Anti-racist council and anti-racist city pledges update

Date of Meeting:

Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, 19th November 2020

Report of:

Rachel Sharpe (Interim Executive Director for Housing, Communities and Neighbourhoods)

Contact Officer:


Sarah Tighe-Ford


01273 292301



Ward(s) affected:






At 29th July 2020 TECC committee the meeting received a report on the actions being taken by the council towards becoming an anti-racist council and the authority’s plans for being led by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic residents and communities in the development of its anti-racism strategy. At this same meeting officers were instructed to provide a progress report on the council’s activity to becoming an anti-racist council at the TECC’s November 2020 meeting.


1.1         This report provides an update on progress so far and identifies priorities and next steps.


1.2         Note about terminology: this report uses the term ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’ or ‘BAME’, but the council recognises that language is constantly evolving and how people self-define in relation to their ethnicity varies widely. As part of this anti-racism work, the council will listen to the opinions of our staff, residents and community groups to understand the right terms to use when talking about ethnicity, culture, faith and national identity.


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


2.1         That Committee notes this update on the council’s pledge to become an anti-racist council and that further updates on this work will come to future TECC committees.


2.2         That Committee notes that the council will continue to work with a range of partners to create an anti-racist city.




3.1         The council’s commitments to become an anti-racist council and city were made in the summer of 2020, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to actively address structural racism, and the evidence that the COVID19 pandemic is disproportionately adversely impacting people from some ethnic groups, because of racial inequalities and systemic racism.

3.2         In October 2019, the council’s Policy and Resources Committee approved the Fair and Inclusive Action Plan (FIAP) which is a programme of work co-created with our BME workers forum and wider workforce in 2018 to improve our employment offer and embed equality and diversity in everything the council does. The Plan responds to the findings of reviews into race inequality in the council by external consultants Global HPO. The focus of the year one actions has been tackling racism across the council, both in our internal and external work.

3.3         The Fair and Inclusive action plan provides the framework and governance structure to develop the council’s commitment to become an anti-racist council. It has four workstreams: ensuring accountability and consequences for our behaviours, improving learning and development on equality and diversity, making sure our recruitment, retention and progression is fair and inclusive, and improving how we work for and understand the city’s diverse communities. Each directorate of the council has a Fair and Inclusive Plan capturing directorate actions to support the overarching objectives.


3.4         This report summarises progress across the council and city on all the actions committed to in the anti-racist council pledge and identified next steps and priorities.


3.5         Monitoring and oversight of the council’s anti-racism work is through a range of internal and external mechanisms, including regular reports to this committee. Summarised in diagram below:


3.6         Updates in this report are organised under themed areas drawing together the council pledges and also commitments made from either full council or committees receiving subsequent petitions and Notices of Motions about anti-racism.


3.7         Engagement with communities


Current position: The Community Advisory Group (CAG), comprising 21 local organisations run by and for people who experience racism (full list of groups invited in Appendix 1) met for the first time on 17th September. The anti-racism commitments were welcomed, and the group started the following discussions: who attends the group and how to engaged more widely; how the council demonstrates understanding of its areas for development and defines actions for improvement; how groups are supported to take part in this work; and how groups’ capacity is supported.


Next steps and priorities: the second meeting of the CAG is being planned for November, at which proposals in relation to the above issues will be presented and explored. The council will work with the CAG to agree a process of engagement with the wider community of people who experience racism, particularly with young people, and people who are also disabled, LGBTQ, and share other characteristics, to ensure an inclusive and intersectional approach.

CAG members have also been invited to attend, as observers, the anti-racism / white privilege training being offered to staff (more details in 13.12.1 below) and to join the statues and monuments review (more details in 3.8 below).


3.8         Education and young people


Current position: the 15th June 2020, Green and Labour Notice of Motion (NoM) was focused on anti-racism schools training. Brighton & Hove Educators of Colour Collective, working with BHCC Education & Skills, has drafted a costed proposal to meet the recommendations of this NoM. It is currently being considered as part of the 2021-22 budget planning process. A report on progress is going to CYPS committee on 7th November.


The NoM also asked the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary and Shadow Secretary of State for Education: awaiting confirmation of status of letter.


