional Strategic Migration Partnership, The North West Strategic Migration Partnership provides a framework within which issues pertaining to inward international migration and migrants can be discussed, and information exchanged. An important part of its function is to represent the views of North West England to government.
Click here to read the full report
A number of Equality and Diversity Forum organisations published blogs and commentary on the disturbances in London in early August 2011.
Dr Rob Berkeley, Director of the Runnymede Trust, published a blog on 8 August 2011, ‘Tottenham – a tragedy we should have seen coming?’, suggesting we have failed to learn from the past.Click herefor link
Elizabeth Henry, Chief Executive of Race on the Agenda (ROTA) argues thatwe must ‘listen to the young people in the community; ‘do’ with them, not unto them’.Click here for link
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, argues that ‘it is vital that the IPCC undertakes a speedy and thorough investigation into the death [of Mark Duggan]. This wanton violent disorder serves only to distract from that vital inquiry’.Click here for link
NCVO is providing a space on its website – ‘Review and renew’ – for voluntary and community organisations to share their experiences and insight on the recent disturbances across the country. The space also has links to other blogs, opinion pieces, statements and actions relating to the disturbances.Click here for link
The European Commissionnetwork of socio-economic experts synthesis report for 2010 refers to discrimination issues in the labour market for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) and ethnic minorities.
Click here for part 1 of report on LGBT groups in the labour market (pdf)
Click here for part 2 of report on ethnic minorities, migrants and employment (pdf)
Click here for information about European Commission networks of experts on anti-discrimination
In July 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published its shadow report to the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Thereport draws the Committee’s attention to the key issues that the Commission considers are impacting on race equality, highlights gaps in the State report, and makes recommendations to the Committee for government to take action.
Click here for details
Click here for report (pdf)
The Voice of the North Project brings together a partnership between key partners working for and with young people in the North of England. The majority of the young people are from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
The young people came together recently to discuss current Government policy. At a time when young people are being ascribed negative and damaging labels following the youth disturbances that are spreading across the country, it is imperative that we take stock of what young people are telling us and respond to meet their needs. The Voice of the North young people said that:
They experience discrimination as a result of their ethnicity and age
There is a lack of choice available for young people
Aspirations are being constrained leading to hopelessness
The voice of young BME people in the North is not being listened to by Government
We urge the Government to open up possibilities again for all our young people and to provide ways in which young people can raise their voice in Government and be genuinely heard. And we ask:
- How can we build aspiration for our young people?
- How will Government include Northern BME young people's voices in decision making?
- How will Government address discrimination and disadvantage for our young people?
The report can be found here
The death of Mark Duggan has gone from a tragedy for his family and friends to a tragedy for the people of Tottenham and many other communities in London. The spread of violence has muddied the prospects that Mr Duggan's family will get the answers that they want and has heaped further misery on communities and areas that already face challenges in a very tough economic climate.
The escalation of events in the past few nights poses a real challenge for all communities. The prospects of children and young people becoming criminalised, families becoming homeless as well as the destruction of businesses requires concerted and co-ordinated action.
We need to work together to ensure an end to the use of violence.
We need to work together to ensure our children and young people are safe and secure.
We need to work together to better address the economic and social challenges being faced by many in the areas experiencing the worst of the violence.
Many in the black and minority ethnic-led voluntary and community sector are committed to achieving these aims and the following organisations are working together and with their communities to bring a speedy end to the violence as well as begin the process of reconstruction.
To sign up to this position statement, please use the Communities against violence facebook page (external website) or email Kat Nower
The BME VCS Coalition
Afiya Trust http://www.afiya-trust.org/
Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) http://www.bteg.co.uk/
Croydon BME Forum http://www.bmeforum.org/
Council for Ethnic and Minority Voluntary Organisations (CEMVO) http://www.cemvo.org.uk/
Coalition for Racial Justice UK
Equanomics UK http://www.equanomicsuk.org/
Friends, Families and Travellers http://www.gypsy-traveller.org/
JUST West Yorkshire www.justwestyorkshire.co.uk/
MENTER – BME network for the Eastern Region (http://www.menter.org.uk/)
Operation Black Vote (OBV) http://www.obv.org.uk/
Race Equality Foundation (REF) http://www.raceequalityfoundation.org.uk/
Race on the Agenda (ROTA) http://www.rota.org.uk/
Runnymede Trust : www.runnymedetrust.org
Voice4Change England http://www.voice4change-england.co.uk/
Croydon Supplementary Education Project http://www.csep.org.uk/
Odu-Dua Housing Association http://dev.odu-dua.org/
P J Community Services http://www.pjsgroup.co.uk/
Naz Project http://www.naz.org.uk/
LCVS I United Way is operating as a point of communication for groups across the city in response to recent disturbances.
We will act as a resource for those affected by the violence, as well as those who may be in a position to help, with a view to:
· Linking those in need with those who can help; and
· Helping communities and organisations who require our support.
Do you need help?
· Have you any concerns about individuals who need specific support e.g. emergency accommodation;
· Has your organisation has been impacted by recent events and requires support e.g. damage to premises;
· Do you know of local premises (including businesses) that are vulnerable?
How you can help
· You have or know of resources that may be of use e.g. clear-up materials, volunteers, transport, equipment, emergency accommodation etc;
· Do you know of or can offer safe places/refuges for those who may need them;
· Can you or your organisation offer any specific help e.g. information about support services available for those affected, volunteers, tools or equipment to assist in clean up efforts;
· Let us know if you have concerns about potential trouble in other parts of city;
· Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have any information that could be of use to the Police.
We are aware that the community is already mobilising to respond to the disturbances. We want to make others aware of the good work being done to show how strong our community is in times of need. Please contact us if you know of any positive activities/efforts being taken by groups or local people.
To get in touch:
telephone: (0151) 227 5177
You can also let us know via our Facebook page (Search for lcvsliverpoolriotresponse)