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David Cameron promises to 'end state's monopoly' over public services shimAdd News313 to Scrapbook

David Cameron has unveiled plans to shake up the "old fashioned" delivery of public services by ending the state's "monopoly" over provision and paving a wider path for private companies, charities and mutuals to play a part.

The prime minister promised to "release the grip of state control and [put] power in people's hands" as he unveiled his long-awaited pubic service reform white paper and claimed that the current delivery of public services is "failing on fairness".

In a speech in east London, Cameron said that while public services were centralised "with all the right intentions", the impact had been "incredibly damaging" to users. This was because the "old fashioned top-down take-what-you're-given culture ... is just not working for a lot of people".

Under the plans, communities will be allowed to set up neighbourhood councils to commission services on a hyper-local level, individuals will get more personal budgets to buy their own services and the use of payment by results will be expanded to encourage markets to develop across the public sector.

Cameron cited as an example his own past experiences trying to get the right wheelchair for his late disabled son, Ivan, before adding that he was still hearing too many stories from others that the right wheelchair only arrives once the child has almost outgrown it.

As another example, the prime minister seized on children who qualify for free school meals who are "half as likely" to get five good GCSEs as their better off peers.

"The last time they counted, just 40 people who had had free school meals were going to Oxbridge – out of 80,000," said Cameron. "We've got a welfare state that doesn't deliver welfare, that doesn't get people back into work but traps them in poverty instead.

"So let me tell you what our change looks like. It's about ending the old big government, top-down way of running public services … releasing the grip of state control and putting power in people's hands. The old dogma that said Whitehall knows best – it's gone. There will be more freedom, more choice and more local control. Ours is a vision of open public services."

Cameron first laid out his plans to roll back the boundaries of the state to allow private providers to deliver more public services in February, but it is widely understood that the plans contained in the white paper have since been downgradedas result of an internal battle with the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems have sought to ensure that any outsourcing and market-driven reforms maintain a strong degree of accountability, prompting a Downing Street source to describe the resulting document as "more greenish than white".

Cameron made clear he intended to see the changes through.

"I know there are those who thought we might be pulling back or losing heart for the task ahead. So let me assure you of this: we are as committed to modernising our public services as we have ever been. I'm not going to make the mistakes of my predecessors … blocking reform, wasting opportunities and wasting time. This is a job that urgently needs to be done, and we are determined to see it through."

Confidential documents obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that ministers have been privately advised to allow schools and hospitals to fail if the government is to succeed in its overhaul of public services.

They reveal research by civil servants warning that markets are susceptible to failure, and that costs could in fact rise unless a true market is created by allowing public services to collapse if they are unsuccessful.

It opens up the potential for schools, hospitals, social care systems and nurseries to fold without the government stepping in to prop them up – a revelation described as "appalling" by Labour.

The documents obtained by the Guardian were prepared by civil servants as part of an internal government review into the consequences for democratic accountability of the coalition's localism, big society and outsourcing reforms that are integral to today's white paper.

 


From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/11/david-cameron-promises-end-state-monopoly-public-services 

VSNW Briefing: Civil Society Strategic Partners shimAdd News312 to Scrapbook

The purpose of this briefing is to outline:

· which third sector organisations have been appointed strategic partners of the Office for Civil Society

· on which priorities each has formally agreed to lead or contribute

Please note that:

· Other voluntary and community sector organisations are still engaged in these areas of action, both formally and informally. For example:

o NCVO have stated they will be working on many more priority areas.

o This list does not include significant ‘Big Society' contracts that have been awarded such as managing the roll out of Community Organisers (which Locality were awarded), Big Society Bank or National Citizens Service.

o Urban Forum are extremely active in supporting communities to understand the forthcoming Community Rights while their Chief Executive has been formally engaged in guiding the roll out of Community Organisers.

o Voice 4 Change have been contracted to have a specific overview of Big Society and the implications for equalities

· Other Government departments have appointed their own formal strategic partners from the voluntary and community sector.

o e.g. Ministry of Justice, Departments of Education, Department of Health, etc

o VSNW through the Regional Voices partnership is a strategic partner of the Department of Health

Shapps: No Second Night Out shows tough action to tackle rough sleeping shimAdd News311 to Scrapbook

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced the Government's ambition to put an end to rough sleeping by pledging to work with councils and the voluntary sector to ensure that nobody spends a second night sleeping rough on Britain's streets

Mr Shapps said that the national roll out of ‘No Second Night Out' to tackle rough sleeping showed that the Government would not let tough challenges get in the way of taking action to protect the most vulnerable in society. And he announced a new £20m Homelessness Transition Fund for the voluntary sector to help deliver the pledge.