In response to COVID19 a Children and Young People task and finish group was established to focus specifically on the needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic young people and their families. Findings are now being considered and will be used to further refine the COVID19 response and recovery processes for children and young people. The Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) also talked specifically with parents and carers with English as an Additional Language to establish their specific concerns about impacts of the pandemic on their families, the return to school, and how to access support. Again, these findings were embedded in the response and recovery actions.


Next steps and priorities: dependent on funding allocation for the Educators of Colour Collective or alternate provision.


3.9         Community Safety


Current position: a hate crime campaign, with the theme ‘Break the silence’ is being planned by the Racial Harassment Forum (RHF), to take place in November.


An online ‘Upstanders’ event was held on 15th October, hosted by Upstanders Network. The Network runs events to build awareness of options to act when witnessing hate abuse, including reporting and safely supporting the harmed person, encouraging people to be Upstanders rather than bystanders. This was a pilot event to be rolled out.


Funding is being sought for a third-party hate crime reporting system for the city.


Cross-city work to deliver the Prevent Work Programme and facilitate the One Voice Partnership continues, including delivery of ‘Combatting Hate’ training, aimed at staff, community members and young people.


A NoM (13th August 2020, Green) requested that the Chief Executive write to the Sussex Police Crime Commissioner regarding stop-&-search, national reviews, and impact of Prevent: this letter has been sent.


Ongoing advice has been provided by the council in relation to Black Lives Matter protests to encourage safe and peaceful protests.


Next steps and priorities:


o   Roll out the Upstanders workshops to further audiences.


o   Identify funding for third party reporting.


o   The Office of the PCC has acknowledged receipt of the Chief Executive’s letter and has stated that a response will be provided.


3.10      Statues, monuments and plaques review


The range of commemorative representations across the city that may be considered in the review includes: commemorative statues, commemorative Blue Plaques, funerary memorials, street and building names, commissioned or formal public art, Brighton & Hove bus names, the Brighton Marina Walk of Fame. Some of these are not within the council’s control so work with other partners is required to achieve changes. As the review group comes together, the detail of this work will be agreed, to ensure BME centrality.


Opportunities for additional educational information, providing a fuller picture of the city’s history and historical context, are being considered, as well as where there are opportunities to commission new artworks that more fully reflect the city’s population and its values.


Links are being made with all relevant groups as well as through the Community Advisory Group and local historians.


Next steps and priorities: convene a review group, identify commemorative items and work with others to identify appropriate interventions, agree a work programme including community engagement, identify resources and deliver programme.


It is anticipated that the review group will report to TECC committee in early 2021.


3.11      COVID19 response


Current position: Equality Impact Assessments are being completed on Recovery Plans to address BAME protection and recovery. The process of recovery planning has included a series of EIAs being undertaken and these are being regularly reviewed by the recovery working groups. The Community & Voluntary Sector is feeding in via Community Works and membership of the recovery groups.


The recovery plans will have actions to address the needs and build on the skills and assets of people who are BME, as well seeking and using opportunities for anti-racism work, such as the arts recovery plans, which creates chances to better reflect the city’s diverse population in new creative arts projects.


The Local Outbreak Plan (LOP)has been produced. It recognises the needs of BME communities, including communication needs and LOP funding has been allocated to fund an engagement officer to work with BAME communities.  The new LOP Communications Officer appointed is working on translation of public health materials.


Next steps and priorities:


Recruitment of a Community Engagement Officer, by end of the year, to engage with different ethnic communities to ensure support to residents during any potential local outbreak/lockdown and through recovery.


EIAs remain under review as the COVID19 response and recovery plans develop, with new information and responses being added.


3.12      Civic leadership


Current position: A challenge session was held at the City Management Board (CMB) in July, where all city partners expressed support for the anti-racism commitment.


Council has with Operational Black Vote and other CMB members been exploring options for a civic leadership programme, across all public sector organisations to increase the numbers of people from BAME communities to stand for public roles and/or election; to develop community ambassadors for civic society; to develop advocates who can work with agencies to address barriers; and to generate greater understanding of diverse communities among public sector organisations.


Next steps and priorities: City partners to confirm actions in progress and planned to address racism in their organisations and to identify areas of common focus.


Council, with city partners, to identify funding for the civic leadership programme proposal.


