Correspondence between Dharmendra Kanani, Head of CRE, Scotland and Ann McKechin MP
Scottish Affairs Committee Evidence Session on the Work Commission of Racial Equality in Scotland
Following on from the evidence hearing on 20 March which I thought was very useful in providing the committee with background knowledge of the racial quality work within Scotland. I have now been advised by MSF that the funding for the West of Scotland Racial Equality Council has been awarded for six months only, and that the operations at Edinburgh and Lothians REC is suspended as this council has lost its director, office manager and two officers due in part to concerns regarding funding insecurity.
I am obviously somewhat concerned to note that the two largest REC's in Scotland do not presently have secure funding in the current financial year, and also in a year which will see the implementation of the new race relations amendment legislation.
I would be grateful if you could perhaps clarify the position, and what steps REC are taking to resolve this matter urgently.
Your early reply would be very much appreciated.
Ann McKechin MP
16 April 2002
Thank you for your letter received at the CRE on 18 April.
I am keen to clarify the matters you raise regarding the current funding arrangements of the two Racial Equality Councils (RECs) you mention and their particular circumstances. In order to give you an overview of the funding situation of all the RECs in Scotland, I am attaching a copy of a report on the funding of the RECs in 2002-03, which was submitted to the CRE's Finance and General Purposes Committee in March.<mr777> I have also included more detailed sections which relate specifically to GREC.
Let me deal with each of the points you raise in turn:
<mo777> See Ev 50.
1. The CRE has agreed to funding of up to six months for the West of Scotland REC (WSREC). This is as a result of the WSREC's failure both, to provide a satisfactory work programme, and to meet key quality standards required to deliver effective racial equality services. You will note from the attached that WSREC has been provided effective support to achieve the standards required to secure future funding; officers will meet with the REC on a monthly basis to this end. Furthermore, the CRE is providing strategic support to WSREC to develop the Unitary Authorities Race Equality Forum; its casework and other matters relating to the ACONA report on modernising the delivery of local racial equality work.
2. In relation to Edinburgh and Lothians REC (ELREC), I am concerned that MSF should suggest that the loss of staff at this REC has anything to do with funding insecurity. The Director chose to resign, (I was present at the ELREC Management Board meeting when he tendered his resignation), as a result of the publication of a report of a management review of ELREC commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council; the other two staff have left due to successful appointments elsewhere.
The CRE is in detailed discussion with all funding partners to develop a rescue package to ensure a minimum service is maintained at ELREC. Moreover, all complainants of discrimination and harassment reported to ELREC are being referred to the CRE. Also, all current funders, together with the ELREC Management Board, have agreed an approach to developing and ensuring the future delivery of effective racial equality service.
The amendments to the Race Relations Act 1976, as you rightly point out, are fully implemented this year. This, therefore, makes the case for the delivery of high quality, locally based services which involve all stakeholders and enjoy the confidence of a range of users, all the more urgent.
You will be pleased to note that in partnership with voluntary and community organisations and key public sector bodies, the CRE has secured an agreement towards the development of the delivery of local racial equality services in the Highlands and Islands. An area hitherto excluded from such dedicated activity.
I hope the above reassures you and clarifies all the points raised in your letter. I met MSF representatives this weekend at a workshop the CRE organised to discuss with REC representatives our movement towards strategic funding. Maggie Chetty, Director of WSREC, as you know is an MSF representative, attended the workshop. I am keen that we involve and consult all stakeholders as we develop our thinking internally to become more outcome focused in our funding strategy. At a corporate level, I am leading the CRE's strategic development in this area across Britain, if you should have any further enquiries, or if would like to receive detailed briefing, I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss this or other matters relating to the work of CRE.
Once thank you for your interest in the work of RECs and your commitment to the continuance of such work.
Head of CRE, Scotland
21 April 2002