‘No Second Night Out' identifies new rough sleepers and helps them off the streets immediately so that they do not fall into a dangerous rough sleeping lifestyle. By identifying where they are coming from, it also helps to improve prevention and recovery services for those prone to ending up spending the night in a shop doorway or on a park bench.

Currently operating as a pilot in London, ‘No Second Night Out‘ has helped prevent 135 people from spending a second night on the streets since it was launched earlier this year with the Mayor as part of his wider strategy to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012.

During a visit to St Mungo's Endell Street rough sleeping hostel in central London, Mr Shapps confirmed that the Government would work with local councils and charities to extend the principles of ‘No Second Night Out' to towns and cities across the country And said he has asked Homeless Link, the national organisation representing homelessness charities in England, to administer a new fund to ensure that the voluntary sector continue to play a central role in tackling rough sleeping.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:

"I am shocked and saddened that I still see people living on our streets. I am more shocked that some people still, in the 21st century, see the problem of homelessness as something that cannot be solved. It can. None of us want to live in a society where people are forced to sleep in shop doorways, on park benches or on our pavements.

"That's why today I am making a pledge to work with councils and charities to ensure no one spends a second night out on the streets, and making a £20m Homelessness Transition Fund available, to build on the excellent work in the capital as part of the Mayor's No Second Night Out pledge.

"No Second Night Out is a bold statement that shows that we are serious about putting an end to rough sleeping – which is at the centre of the Government's commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

"This comes from the first report from my ministerial group on tackling homelessness, which sets the bar on the best possible ways to help some of the most vulnerable in our society into stable accommodation. I want to see all communities making it their priority to protect the most vulnerable – and that includes helping bring rough sleepers off the streets.”

Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the homelessness umbrella group Homeless Link, said:

"We welcome the Government's commitment to work with homeless charities to make sure that no one spends a second night out and the funding to help achieve this ambition.

"In recent years, homeless charities have made real progress in helping those who end up on the streets back into homes, employment and a better future. More has also been done to prevent homelessness happening in the first place.

"With homelessness rising and services facing funding cuts, it is crucial that we don't just maintain essential front-line help but that we make this help as effective as possible.

"The Homeless Transition Fund cannot be a substitute for local authority money. However it will provide key front-line services with breathing space to secure their futures and to innovate –especially in communities that face an increase in rough sleeping.

"In modern Britain, no one should end-up or be left out on the streets. Everyone needs to play their part in ensuring this does not happen – Government, charities and the public. This cross government strategy and the funding brings us one step closer to achieving this ambition.

"We are committed to getting funding out to services as quickly as possible. Details of how services can apply will be announced shortly.”

The roll-out is one of six commitments made in a report published today by a cross-Whitehall Ministerial group tasked with preventing and tackling homelessness. The group was set up by Mr Shapps in one of his first actions as Housing Minister to looking to address the underlying and often complex issues that cause people to sleep on the streets.

Rather than dictate how ‘No Second Night Out' should work in each area, in their report Ministers urge local authorities, who know their local circumstances best, to build on their ongoing work with local charities and hostels to adopt a gold standard approach to rough sleeping services that meet four key principles of the programme, They are:

· Members of the public should be able to play an active role by reporting and referring people sleeping rough;

· Rough sleepers should be helped to access a place of safety where their needs can be quickly assessed and they can receive advice on their options;

· Rough sleepers should be able to access emergency accommodation and other services, such as healthcare, if needed; and

· If anyone must come from another area or country and find themselves sleeping rough, to reconnect them back to their local community unless there is a good reason why they cannot return. Here they will be able to access housing and recovery services, and have support from family and friends.

