EQUALITY IN PUBLIC SERVICES
(31 July 2006)
public services are making progress in the Government's drive to
increase race equality and build community cohesion but more improvements
are needed, according to a new report published today.The report
"Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society - one year on"
provides an insight into the work and activities undertaken across
government over the last year and outlines the progress towards
achieving equality in the key public services; education, the labour
market, housing, health and the criminal justice system. It also
sets out progress in building community cohesion.
new Department for Communities and Local Government, which brings
together all equalities and cohesion responsibilities, now has lead
responsibility for the strategy, working across Government to tackle
so far include:
* There has been an improvement across all groups (except travellers
of Irish heritage) in the proportions of 15-year-olds achieving
the equivalent of five or more A*-C GCSEs compared to 2004 and
The Bangladeshi community are most likely to experience overcrowding
but there has been a significant improvement from 40 per cent
of Bangladeshi households overcrowded in 1996-7 to 29 per cent
* The number of BME staff in criminal justice system agencies
continues to grow and in the Probation Service (10.9 per cent)
and the Crown Prosecution Service (11.7 per cent) the proportion
of minority ethnic staff is higher than the proportion in the
Woolas, Minister for Race, Faith and Cohesion at DCLG said: "This
report re-affirms the Government's commitment to create a society
in which everyone, whatever their racial or ethnic origin, is able
to fulfil his or her potential through the enjoyment of equal opportunities,
rights and responsibilities.
has a powerful new remit to promote community cohesion and equality
and I believe this department is the best possible home for these
issues. It provides opportunities to bring about stronger, more
equal and empowered communities to which the Government remain committed.
MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, I am only too aware of the range
of issues that can be faced by communities and of the amazing work
which goes on at all levels; local, regional and national to drive
change and to really make a difference in people's lives. This report
highlights some of the excellent work and projects which we hope
and believe are making positive changes to society."
the report recognises that further progress is needed and outlines
the challenges for the future. The findings will be used as a lever
to drive progress across government by making clear where improvements
are needed most.
where more progress is needed include:
* Pupils of Black Caribbean and Mixed White/ Black Caribbean heritage
and pupils from any other Black background have the lowest attainment
levels at GCSE apart from Gypsy/Roma pupils and Travellers of
Irish heritage. But they also had amongst the highest rate of
improvement between 2004 and 2005.
* Some 11 per cent of Black and minority ethnic households are
overcrowded - down slightly from 13 per cent in the mid-1990s.
Among White households, two per cent are overcrowded.
* People from ethnic minorities are almost twice as likely to
be unemployed than the national average. Rates of unemployment
were highest for Black Caribbean, Black African and Mixed Race
groups at nine per cent.
Woolas added:"We should be careful not to become complacent
and the figures tell us that we can do more and that some communities
still suffer disadvantage in comparison to the rest of society.
The report also properly highlights the challenges for the future
that still exist. This is not a short term strategy or policy but
one which we must continue to tackle long term in order to achieve
our vision of a strong and cohesive society in which opportunities
are genuinely accessible to everyone regardless of race or faith."