Camden Council commits to tackling racial inequality

Black Lives Matter protesters on Parliament Hill after a march in solidarity with anti-racism campai

Camden protesters from Black Lives Matter - Credit: Archant

Camden Council is set to “urgently implement” six new core priorities across all of its services in a bid to tackle race inequality and disproportionality.

On Wednesday the council’s cabinet are to approve commitments developed in response to injustices highlighted by the pandemic as well as by Black Lives Matter protests in the UK. 

The six new priorities cover justice, education, the workplace, health, procurement, and work undertaken by the town hall across London and the country,

There would also be a new equalities and disproportionality service established.

Equalities chief Cllr Abdul Hai said: “Camden has a proud rebellious spirit that throughout its history has seen communities come together to tackle problems and bring about real social change.  

“The borough benefits from a strong identity as a welcoming borough with vibrant grassroots activity. However, we also know that not everyone feels a part of this identity or sees the benefits of the progress made."

He said Covid-19 and the BLM movement had highlighted "entrenched structural inequalities", while a report to the town hall's cabinet recognises Camden has “not gone far or fast enough" in tackling inequalities.

Cllr Abdul Hai on a march to save Belsize fire station. Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden's equalities chief Cllr Abdul Hai - Credit: Archant

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The council is also committing to working with organisations to tackle systemic inequality when it comes to young people in the criminal justice system and health inequality.

Last September it established a working group to produce a new education strategy which would aim to empower young people and reduce inequality.

This group is also considering the impact of exclusions on pupils and diversity within schools themselves.

Black Lives Matter protesters on Parliament Hill after a march in solidarity with anti-racism campai

Demonstrators on Parliament Hill supporting Black Lives Matter - Credit: Archant

Forty per cent of Camden staff identify as BAME, with this proportion decreasing in higher-paid roles. This contributes to the mean ethnicity pay gap widening over the past two years, from 16.2 per cent in 2019 to 16.8 per cent in 2020. 

In response, the Town Hall will reject all-white shortlists for jobs, anonymise recruitment processes for leadership roles, and require diverse interview panels.

A recruitment working group will also be established. 

Cllr Hai added: “We want to make Camden a place where everyone has a chance to succeed and where nobody gets left behind. Together, we will create a place that works for everyone and where everyone has a voice.” 

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