The report can be found at http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/homelessness/

A new £20m Homelessness Transition Fund will be made available over three years for the voluntary sector to help deliver ‘No Second Night Out'. The fund will be administered by Homeless Link who will ensure that the funding goes to front line services.

The other commitments made in the report are:

· Helping People to Access Healthcare bybringing partners together to identify what more must be done to include the needs of homeless people in the commissioning of health services.

· Helping People into Work by prioritising access to further education and skills services for the most disadvantaged, including homeless people, and promote informal adult learning as a pathway towards wider learning opportunities.

· Reducing Bureaucratic Burdens by reduce the amount of guidance from central government and no longer require local authorities and providers of services to submit ongoing data returns

· Increasing Local Control over Investment in Services by analyse the costs of homelessness and the public services to which they fall and developing a proposal for the use of community based budgets to tackle the multiple needs of rough sleepers; and

· Devolving Responsibility for Tackling Homelessness in the capital to build on work already being led by the London Delivery Board to establish a pan-London approach to tackling rough sleeping.

NW Strengthening Women's Voices submission shimAdd News310 to Scrapbook

This submission to the consultation on strengthening women's voices in Government highlights the most important challenges for the women's sector in the North West, which include:

 

· The impact of the reduction in public spending on women and the women's sector

· Women's empowerment: both politically and economically

· The need to recognise multiple disadvantage

· Violence against women and girls

 

The report also supports direct engagement and using the expertise of the sector as the key mechanisms for engagement, although believes that all methods are appropriate if used together as part of a wider strategy to listen, value and invest in the women's VCS

Generation 3.0 moves to Croydon and Trafford shimAdd News309 to Scrapbook

Following the success of Generation 3.0 in Birmingham, Runnymede is now taking the project to Croydon in Greater London and Trafford in Greater Manchester.

Generation 3.0 aims to increase understanding between older and younger people on the issues of racism and race equality.

As part of the project, Runnymede will be making a short film in each area, and will be holding 5 day long pop-up shop events in both locations in the autumn.

If you live or work in Croydon or Trafford and want to get involved in the project, we want to hear from you: please emailVicki Butler. For regular updates follow@generation3_0 on Twitter, or visit theGeneration 3.0 website


Webinar: Fairs fair Equality and Justice in the Big Society shimAdd News308 to Scrapbook

11.30am, 20 July 2011

Join us for the webinar and a chance to discuss the government’s flagship concept of the Big Society.

The webinar will kick-off with the premiere of our short film,Fair’s Fair - Equality and Justice in the Big Society, documenting our investigations into how ethnicity affects people's views on taking local control.

Taking part in the following debate will be Locality chief executive, Steve Wyler, and Rita Chadha, chief executive of migrant and BME rights group RAMFEL.

For more information see theRunnymede website

'Racist' stop-and-search powers to be challenged shimAdd News307 to Scrapbook

The high court has agreed that a full legal challenge can be brought against a police stop-and-search power alleged to be used in a racist way against African-Caribbean people.

The challenge follows officers stopping and searching a 37-year-old woman with no convictions, after they claimed she was holding onto her bag in a suspicious way.

The woman, Ann Roberts, ended up being held down by officers on the floor in front of other people, handcuffed and taken to a police station where she was wrongly accused of being a class A drug user and placed on a treatment programme under the threat of arrest if she failed to attend.

Roberts was stopped under section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, brought in to tackle illegal raves. The power allows police to stop and search people without having a reasonable suspicion they are involved in criminality.

Roberts, a special needs assistant, argued that a disproportionate number of black Londoners are searched in violation of article 14 of the European convention on human rights, which bans discrimination.

Her lawyers say statistical evidence implies that a black person is more than nine times more likely to be searched than a white person. They go on say section 60 is "incompatible" with three articles of the convention: 14, 5, which protects the right to liberty and security, and 8, which protects the right to private and family life.

Police say section 60 is a valuable tool which has been used to tackle areas plagued by violence.

On 9 September 2010 Roberts was on a bus when an inspector found she had insufficient money for her journey on her prepaid Oyster card.

Police were called when she could not produce identity documents.