3.13      Fair & Inclusive Action Plan (FIAP) anti-racism actions


Current position:

·           Launched the We Need to Talk About Race campaign  (March 2020) to challenge racism and value diversity;

·           Published the council’s definitions of racism and zero tolerance approach

·           Created an additional safe space to report issues of racism

·           HR Advisory Service (HRAS) is implementing a restorative justice approach to racism casework that was developed with our BME Workers Forum and is continuing to improve the collection of equality data in casework.

·           Recruitment

·           Wellbeing listening workshops for BME staff held in September by ELT members.  Action plan to be agreed (November 2020)

·           The council has joined around five hundred organisations in becoming a signatory of Business In the Community’s Race at Work Charter.  We have published our commitment to the five calls to action to address disparities in employment and progression for the BME workforce.

·           Learning and Development actions are outlined under section 3.12 below


Next steps and priorities: appointment of an HR officer to support delivery of targeted actions within the Recruitment, Retention and Progression workstream


3.14      Council Workforce Learning and Development


Current position: a range of new learning and development courses have been created, to enable staff to understand more about the council’s commitments, identify their role to support them, and to reinforce a shared standard of acceptable behaviours. These include:

·           Mandatory briefings for all staff: 90 min online sessions throughout October to December for 110 staff each.

·           Anti-racism / white privilege training: 2 hours online for targeted teams. One session provided to members.  

·           Series of ‘Coaching in Context of Racial Harm’ being run.

·           Anti-racism presentation made to FCL social worker; delivered by British Association of Social Workers

·           Online anti-racism resources available for all staff.


Next steps and priorities:


o   The mandatory briefings will be rolled out to all staff in the coming months, with follow-up to ensure attendance.


o   The Community Advisory Group have been invited to attend sessions of the anti-racism training.


o   Further anti-racism sessions will be provided to staff and members in 2021. Future learning and development will provide opportunities to explore the different ways in which racism manifests, how racism impacts on different communities and how people can respond, for example using the Upstander model outlined above.


o   Future work regarding addressing anti-Semitism will be included in the Equalities work plan.  We are looking to offer specific anti-Semitism training to all councillors.


3.15      Other actions


Current position: The council is an equal pay employer and any individual employed at a particular grade will be paid within that salary scale, regardless of protected characteristic.  The purpose of pay gap reporting is to drive action to address inequality and currently, our workforce profile data shows significant under-representation of BME staff particularly in middle and higher graded roles.  We have worked collaboratively with our BME Workers’ Forum to identify actions within our Fair and Inclusive Action Plan to address this and these are outlined in Section 3.11.We await the Government response to the petition on ethnicity pay gap reporting, and will introduce this reporting once the methodology is clear. In the meantime we are committed to working on the data we already have, as agreed with the BME Workers’ Forum.  


The council’s BME Worker Forum continues to be funded annually (£1000), with £10,000 committed for the planned 2020 multicultural festival (postponed due to COVID19). All Steering Group members are allocated release time to attend meetings, complete Forum business and collaborate on corporate priorities. In addition, the BMEWF Co-ordinator is released for 2.5 days to ensure capacity to support corporate aims.


Black History Month has been celebrated in the council with an event organised by the BMEWF based on the theme ‘What does Black History Month mean to me?’ This includes presentations by staff and an external speaker on the topic of “Celebrating Africans and Caribbeans in Sussex”.


The Library Service has linked with the anti-racism resource list and made as many resources available as possible, within COVID19 limitations. Staff are posting their own reading recommendations, and there are exhibitions and activities in Jubilee Library in collaboration with the Socially Engaged Art Salon (SEAS), Writing Our Legacy, Grace Quansah (aka Akuba), and author Olumide Popoola.


The council’s VCS grant programme – the Communities Fund - has been adapted to respond to the needs for BAME communities resulting from the COVID19 pandemic, with £25,000 of the funding ringfenced for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. The council received 29 bids, totalling £56,800. Awards will be announced in week commencing 26th October. 


Ongoing communication with staff and residents is in place, with a dedicated set of webpages updating on progress ( ) including a button on the council’s homepage that directs visitors immediately to the information. Articles are being posted on the council’s intranet the ‘Wave’ to provide information to staff and invite teams to give examples of how they are responding to the anti-racism commitments.


