Bradford social services could face new audits

Bradford social services will face ‘equality and diversity
audits’ if recommendations of a wide-ranging study of race
relations in the city are implemented, writes Gideon

‘Community Pride, Not Prejudice’, by Sir Herman
Ousley, paints a picture of Bradford ‘in the grip of
fear’, segregated along race and ethnic lines. It was written
before the recent violence in the area.

The report recommends public bodies face audits on equality and
diversity, and public sector employees adhere to a ‘model for
behavioural competency’ on race issues. It also says
“equality and diversity conditions should be inserted in all
contracts of grant aid, public financed investments … and
contracted services”.

The investigation found that Bradford’s regeneration
process forces communities to bid against each other for resources,
which creates divisions and resentments. It also found a lack of
co-ordination between religious organisations and community groups
in the planning, and implementation of neighbourhood projects.

According to the report young people suffer a ‘virtual
apartheid’ in many schools, many of which are segregated
along racial lines.

It recommends that young people are prioritised in community
initiatives ‘as potential leaders and champions’ of a
‘people-first culture for the district’.

“New initiatives are needed which will introduce social
inclusion, eliminate institutional discrimination, highlight the
strengths, successes and achievements of the district and work
endlessly to promote diversity,” says the report.

It recommends that a Centre for Diversity, Learning and Living
is established to drive forward better relations.

Liam Hughes, director of social services for Bradford Council,
said the report gave the department good pointers for the

“I support the idea that staff need competence in relation to
culture, ethnicity, religion and race,” he said, adding: “A lot of
our staff have built up true knowledge and experience over the
years through their work. We’ve made strong efforts to make
sure we have a more diverse workforce.”

He said there remained a significant problem in Bradford social
services, as well as other public services, with the low numbers of
black and Asian managers at senior levels, but he was supporting
initiatives to tackle the problem.

He said diversity and equality audits would not be about ticking
boxes if they were implemented.

“It’s about supporting the good practice that is already
there, and supporting the culture change that is already underway.
It has to be about organisation, development and vision, and staff
feeling confident.”

* A separate survey into children in care in Bradford has found
that they play truant less after moving into care homes.

The survey of the city’s five care homes, found over two
thirds of children entering care regularly skipped school, but
“nearly all” residents show a marked improvement once in care.

The report also pointed out there was no evidence that moving
into a children’s home makes youngsters more likely to
experiment with drugs.








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