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Race remains a significant problem for Sheffield, says Commission

Race Equality Commission

Sheffield’s Race Equality Commission has released its initial findings on the state of racial equality in the city – with some unsettling observations.

Professor Kevin Hylton, Chair of Sheffield Race Equality Commission, said:

“Sadly, racism and racial disparities remain ongoing concerns for the city.

“Key organisations in the city still show a lack of diversity at the higher levels, and they don’t reflect the communities they serve.

“People affected by racism often have a feeling of not being understood in their workplace by management that lack knowledge of their lived experience.

“So we find members of racialised ethnic groups in Sheffield often don’t feel the trust and confidence in their management that they should.”

The Commission found evidence of:

  • Management, board members and workforces being unrepresentative of the city population and therefore unable to reflect the lived experiences of a significant proportion of Sheffielders.
  • Racism and racial disparities in the workplace, with higher levels of grievance and disciplinary cases for people of colour.
  • More cases of bullying and harassment affecting members of Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic communities.
  • Racialised disparities in funding for voluntary and community organisations.
  • Low levels of effective consultation and co-production of facilities in services for under-represented ethnic populations.
  • Low levels of trust and confidence in key organisations.
  • Racism remaining significant across all the themes areas of its inquiry.

The Commission also found that the years of austerity, followed by Covid-19, have impacted more heavily on Sheffield’s BAME communities.

Professor Hylton emphasised that these are but a few initial findings, and that analysis is ongoing and necessary in order to propose concrete recommendations for action.

Cllr Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said:

“Some of the initial findings are really worrying, but there are also some encouraging signs. For instance we’re seeing more organisations seizing the initiative and taking the right steps, like reporting on pay gaps and creating ‘safe spaces’ for employees. More organisations are keen to recruit diverse talent, and making sure they’re retaining and promoting employees in a way that doesn’t lose that diverse talent.”

Cllr Abtisam Mohamed, Cabinet Advisor to the Council Leader, said:

“The Commission’s findings are shining a light on the problems. Its recommendations will point us towards concrete solutions. So we’ll have a set of clear recommendations and we can start translating the excellent work of the Commission into action – to make sure Sheffield is an increasingly inclusive city where racism and racial disparities are acknowledged and addressed.”

A fuller interim update by Professor Hylton can be viewed on the website here.

The full report will be launched in 2022.