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Report to be published from Torbay Racism Review


A report is being published with key findings and recommendations from the Torbay Racism Review, which has been taking place over the last 18 months.

Torbay Council has worked closely on the review with a range of local partners from the public, private and voluntary sector, since the review was launched in September 2020. The review also took into account written testimonies from locals and visitors to Torbay on their experiences of racism.

The review was originally started in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, USA and the global protest movement that followed, including mass demonstrations in London and Bristol. The key question the review wanted to address was ‘How do we make Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) lives matter in Torbay?’ (Note: the review was launched before the government recommended in December 2021 that the term ethnic minorities is used instead of BAME).

Leader of Torbay Council Steve Darling said: “I welcome the publication of this report and would like to thank all our partners who contributed to the review. Our aim was to take a holistic, inclusive, and comprehensive approach to exploring and attempting to understand the issue of racism in Torbay, which engages with our community and allows them the space and time to voice their experiences and views to local community leaders as well as regional and national decision-makers.

“We will look closely at the recommendations in the report and do all we can to address any issues raised.”

Councillor Jermaine Atiya-Alla, Chair of the Torbay Racism Review Panel, said: “It’s been quite a long process but we always wanted this to be a meaningful review and there are some real tangible and practical recommendations in the report that we will work with our partners to take forward as far as possible. It’s also important to note that this review is just the first step and it will be an ongoing process to improve our approach to tackling racism, and making our services more accessible to people from ethnic minorities in Torbay.

“We are very grateful to all the partner organisations who gave their time as part of the review, and also in particular to our local ethnic minority community members who responded to us and told us what they would like to see happen.”

Deputy Leader Darren Cowell said: “The review shows that we all can and must do better. Our ambition as outlined in our Community and Corporate Plan is for Torbay and its residents to thrive -this can only happen if we enable all of our residents to thrive, whatever their background.”

The panel took an early decision to establish a multi-cultural network for Torbay with help from the council, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Engaging Communities Southwest. Whilst this network is still in its infancy it is starting to bring together a range of people in Torbay from multi-cultural backgrounds and is enabling a channel of communication to open-up between our ethnic minority community and the organisations of Torbay.

Key recommendations in the report:

Recommendations for Torbay Council

  • Torbay Council needs to do more to recruit and retain an ethnically diverse workforce and work with political parties to encourage ethnic minority candidates to stand for election as councillors.
  • Torbay Council needs to do more to address racism that exists in our community by being the community leader and role model on this issue.
  • Torbay Council needs to recruit an Equality and Diversity Officer and any recruitment process should have significant input from Torbay’s ethnic minority community.
  • Torbay Council, as the community leader on this issue, needs to develop a partnership of the public bodies in Torbay to address the issue of racism jointly rather than in organisational silos.

Recommendations for other partners

  • As a matter of urgency Torbay’s public organisations need to do more to improve their collection and analysis of data on ethnic minority staff and their ethnic minority customer base and community, to ensure that it is accurate and up to date and is used to improve the services they offer to staff and the wider community.
  • Torbay’s public organisations need to do more to celebrate Torbay’s cultural diversity by holding a programme of events to bring our community together.
  • Torbay’s public organisations need to do more to engage and build trust and confidence with the ethnic minority community in Torbay.

Other recommendations for both the Council and other partners include more cultural diversity training; a ‘reverse’ mentoring scheme where ethnic minority staff and community representatives mentor senior leaders on issues facing the ethnic minority community; public organisations in Torbay should all work together at least every three years to review the issue of racism in Torbay and its impact, in a similar way to this review panel has worked.

In addition there are specific recommendations in the report for local NHS and police.

Torbay Council’s Cabinet will consider the report and recommendations at its meeting on 30 August and there will then be a review after six months to establish what progress has been made and what still needs to take place.

You can read the full report and recommendations here