All posts in Key Findings

Approach to Findings

To determine whether the public sector cuts are impacting disproportionately on BME families and voluntary and community groups, The Afiya Trust approached all 153 local authorities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, requesting details of cuts to BME services and communities in 2010/11 and 2011/12.



Between November 2011 and February 2012 we received 118 responses from local authorities with responsibility for adult social services.

Interim Report
Click here to download the interim report regarding the impact of local goverment social care budget cuts on BME communities.

  • Over 75 per cent of local authorities responded to our Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Just under a quarter of local authorities, (23) per cent, failed to respond as of mid-February 2012.
  • The overall funding trend was down for BME voluntary and community sector organisations, with the biggest cuts occurring in the Greater London area – 74 per cent of London local authorities that responded reported cuts.
  • In England around £3m was cut to BME voluntary and community sector in social care funding in 2010/2011 – £1.5 million of this was in London alone.
  • One in five of the responses received did not declare whether Equality Impact Assessments had been conducted.
  • An alarming one in five of local authorities said that they did not collect the data on BME voluntary and community sector organisations’ funding.
  • Some local authorities indicated that they did not and would not conduct equality impact assessments on the adult social care budget. Whilst in some cases this appeared to be because the equality impact assessment was conducted corporately in other cases the
    rationale for this approach was unclear and it was unclear whether or not the local authority was complying with the previous or current public sector equality duties.
  • A significant number of local authorities (nearly 30) suggested that written approval would be required if we wished to reuse the information gathered through the Freedom of Infromation Act request. This raised concerns about whether local authorities should or could seek to fetter the future use of such public information.

*A full report will be published in the summer of 2012.

Given the severity of the recent and planned austerity measures, and the worrying provisional findings from the Living in the Margins campaign research,The Afiya Trust wants to ensure that the BME voluntary sector and BME families are no longer forced to live in the margins. We are
committed to improving the social care, health and wellbeing of BME communities, and to working alongside central and local government to implement strategies that lead to better health outcomes for the most vulnerable in society.

Our provisional recommendations are based on the role that central and local government can play to achieve better health and social care outcomes for BME communities, users of adult social services and families, and for the voluntary and community sector organisations that support them.

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

  • The Department for Communities and Local Government to review the guidance to local authorities on best practice on funding cuts, and to ensure that all local authorities undertake Equality. Impact Assessments with clear evidence that the impact on BME communities has been factored into all decision making processes and final council budgets.
  • The Department of Health to develop a race equality strategy and action plan around the development and implementation of the Dilnot recommendations.
  • Personalisation to be implemented at 100 per cent by all local authorities by 2013. The
    Department of Health needs to conduct Equality Impact Assessments through the implementation process to ensure that BME families, service users and carers are supported and benefiting from the autonomy that personalisation promotes.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

  • Establish a network to support local authorities to develop best practice around race equality to minimise the impact of the cuts on BME communities.
  • Develop best practice guidance to ensure all local authorities are carrying out the Public
    Sector Equality Duty.
  • Establish a team of peer reviewers to support council leaders, elected Mayors, councillors and
    cabinet members to develop robust processes around the cuts and Equality Impact Assessments, and to produce an action plan to support BME communities.
  • Have a roundtable meeting between BME national and regional organisations and senior leaders in local government to develop a joint approach around localism and race equality.

METROPOLITAN, COUNTY COUNCIL AND UNITARY LEVEL

  • Produce an annual impact report on race equality and to support final council budgets and decision making processes based on robust Equality Impact Assessments and engagement with BME communities and third sector organisations.
  • Review the impact of cuts on the implementation of the joint strategic needs assessment and the likely impact on BME communities.
  • Shadow Health and Well-Being Boards to assess the impact of cuts on BME communities and the
    level of disinvestment in BME third sector and grass roots community organisations.