Developing a Race Equality Panel for Greater Manchester

Closed 23 Aug 2020

Opened 27 Jul 2020

Feedback Updated 25 Sep 2020

We Asked

In July 2019, the Mayor of Greater Manchester announced plans to establish race equality and faith advisory panels, and a programme of listening exercises subsequently took place to develop the panels. Engagement sessions were held with Greater Manchester’s strategic, district and community leaders in race equality. The learnings from these sessions were used to inform proposals, which were due to be submitted to the Mayor and Greater Manchester’s lead for equalities when COVID-19 gripped the country and developments were put on hold.

The pandemic has had a significant and disproportionate impact upon sections of our community, and therefore a final stage of the listening exercise was undertaken to playback the findings from the earlier sessions and ‘check and challenge’ whether they are still salient. This survey was part of the listening exercise, and sought to understand:

  • The issues a panel should address
  • The purpose of the panel, e.g. its mission, aims and objectives
  • The role of the independent chair
  • The roles and responsibilities of panel members

You Said

The majority of listening exercise participants felt that the six issues highlighted during the earlier engagement are the consequences of systemic racism and structural inequalities, and they felt that tackling inequalities, racism and discrimination should be at the heart of what the panel focuses on. These are Educational inequalities and achievement, including STEM; Employment and labour market inequalities; Financial inclusion and poverty; Hate crime and preventing discrimination; Health and wellbeing inequality; and Housing and homelessness, including hidden homelessness.

Nevertheless, both the survey and discussion groups revealed general agreement that these six issues were still important and should be considered by the panel.

Two additional issues that frequently came up in this stage of the listening exercise were discrimination in policing and criminal justice; and BAME leadership, especially in the public sector and political systems. There was also appetite for the panel to be involved in all aspects of the Greater Manchester Strategy, as well as the post-COVID recovery plans to ensure ‘build back better’ means better for all.

Participants felt the mission, aims and objectives should be simple and easily understood so all communities can understand what the panel is setting out to do. Participants also felt the panel needs measureable outcomes so it effectiveness and successes can be demonstrated.

It was widely agreed the panel’s overall mission should be to tackle the systemic and structural discrimination that leads to inequalities. Some mentioned by nature of its existence, the panel could inspire BAME people to participate in civic life and increase confidence that tackling inequalities and discrimination is being taken seriously.

In order to achieve that mission, most participants felt that the panel should have an explicit role in scrutinisng and holding the public and VCSE sectors to account. Additionally, whilst participants agreed the panel should have a role in highlighting the issues, many strongly advocated that it should be involved in co-designing and implementing the solutions – working in partnership, rather than being ‘done to’.

The proposal to appoint a chair was not broadly supported, and many participants would prefer the panel to select from its members, or hold a further recruitment process. A number of participants recommended there are at least two chairs. It was also queried whether the proposals for a truly independent chair were possible, but most participants did agree the chair should work for the ‘collective good’ rather than solely for the community they’re representing.   

There was widespread agreement that there should be an open recruitment process, and that anyone interested should be able to apply. It was also agreed that all 10 districts should be represented, as well as a broader range of communities as possible. A number of the discussion groups remarked that it wouldn’t be possible for all of Greater Manchester’s races, ethnicities and cultures to have a seat at the table, and they felt that consequently the panel needs a strong engagement infrastructure to support members’ ability to involve those from outside their own communities. Some suggested this could be facilitated by existing BAME-led organisations, if adequately resourced. There were conflicting views about whether members should be existing ‘leaders’ or ‘new voices’, but there was wide-spread agreement that all should have insight or first-hand experience of the issues the panel will focus on.

We Did

The findings from the listening exercise were used to inform the final proposals for the Race Equality Panel. These were submitted to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Greater Manchester’s lead for equalities, Cllr Brenda Warrington.

In their September 2020 meeting, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) endorsed the proposals, and announced that the open recruitment process will start.

To apply to be a member of the panel, please visit www.GMConsult.org to complete the application form.

Applications for the panel will close on Sunday 18th October 2020, and the panel will be convened in November 2020.

Results Updated 29 Sep 2020

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Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

Greater Manchester is proud to be one of the most diverse places in the country, and we are committed to ensuring that the benefits of devolution make a difference to the lives of people across all our communities regardless of age, background, gender, culture or beliefs.  

A number of advisory panels have already been established to ensure communities are at the heart of decision-making. You can find out more about our approach to equalities and the other advisory panels on our website.  

Following the Cohesion Summit in July 2019, the Mayor of Greater Manchester announced plans to develop a Race Equality Panel, and a programme of engagement subsequently took place. This included a roundtable of Greater Manchester’s strategic race equality leaders, and a workshop of district and community leaders. The learnings from this engagement were used to inform proposals for the Race Equality Panel, which were due to be submitted to the Mayor and Greater Manchester’s lead for equalities when COVID-19 gripped the country and a number of important pieces of work were put on hold.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant and disproportionate impact upon sections of our community, and has highlighted the deep-seated inequalities that still exist, and therefore, as we now enter the recovery stage of the pandemic, we are looking to finalise plans to establish the Race Equality Panel.  

Why We Are Consulting

It’s crucial that the proposals to establish a Race Equality Panel are developed in partnership with people from the community, and build on the engagement that has already taken place, whilst also being in sync with the other advisory panels supported by the GMCA.  

We want to hear your views about:  

  • Whether the issues that have already been identified are still relevant and whether there are others that have now come to the fore following recent events  

  • Whether the draft proposals for how the panel would operate are fit for purpose

  • Who should be on the panel  

There are three main ways you can have your say:  

Please note that this engagement exercise will finish on 16th August. We will then use all the views we have received to finalise proposals for the Race Equality Panel. These will then be submitted to the Mayor and Greater Manchester’s lead for equalities for approval, before we start on recruitment for the panel.

Audiences

  • General public
  • Young people
  • Businesses
  • Community, voluntary sector and social enterprises
  • Public sector partners

Interests

  • Combined Authority
  • Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Equalities