Fairness Commission

Origins of the Sutton Fairness Commission

In its first year the Fairness Commission chose to focus on the life chances of children in the borough and over the next year commissioners heard evidence on this subject.  This work also included a focused series of events with young people, including a conference run by the young people themselves.

Finally a report was shared with the Council’s People Committee.  The findings of the report were also important in shaping the Sutton Health and Care Plan and has led to the agreement to produce a borough wide plan for children and young people in Sutton.

Following the successful pilot stage the Commissioners have agreed that the Sutton Fairness Commission should continue to focus on equality and diversity issues across the borough.  The new terms of reference state that:

‘The Commission aspires to operate as a part of the equalities infrastructure for the wider public sector in Sutton.  Ultimately the Commission aspires to become the main vehicle for scrutinising equality issues in Sutton.’

 

Work on Racial Justice

The Fairness Commission in late 2019/early 2020 began looking at issues around racism in Sutton in response to murder of George Floyd and disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

In 2017 the Runnymede Trust had produced a Race Equality Scorecard for Sutton covering employment, education, health, housing, etc.  This showed that while inequalities Sutton where less stark, they were still clear and systemic.  This data was reproduced in 2021 and showed the same trends.

Given this baseline, the Fairness Commission used storytelling to get an understanding of what it feels like for BAME community members to live in Sutton - to hear from BAME community members how potential/actual discrimination and exclusions impacted on their lives and opportunities.  These stories were also supplemented by hearing from BAME Community members in weekly conversations (via the Race Equality Group supported by CAS 15-40 people).  

The findings and recommendations based on this work can be found below.

For more information contact enquiries@communityactionsutton.org.uk

  

Racial Justice Report Launched in Sutton

Community Action Sutton and The Fairness Commission have launched a collaborative report into racial justice in Sutton after over a year of research, scrutiny and projects.

Race Equality Conf Collage

The report launched at the end of Black History Month makes a number of recommendations to ensure Sutton is a place where racism and discrimination will not be tolerated.  

Following the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 Community Action Sutton through the Fairness Commission have been working with the local Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to get an understanding of what it feels like to be a member of those communities locally. The insight gathered has helped to form the report and animation, to articulate their stories, experiences and issues with racial discrimination and the impact this has on their lives and opportunities.

The report was launched on Friday 29 October and brought together partners, councillors, local communities and organisations to celebrate the work and culminate with the Black History Month. The report raised a number of key recommendations including:   

  • Policy and practice reviews.

  • Continued listening and gathering of people’s experiences. 

  • An annual event to share learning and progress.

  • Continued support to groups working with communities experiencing racism.

The work behind the report has been spearheaded by Community Action Sutton, an organisation that supports voluntary and community groups and hosts the Fairness Commission. Working group members from the meeting have been involved in crafting the report and animation. The recommendations from the report will be overseen by a steering group made up of members of the Fairness Commission and the working group to ensure that change is made.

Working Group Members in attendance at the launch shared their thoughts on the report and animation;

 

 “This is about ACTION and not just words and reports. It is NOW not just for the future. It’s for Sutton as a WHOLE represented community.”

“The animation video - made it very easy to understand and it had a big impact!”

“Young People were great and the creative writing was amazing.”

 

Simon Breeze, Chief Executive of Community Action Sutton said; "Our past attempts to reduce the ethnic inequalities in Britain have failed because we have only focused on addressing the symptoms and not the causes.  With that principle in mind the report sets out clear data on inequalities, but most importantly it focuses on people's experiences and the lived reality of racism. The Fairness Commission sought to find solutions to racism and inequality by looking at the role of different types of power, such as institutional, social, or personal power. By doing this the recommendations give everyone, regardless of their role or position in life a way to be part of the change."

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council said; “The report marks a real turning point for racial justice work in the borough. I was fortunate enough to attend the launch last Friday and heard a range of challenging and impactful stories from members of our local community who contributed to the report and animation. The Council along with other key partners will continue to support the work of the Fairness Commission and Community Action Sutton, as well as using the insight from this work to inform wider change to improve racial justice work locally. This serves as a great example of the power of collaborative working to address the ugly challenge of racism and inequality.”

  

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