Commission hails race act, but doubts persist

The delivery of services to people from ethnic
minority backgrounds remains inadequate, according to the
chairperson of the Commission for Racial Equality

Singh said: “Public services are not getting it right,” but
acknowledged there were some excellent services.

said he was optimistic that the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000
would change many of the inequalities that now exist, including how
youth offending teams address issues and “the considerable over
representation of young black men who are diagnosed with mental

act, which requires all public services to produce a race equality
scheme by the end of the month, had the potential to “change the
face of the public sector” and social services role was “of
paramount importance”.

avoid tick-box culture which “bedevilled” local councils, the
effectiveness of the act should be measured by outcomes such as how
reflective the workforce is of the community it serves.

CRE now had the power to intervene where public services were not
meeting their duties under the act and could issue compliance
notices. Working jointly with the Social Services Inspectorate and
the Audit Commission, the CRE would inspect how well the duties
were being carried out.

added that both inspection bodies needed to build race into their
overall performance assessment by the summer.

human rights lawyer Imran Khan warned that the amendment act would
have only limited effectiveness. He said the fact that the
government was exempt from the act sent mixed messages that “the
government can get away with it”. The act was a good concept, he
said. “If the CRE does take proper enforcement procedures we might
just get it right,” added Khan.


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