Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter is a global movement that demands a fit and proper response from political leaders the world over, both nationally and locally. We are taking forward a plan of action to tackle the inequality and disadvantage experienced by black people.
The findings of the race equality audit published by the UK government in October 2017 showed that there are differences between ethnic groups in many areas of life which are influenced by public organisations. Some of the key findings showed that nationally there were significant inequalities for black people in areas such as health, employment, education, housing and criminal justice.
We all know that Leicester is a diverse city which celebrates that diversity and promotes unity and integration. Though we also know that this comes with challenges as people learn to live together. We must recognise how long it has taken to get to where we are today. There is still a need for further progress which requires concrete commitment from elected councillors and officers, as well as meaningful dialogue with Leicester’s diverse black communities.
Leicester is in a good position to provide a full and long-lasting response to racism and the inequalities experienced by black people and communities. As such, we are taking forward a plan of action to tackle inequality and disadvantage based initially on what we as a council can, and should, do as we lead from the front.
The City Mayor has appointed Cllr Sue Hunter as Assistant City Mayor to lead this response in recognition of the failures of society to tackle inequality and the importance of achieving real and lasting change.
Within our approach we commit to:
- a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and racism
- ongoing and meaningful dialogue with Leicester’s diverse black communities
- protecting the rights of all communities that make up our wonderful city of Leicester
- renewing and intensifying our efforts to ensure fairness and inclusion for all
- addressing inequalities in our operations, service delivery and employment
- supporting opportunities for people to come together and celebrate the diversity of the city
- reminding all other organisations and institutions of the part they have to play in eradicating racism, advancing equality of opportunity and promoting inclusion and community cohesion, whilst acknowledging that we must also play our role.
We pledge our solidarity with the diverse black communities of Leicester and will work with all who are able to support and help us in maintaining Leicester as a safe place that champions inclusion; a place for everyone to live and thrive.
We have undertaken work to understand where we are as an organisation and what work has been done to promote equality and to support both our black staff and black communities within the city. As Assistant City Mayor, Cllr Hunter is engaged in ongoing dialogue and consultation to hear the voices of local communities and organisations. From this we have built a series of key themes and areas of work which are outlined below.
Internally, a working group comprised of senior council officers and a cross-section of staff, including our existing Black Workers Support Group, will drive the work. An external reference group comprising key city and community voices, including trade unions, the voluntary sector, relevant community groups and the universities, will be important in shaping and informing our work.
Our areas of focus are shown below. This is not exhaustive and there will inevitably be further work to add going forward.
Our workforce, culture and practice
- Ensuring HR policies, practices and support relating to equalities, including tackling race discrimination, are fit for purpose;
- ensuring there is a culture where staff feel able and safe to provide feedback, and raise concerns and issues relating to race; and
- achieving an organisation which is reflective of the communities it serves, particularly at the most senior level of the organisation.
Crime, including community safety and youth offending
- Ensuring there is a robust approach to tackling hate crime in the city;
- seeking assurances that local policing is fair and proportionate in terms of race equality and inclusion; and
- ensuring our work in relation to youth offending considers specifically issues related to race equality.
- Seeking to influence schools in relation to the teaching of black heritage and culture within the curriculum and through other school-based activities;
- working with schools in improving outcomes (attainment, behaviour and exclusions) for black students where outcomes are typically poorer; and
- working collaboratively with schools in collecting and using data on key issues such as hate crime incidents to improve practice.
- Seeking to better understand the way in which social care services, both adult and children’s, are accessed by and experienced by black communities; and
- ensuring staff at all levels are able to confidently identify, reflect on and address issues of racial bias in social care practice.
Public health and health inequalities
- Addressing priority areas in terms of tackling health inequalities for black communities; and
- better understanding disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on black communities in the city and establishing plans to mitigate the impact.
History, culture and heritage
- Reviewing the way in which black history and culture is remembered and celebrated in the city and identifying ways in which this can be strengthened.
Jobs and skills
- Working with businesses and employers across the city to support opportunities for black residents in accessing employment, developing skills and in addressing barriers they may experience;
- using our existing programmes such as apprenticeships, adult education and social value in procurement to support the above; and
- improving digital inclusion in the city so everyone has an equal opportunity to work and learn online, as well as develop key digital skills that will benefit them in the long term.
Financial and welfare support
- Identifying and tackling inequalities in welfare benefit and financial support for black communities; and
- ensuring there is equity in both access to and provision of welfare and other support to black communities.
In addition to this, £500k has been set aside in the 2021-2022 capital budget to support this work.