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The Report : Part Three - Strategies of Change

Government Leadership
… My final appeal to the Commission would be not to produce another worthy document or report without any real action being taken. We have already had many worthy reports and documents which have propped up bookcases, shelves or doors. We need to have clear aims and aspirations as a society, reflected through … political processes, resources, actions and media and at individual and community levels.

From a response to the Commission, 1998

Government has four principal functions: to provide political leadership; to allocate resources; to manage its own departments in ways that are both efficient and exemplary; and to formulate and implement legislation, with support, regulation and enforcement as necessary.

In the course of 1999 the current government began to drop its colour- and culture-blind approaches to social policy and to modernisation, and by the early summer of 2000 it was able to itemise several specific and significant developments.

It needs, however, to give a more explicit lead, to ensure greater consistency and co-ordination between its separate departments, to accord race equality and cultural diversity a higher profile, and to ensure that it hears and attends to a wider range of views and perceptions.

Legislation and Enforcement … By now I would have thought that there would be a move to a new piece of legislation … the 1976 RRA [Race Relations Act] has many loopholes. Speaking from experience … I have taken up a case against an employer with help from a local REC and worked for them as a race equality officer and … seen them fail twice.

From a submission to the Commission, 1998

The Race Relations Act of 1976 has had a positive effect – it has helped to curb the worst kinds of discrimination in employment and the provision of services, and has had an invaluable impact on the general climate of opinion. The amendments made in 2000 will make it applicable to the functions of nearly all public bodies, and introduce a positive duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity.

These changes are most certainly to be welcomed. In the longer term, however, amendments are not enough. A new Equality Act is required, together with a new Equality Commission.

Further, there needs to be a Human Rights Commission to promote a human rights culture, and the United Kingdom should formally declare itself to be a multicultural state.

Organisational Change
Racism is often portrayed as though it is something like a disease which can be cured …[Racist beliefs] are reinforced in so many ways in white people, from the cradle … It is not a question of curing me, but of me acknowledging my racism and taking responsibility for operating in an anti-racist way personally and encouraging organisations and institutions in which I have an influence to do the same.

From a response to the Commission, 1998

This chapter discusses issues that need to considered and acted on in every separate authority or organisation, including government departments.

It follows on naturally from the previous chapter on legislation, since a recurring emphasis there was that one aim of legislation should be to promote and support self-generated organisational change. It is not necessary to wait for new legislation, however, before considering change at local or institutional levels.

The chapter discusses leadership, documentation, management and mainstreaming, monitoring, training and the concept of ‘a listening organisation’