According to her lawyers, she was searched under section 60 after a police officer took the view she was holding on to her bag in a manner that suggested she had something to hide.

She was told the area she was in was a "hotspot" for gang violence and the possession of knives. Few, if any, acts of gang violence are committed by married women in their mid 30s.

Roberts asked to be searched in a police station rather than in public in case it was seen by young people with whom she worked.

Police refused and when they tried to seize her handbag a struggle followed which led to officers restraining her on the floor.

Three bank cards with different identities were found in her bag. She explained they were in her name, her maiden name – having recently married – and her son's name.

She was told she was being arrested on suspicion of fraud and taken to Tottenham police station.

She was subjected to a drugs test which she was told showed small amounts of crack cocaine, but a later test showed she was clear.

 

After being put in a cell, she was interviewed and told she was no longer suspected of fraud but was being detained on suspicion that she had obstructed a police search.

Later a caution was administered for obstruction.

 

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/jul/08/racist-stop-search-powers-challenge 

Refugees, migrants and the equality agenda EDF research and briefings shimAdd News306 to Scrapbook

In May and June 2011, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) published two briefings and a report on refugees, migrants and equality.

‘Refugees, migrants and the Equality Act 2010. A briefing for public authorities’ was written for EDF by Barbara Cohen and published in June 2011.

Click here for briefing for public authorities (pdf)

‘Refugees, migrants and the Equality Act 2010. A briefing for refugee and migrant community organisations’ was written for EDF by Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership (REAP) and published in June 2011.

Click here for briefing for refugee and migrant community organisations (pdf)

‘Who’s Still Missing? Refugees, migrants and the equality agenda’ by Dr Phil McCarvill was published in May 2011. The research explores what lessons can be learnt from the implementation of the previous Race Equality Duty and considers how public authorities can most effectively use the new Duty to incorporate refugee and migrant communities into their core work.

Click here for ‘Who’s Still Missing? Refugees, migrants and the equality agenda’ (pdf)

The report was launched at a conference on 17 May 2011 attended by representatives of local authorities as well as equality, human rights, refugee and migrant NGOs.

The conference was chaired by Sarah Spencer CBE, chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum. Dr McCarvill presented the findings of the research before responses from panellists including:

  • Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council
  • Don Flynn, Director of the Migrants’ Rights Network
  • Olvia Fellas, Head of Equalities, Refugee and Migrant Services at Islington Council
  • Rose Doran, Community Cohesion Advisor, Equalities and Cohesion team, Local Government Improvement and Development

Following a plenary discussion, Angela Mason, Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission and Councillor, London Borough of Camden gave closing remarks and suggestions for next steps in addressing refugee and migrant disadvantage.

Click here for presentation by Dr McCarvill (Powerpoint)

Additional material:

Click here for link to ‘The Relationship between Immigration Status and Rights in the UK: Exploring the Rationale’ by Sarah Spencer and Jason Pobjoy (COMPAS working paper 11-86)

Click here for Don Flynn’s blog about the research

Please contact EDF at info@edf.org.uk to request a printed copy of ‘Who’s still missing?’

The briefings, report and event were part of the EDF’s project on refugee and migrant equality supported by The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Trust for London.

Government response to the consultation on legal aid reform shimAdd News305 to Scrapbook

In June 2011, the Government published its response to the proposals for the reform of legal aid in England and Wales.

Click here for Government response and details of consultation

Click here for Equality and Diversity Forum and other responses to the consultation

Draft Specific Duties Regulations shimAdd News304 to Scrapbook

Draft Specific Duties regulations were laid before parliament on 27  June 2011 and will come into force before the summer recess, subject to Parliamentary approval.

The regulations require public authorities in Great Britain to publish:

  • Equality objectives, at least every four years, by April 2012; and
  • Information to demonstrate their compliance with the Equality Duty, at least annually.

Although the Equality Duty is Great Britain-wide, Scotland and Wales are able to set their own specific duties. The specific duties in Wales came in to force on 6 April 2011 and specific duties that will apply to Scottish public bodies are still being decided.

Click here for regulations

Click here for  Written Ministerial Statement published on 28 June 2011

Click here for information on the Government Equalities Office websit

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