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One year on from Race Equality Commission Report

Black and orange writing saying Race Equality Commission

Today is an important milestone as we reach the one-year anniversary of the publication of the Race Equality Commission report (REC).  The commission, chaired by Prof Kevin Hylton and including 24 commissioners from across Sheffield, collated detailed evidence of the racism and racial disparities affecting our communities. It made some clear recommendations for what needs to change, including a challenge to the city and its institutions to become anti-racist.

The recommendations from the REC report, launched a year ago today, were for the whole city, and as a key anchor institution, the council has a significant part to play to achieve that ambition. The council has made progress over the last year and in December published an action plan setting out how it would respond to the recommendations. A 6-month update against that action plan will be considered by the Strategy and  Resources Committee meeting on 2nd August.

The action plan will report on what the council has done so far. This has included reviewing and de-biasing our internal processes to reduce barriers and inequalities such as developing our Equality Impact Assessment process, reviewing and strengthening our recruitment guidance, analysing leavers’ questionnaires, and supporting job fairs to attract more Black, Asian, and Minoritised Ethnic young residents to work for the council.  

Work has been done to build a more inclusive culture by ensuring employees and members undertake mandatory Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training, data collection has been improved, and the sharing and analysis of a detailed workforce data report and specific ethnicity report has taken place.

Kate Josephs, Chief Executive at Sheffield City Council, said: “It is a priority for us to become an anti-racist organisation and, while we have already started to make progress, there is much more to do on race equality in our organisation and across the city.  When launching the REC report last year, the Chair of the Commission, Professor Kevin Hylton, commented that organisations must begin this journey by getting their own houses in order and we have taken that challenge seriously, but we know that there is still a long way to go including in de-biasing our services. 

“We must use this one-year anniversary to reflect on where we can go further and faster, listening to Sheffield’s diverse communities, and recognise that the city expects determined and committed leadership on this from its council. Today I want to thank and pay tribute to the commissioners for the work they did to gather and understand people’s experiences and recommend actions for the city.”

To ensure that there is a legacy for the Race Equality Commission, and in line with the recommendations from last year’s report, a Legacy working group has been established which is chaired by Richard Stubbs, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Sciences Network and until recently chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership. This working group is made up of representatives from communities, private sector and anchor organisations and is developing a set of options for a long-term legacy arrangement which will help us make progress to delivering on the recommendations and becoming an anti-racist city. The Group will come up with a workable option which communities and stakeholders will be consulted on in the autumn. 

In September, the council will hold an event for community representatives and anchor representatives to reflect on the work that has been done and challenge itself to go further and faster over the coming year.

Councillor Tom Hunt, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “We are committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation as quickly as possible. I am pleased that the council has begun to implement the recommendations of the Race Equality Commission alongside other organisations in the city and that a Legacy working group has been established. However, I know that the council has not moved quickly enough as an organisation and that the racial disparities identified by the commission still affect the lives of many people in Sheffield. As the new Leader of the Council, I am determined that the work outlined in our action plan is accelerated.”