Few councils have equality schemes

a handful of English councils have produced a race equality scheme, according
to survey of 50 councils by Community Care.

The poll of a third of the country’s local
authorities, carried out two days before the end of May deadline for the
scheme, found that only five had already developed one.

Under the scheme, councils must show how they
will promote racial equality and good relations between ethnic groups in the
community. The scheme is a requirement under the Race Relations Amendment Act

The survey coincided with a report released
by the Audit Commission, which showed that 40 per cent of English and Welsh
councils had not reached level one of the Commission for Racial Equality’s
(CRE)five-level good practice standard.

Audit Commission controller Sir Andrew Foster
said it was disappointing that after 30 years of work on equal opportunities
councils were "still failing to get the basics right".

He added: "The needs and priorities of
Britain’s ethnic minorities need to be brought into the mainstream of council

CRE chairperson Gurbux Singh said the report
"paints a very depressing picture of race equality in local
government". The CRE was "deeply concerned" that 40 per cent of
councils did not have a comprehensive race equality policy, he said.

But the director of the Welsh Local
Government Association Sandy Blair said the report did not "adequately
recognise the work and investment that had been made by local government to
address this issue".

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