3.16      Outstanding issues


Resources and a sustainable approach to these proposals are being explored, to ensure that work started is meaningful, makes change and can be sustained:


o   Enabling an anti-racism adult education programme


o   Working with businesses to be anti-racist


o   Collaborating with partners to research the history of BME people and anti-racism in the city


o   Ensuring festivals in the city are inclusive                      




4.1         The progress outlined above is on actions undertaken in response to the council’s pledge to become an anti-racist council, anti-racism Notices of Motion and petitions accepted by full council/committees and previously Member agreed work under the Fair & Inclusive Action Plan. 




5.1         Engagement is a core element of the both the Fair and Inclusive action plan, and the anti-racism pledge; to reach and hear from people in the city who experience racism and other residents and partners who can all contribute to achieving the council’s anti-racism pledges.


5.2         The Community Advisory Group has been established as one mechanism for engaging with communities, but numerous responses, questions and offers to support have been received from many people and groups in the city and these are all being followed up. Officers are also working up an engagement plan for discussion with the CAG on reaching and hearing from a wider range of residents and groups.


5.3         Over the last 2 years, the council has also worked collaboratively with it’s BME Workers Forum to ensure co-creation of ongoing plans to make the council fairer and more inclusive, and to tackle racism.


5.4         Ensuring engagement reaches those whose voices are not often heard, especially where intersectional identities create multiple barriers, is central to finding sustainable and meaningful solutions and officers will work with a range of groups to enable this to happen.


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         The council pledged in summer 2020 to become an anti-racist council and to work with partners, including people across the city who experience racism, to create an anti-racist city, to dismantle racist structures and challenge racial inequality.


6.2         This work is central to the council’s values, its commitment to civic leadership, and its responsibilities as a public sector service provider and city leader. It also supports compliance with legal commitments, under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between communities, as well as to encourage civic engagement by under-represented groups.


6.3         Action has been taken in a wide number of areas, as outlined above, building on the existing anti-racism work being taken under the Fair and Inclusive action plan, and the work undertaken over decades by communities and individuals in the city.


6.4         A significant amount of work is underway and planned, including building and developing relationships with city community groups that have been working on anti-racism work for many years and also more newly formed groups.


6.5         Committee is asked to note these updates on progress to support the direction of travel and defined priorities, so progress can continue at pace.




Financial Implications:


7.1         Project management and leadership of the work is being carried out as part of core business of the Communities, Equality and Third Sector (CETS) team. A budget of £10,000 has been allocated from the CETS initiatives budget to support the work. Financial implications arising from the actions identified in the report will be considered by the relevant service as part of their standard budget management processes and decisions on allocation of funding will be made in line with council’s budget setting process.


            Finance Officer Consulted:     Michael Bentley                            Date: 22/10/20


Legal Implications:


7.2         There are no legal implications arising from this report. All of the actions proposed are in line with the Council’s powers and duties, in particular under the Equality Act 2010.


            Lawyer Consulted:                   Alice Rowland                               Date: 6/11/20


            Equalities Implications:


7.3         The intention of this work is to address identified racial inequalities and racism experienced by people who live in, work in and visit the city. The range of engagement planned with people who share other characteristics in addition to their ethnicity will ensure that perspectives are heard from a wide range of people. This will enable the development of tailored and bespoke actions to address all forms of racism, where it is based on ethnicity, skin colour or any other attribute.


7.4         The work is central to the council’s legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between communities, as well as to encourage civic engagement by under-represented groups. It also complements and supports the council’s Fair & Inclusive Action Plan in addressing the findings of the review of race diversity by Global HPO.


            Sustainability Implications:


7.5         No implications arising from this report


Brexit Implications:


7.6         No implications arising from this report


Any Other Significant Implications:


            Crime & Disorder Implications:


7.5      Hate crime has a significant and ongoing impact on individuals and communities in the city and affects our reputation as a welcoming and inclusive city, as well as a destination for visitors. These commitments will support and contribute to long-standing and ongoing work by the council, partners and communities who experience racism.


            Public Health Implications:


7.7      COVID19 has revealed the deep-seated inequalities in the ‘wider determinants of health’ which mean that people from some ethnic groups are disproportionately adversely affected by the pandemic. This anti-racism work will focus on addressing these inequalities, as well as ensuring that the response to the pandemic and recovery from it have a focus on the needs and assets of BME communities, including in the communication of public health messages.


            Corporate / Citywide Implications:


7.8       No impacts, beyond those identified in this report








1.         List of anti-racism Community Advisory Group members




Background Documents


1.         Anti-racist commitments made by council: