The first meeting of Ealing Council’s independent citizens’ tribunal took place last Thursday (13 October 2022) with its panel of 10 members discussing priorities and how it will work to deliver the recommendations of Ealing Race Equality Commission (EREC).
The full report from EREC, which was chaired by Lord Simon Woolley, raised a number of concerns about the council and how it is addressing race inequalities across the borough and within the council itself in which he said: “lay bare some uncomfortable truths for many including the council”.
In a forward to the report, Lord Woolley said: “The Commissioners and I have heard from those who care a great deal about their borough and have come forward to share their own lived experiences, which has in many ways reinforced what we – the commissioners – felt we already knew – that not everyone can benefit from the same richness of opportunities because of their race.
“I urge everyone, each business, institution or organisation to take note of our findings and play their part in creating a better future. Kindness and compassion will only get us so far to achieving true equality, what we need now is clear political, civic, and business leadership along with action to create lasting change.
“I would like to thank Ealing’s political leadership for embarking on a process that would lay bare some uncomfortable truths for many including the council.”
Lord Woolley chairs Ealing Race Equality Commission (EREC) meeting and asks questions to Ealing Council and its leadership
Part of the remit of the citizens’ tribunal is to provide additional scrutiny to hold the council to account and that the priorities and recommendations put forward by the EREC to fight race inequality and promote equality are actioned.
These priorities include health, education, crime and policing.
Chair of the 10 member tribunal, Denise Charles said: “I love the fact everybody is independent on the citizen’s tribunal. We want to make sure all the actions from the race equality commission report are focused on and dealt with. What has inspired me to work with the citizen’s tribunal is to be part of the solution, ensuring that there is fairness for everybody within the borough.”
According to the Ms Charles, who was also involved with EREC, the citizens’ tribunal public meetings will also be online.
The first meeting was held with council leader Councillor Peter Mason and Councillor Aysha Raza, cabinet member for inequalities, following this members then held a private session to discuss their plans.
Councillor Raza said: “The tribunal will play an important role in providing a new approach to working with the community, to highlight people’s concerns and finding ways to create a fairer borough with opportunities for all. The commissioners, all independent from the council, have a wide range of knowledge and expertise, bringing new ideas and a fresh voice to tackling inequalities.”
Councillor Mason added: “There remain some very deep-rooted inequalities in our borough that hold too many people back from reaching their dreams and aspirations. The citizens’ tribunal has been designed to be fully independent, to ensure we remain accountable, and to hold us and others to the promises we have made to do something about it.”