Commission pressurises councils over better race equality policies

Councils that perform badly on race equality might be prevented
from getting an “excellent” rating in their comprehensive
performance assessment, according to the deputy chairperson of the
Commission for Racial Equality.

Speaking at a conference on the implementation of the Race
Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, Sarah Spencer said the Audit
Commission would raise the profile of race in the CPA

Ten of the Best Value performance indicators measured by the
commission are on race, and the watchdog looks set to introduce
five ratings for councils’ race equality schemes: resisting,
intending, starting, developing and consolidating.

Under the 2000 act, all public bodies were required to produce a
race equality scheme by May last year outlining how they would
change service provision and workforce policies to promote

Research commissioned by the CRE and unveiled at the conference
shows that 7 per cent of councils had failed to produce a race
equality scheme. In April, Conwy Council became the first local
authority in the UK to be issued with a compliance notice.

The survey, by race and diversity consultant Schneider-Ross, which
looked at how public bodies were meeting their duties under the act
a year after it was introduced, shows that the 248 local
authorities that responded had improved more than other public
service bodies.

Local education authorities, for example, were taking their new
responsibilities less seriously, with many schools producing
badly-developed schemes and failing to monitor staff as well as

Spencer told the audience of local authority delegates: “Race
equality has to be central to the government’s 10-year
modernisation agenda. It is not an afterthought or a luxury.”

She added:”If your job is to reduce drug dependency, improve the
chances of children in care or look after older people, then you
will not achieve those outcomes unless you take race into account.”

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