Council Takes Action to Tackle Racial Inequalities
Councillors at Gloucester City Council are set to welcome a report into how the council has stepped up efforts to tackle racial inequalities and to raise awareness of equality and diversity.
Following the Black Lives Matters Protests and the killing of George Floyd as well as inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19 through its impact on BAME communities, the Council has taken a range of actions to address inequalities that have received cross party support. They will be considered at tonight’s cabinet meeting.
A motion to the council last year saw the leader of Gloucester City Council, Councillor Richard Cook, contact the American ambassador to condemn the killing of George Floyd and the repeated acts of brutality witnessed against black Americans.
In addition, the Council began the setting up of a commission to gain a better understanding of experiences of racism and inequality in Gloucester.
Running for a year, it is aiming to identify areas where it can help to improve the lives and opportunities for those who experience racism and disadvantage because of their colour.
It has been set up with partner organisations in the city including Gloucestershire County Council, the University of Gloucestershire and representatives of the BAME community with a view to producing recommendations to improve the lives of, and enhance opportunities for, BAME communities.
Chaired by Rupert Walters, a local businessman and social entrepreneur, he is joined by 17 commissioners from a range of backgrounds who have been appointed from a variety of fields including education, business and health.
Over the 12-month work programme the commission will collect information from a range of organisations with potential areas of focus likely to include organisational leadership and workforces, education, health outcomes, and criminal justice.
There will also be a review of all monuments, statues and plaques within the City connected with the slave trade and plantation ownership and for the contribution of minority communities to the city’s history.
Internally the Council’s Equality and Diversity Working Group has overseen a review of recruitment and policies with regard to diversity and committed to raising awareness of equalities events including Black History Month, Gloucestershire Pride, and Srebrenica Memorial Week.
It has also put in place focused training for staff at all levels on how to deal with personal and institutional bias.
Councillor Jennie Watkins, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “We are all aware that last year the inequalities suffered by our BAME communities was brought sadly very much into focus. As a Council we are working hard to address these inequalities and to see what part we can play in changing how we and others work as organisations so that people aren’t disadvantaged simply by their backgrounds and ethnicity.”