Integration and community cohesion are topics that receive a lot of attention both in the media and from government and local authorities. A critical barrier to integration and community cohesion is the persistence of ethnic inequality and unequal outcomes or access to services. Failing to understand and address local ethnic inequalities means the needs of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are not being met and their life chances are contracted.
In recent years austerity policies have led to major reductions in public spending, requiring councils and other public sector organisations to make difficult financial decisions. Local authorities have a legal duty around eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations on the basis of protected characteristics. As local authorities develop proposals regarding the reduction of services it is crucial that they consider the needs of all members of the community.
The Race Equality Scorecard brings together quantitative evidence on six different key indicators to help inform the decision-making process of public authorities, and to equip local communities with the tools necessary to hold them to account.
In 2013 the Runnymede Trust and Kingston Race and Equalities Council published the Kingston Race Equality Scorecard. The purpose of the Scorecard was to enable BAME communities to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the local authority, Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council, and its partners, to assess their performance and help identify what the local priorities for race equality were. The Scorecard facilitated a better understanding of the pressures, identified key areas where change was both necessary and feasible, and created an opportunity to work together to make a difference.
The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames was one of the first boroughs the Runnymede Trust worked with as part of the pilot project, alongside Croydon and Redbridge. For this reason the Trust is keen to carry out a refresh of the Race Equality Scorecard in Kingston, alongside work in five new boroughs. In Kingston our partner is the Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC).
The Race Equality Scorecard reports on outcomes for different BAME groups by sampling data in the following six areas:
- Criminal justice
- Civic participation
Local councils are currently experiencing significant budget cuts imposed by central government. These cuts are having a significant impact on the role that councils play in the provision of services. In this context it is even more important that close attention is paid to ensuring all local residents are treated equally and are able to flourish. The Runnymede Trust’s Budget Briefing (2015) highlighted the ways in which the effects of austerity policies, directly or indirectly, increase racial inequality.