Abstracts: February 13th, 2008

This report from Communities and Local Government examines people’s perceptions of racial discrimination in council housing departments and housing associations, local schools, local doctors’ surgeries, the police service, the prison service, the courts, the Crown Prosecution Service and the probation service. It presents the findings of a qualitative survey.

The report categorises respondents into those who perceived and expected racial discrimination in many public services and those who did not. The former had a self concept of social identity, assumed that the world is not “just” and had asceptical attitude towards public services. The other category did not share theses views. All perceptions of racial discrimination were significantly influenced by people’s knowledge and experience of specific public services.

The report identifies specific drives of perceptions in different services. In housing services the main driver was allocation policies. In local GP services it was perceived discrimination from Asian doctors towards Asian patients. In local schools it was the mismanagement of racial or religious incidents against pupils. In the police and Crown Prosecution services it was a basic distrust associated with the case of Stephen Lawrence and an undercover television reportage on racism.

Recommendations include public services seeking to involve and consult minority ethnic people at every stage in service planning and delivery to ensure that services truly meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve. There should also be rigorous monitoring mechanisms to identify any evidence of unequal treatment, processes and outcomes, and the results of monitoring should be used to help plan and deliver fairer services.

The report is available from DCLG. http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/driversdiscrimination?version=1