This article answers some of those questions.
The legal bit
The law says that Community Planning Partnerships (CPP) must:
• Make sure people and communities are genuinely engaged in the decisions made on public services which affect us (‘community engagement’).
• Ensure organisations work together in providing better public services (emergency services, Council services, education, employment, enterprise, transport etc).
• Encourage equal opportunities, specifically on the grounds of sex or marital status, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin, religious and political beliefs.
The Glasgow Equalities Hub process
In January 2006 Glasgow Community Planning Partnership (CPP) asked Glasgow’s four Voluntary Sector Equality Networks to develop ideas for a new body or structure (an ‘Equalities Hub’) to help them to tackle equalities in community engagement.
Glasgow Disability Alliance, Glasgow Black Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Network, Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Sector Network and the West of Scotland LGBT Forum have been negotiating with Glasgow Community Planning Ltd since then. Glasgow CPP has now agreed to fund an Equalities Hub to March 2008 – up to £115,199 for 06/07 and up to £263,104 for 07/08. The funding is for:
Initial consultation and development activities (the ‘Hub’ defining its priorities by talking to the 10 Local Community Planning Hubs, 3 Thematic Social Inclusion Partnerships (SIPs), equalities groups/organisations, public service providers and other key stakeholders).
- Implementation activities (training and support to improve equalities in community engagement for the Local Hubs, Thematic SIPs, equalities groups, public service providers and other stakeholders).
- Measuring activities (ensuring that all Community planning partners agree on measures, indicators and data collection methods for equalities in community engagement).
- Publicity activities (telling people what the Equalities Hub is doing).
- A full time Manager, full time Admin/Finance Officer, 4 x half post Development Workers and some specialised sessional staffing to implement these activities.
- Office costs for the workers.
- Development and support for the Equalities Hub Directors (developing policies, training needs analysis, development days).
Who is in charge of the Equalities Hub?
The management of the Hub is being undertaken by a new Limited Company: Glasgow Equalities Partnership (GEP). This Company has been formed collectively by the four Equality Networks each of which can have two GEP Directors.
GEP will hold the funding for the Equalities Hub, will be responsible for ensuring that the work of the Hub is successfully delivered against defined benchmarks, and will be responsible for employing any staff. As with any funding arrangement, GEP will be accountable to Glasgow Community Planning Ltd for the Equalities Hub programme of work.
Most of the staff are now in place. They are:
Karen Willey – Manager
Karen Gould – Administrator
Heather McArthur – Development Officer (Disabilities)
Jean Monaghan – Development Officer (LGBT)
Maryam Wasim – Development Officer (BME)
The only post currently vacant is the Development Officer (Women).
Where are they?
The team are in the process of setting up their office – there are no email addresses yet but you can write to them at: Suite 311, The Pentagon Centre, 36 Washington Street, Glasgow G3 8AZ or Telephone 0141 221 8938
What will the Equalities Hub actually do?
Broadly, the Equalities Hub will make sure:
• That public services and other Community Planning structures follow best practice in engaging with the diverse communities of Glasgow
• That all Glasgow’s diverse communities have the right support to tell public services and other Community Planning structures what they want.
• That the delivery of public services genuinely becomes more equal as a result of this community engagement.
The Equalities Hub will complement and support the Community Planning community engagement work done by the 10 Local Community Planning Hubs and the 3 Thematic SIPs (Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance, Routes Out of Prostitution and The Big Step).
1. The Equalities Hub might train and support public transport providers to talk in the most appropriate and meaningful ways with LGBT groups about local and citywide transport needs; the Equalities Hub might also support Local Hubs’ involvement in this process; the Equalities Hub could then work with LGBT communities, Local Hubs and public transport providers to help them measure real resultant differences in transport provision for LGBT groups.
2. Job Centre Plus might review their policies and practices on making their service meaningful to Black and Ethnic Minority (BEM) communities across Glasgow. The Equalities Hub could work with them, Local Hubs and the Thematic SIP (Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance) to ensure that they hold effective consultation events which take into account the diversity of the BEM community. The Equalities Hub could again work with all to agree measures of equalities success from the process.
How should I keep in touch with the Equalities Hub?
The four Glasgow Equalities Partnership Directors are:
Harriette Campbell Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Sector Network
Alistair Smith The West of Scotland LGBT Forum 0141 221 7203
Jatin Haria Glasgow Black Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Network
Tressa Burke Glasgow Disability Alliance
Equalities Hub developments will be reported by the Directors to their own specific Equality Network meetings. So, if you work in your own interests’ area in the voluntary or community sector, this is another reason to join the relevant Network for you. Please contact the relevant person above if you are interested in becoming involved.
You should also look out for opportunities to start to engage with the Equalities Hub staff in stakeholder events starting as soon as the staff have been through their induction process and the priorities agreed with the GEP Board.
Richard Brunner, Equality Networks Development Worker, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, 1 November 2006 (with an update by Karen Willey, Manager, Equalities Hub, February 2007)
Richard moved on to a new job at the end of 2006, the current Equality Networks Development Worker at GCVS is Ruth Forrest. You can contact Ruth on 0141 332 2444 or email Ruth Forrest