Report calls for equality audits at Bradford Council

Bradford social services will face “equality and diversity
audits” if recommendations of a wide-ranging study of race
relations in the city are implemented.

Community Pride, Not Prejudice, dubbed the Ouseley report after
its author Sir Herman Ouseley, paints a picture of Bradford “in the
grip of fear” and divided along ethnic and religious lines. It was
written before the recent violence in the area.

The report recommends that public bodies should face audits on
equality and diversity. These audits would check the council’s
compliance with the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in regard
to employment, community involvement, grant aid and so on.

It would also check public sector employees’ adherence to a
“model for behavioural competency” on race issues. It adds that
“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 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 future.
“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 is about supporting the good
practice that is already there, and supporting the culture change
that is already under way. It has to be about organisation,
development and vision, and staff feeling confident.”

n A 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 that more than
two thirds of children entering care regularly skipped school, but
“nearly all” showed 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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