|Tenants Best Practice - Promoting Inclusion|
Promoting Inclusion of Minority Ethnic Communities:
A Best Practice and Training Guide for Scottish Tenants' Groups
· How to use the Guide
· Legal responsibilities of tenants' groups
· Pointers for promoting Inclusion
· Best Practice Examples
· Training and Preparation
· Planning and Implementation
· Appendix 1: Best practice policies
· Appendix 2: Useful organisations and contacts
· Appendix 3: Training materials
Appendix 4: Bibliography
Tenants' associations have much to gain from properly representing the communities they aim to serve. By representing the diversity of Scottish tenants and their views, tenants groups can better articulate the diverse views and concerns of all the tenants in their area, including people from minority ethnic and refugee communities. Such diversity of representation will enable tenants groups to speak with greater influence to local authorities, housing providers and others.
Minority ethnic tenants share all the concerns that have traditionally been highlighted by tenants groups, for example, standards of repairs, the desire for clean common areas, stock transfer issues and crime. But for many minority ethnic tenants, there maybe other problems that must be addressed: for example, isolation from their communities, victimisation, racial harassment, institutionalised racism and problems of overcrowding because of insufficient larger housing.
To enable better links between tenants organisations and minority ethnic communities and their organisations, Positive Action in Housing set up the Racial Equality for Tenants Organisations project. The project was funded by the Scottish Executive between 1999 and 2002 to develop this guide and provide a free race equality training programme for the Scottish Tenants' movement.
I am grateful to the following for their input and support during the formation of the guide:
Shahid Ali, Positive Action in
I would also like to acknowledge the Commission for Racial Equality's "10 steps towards racial equality" as a starting point for the twelve "Pointers for Promoting Inclusion", and the Kirklees Federation of Tenants and Residents Association for providing inspiration, and a basic structure for the "Model" equality policy. The pan European "Altering Attitudes" project, of which Positive Action in Housing is member organisation, provided the basis of the "Equality Training Cycle" and of the "Attitudes Continuum" exercise.
Training & Development Officer
Positive Action in Housing
How to Use the Guide
This guide aims to provide a resource for groups who want to increase the involvement of people from minority ethnic communities within tenants organisations. It also provides a contact list of organisations that can help tenants groups increase minority ethnic participation.
Legal responsibilities are listed first to provide a base line. Pointers for promotion are next to give a general idea of kind of actions recommended by the Commission of Racial Equality, and Positive Action in Housing. Best practice examples follow to let you see how the pointers relate to actual practice. The Training and preparation section gives advice on assessing what needs to be done in your particular situation to take things forward: Training for your members is recommended as a starting point, before going on to plan your particular strategies and decide on tactics. A section on Planning and Implementation is included to help tie everything together. Finally, the Appendices contain a list of resources that may help you at any point during the process.
Legal Responsibilities of Tenants' Groups
Race Relations Act (1976)
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
The Race Relations Act 1976, as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origin. The amended Act also imposes general duties on many public authorities to promote racial equality. It applies to:
It is also unlawful for public bodies to discriminate while carrying out any of their functions.
(i) outlaws race discrimination (direct, indirect and victimisation) in public authority functions not covered by the original Race Relations Act 1976;
(ii) defines "public authority" widely for the purpose of outlawing race discrimination, so that it includes public functions carried out by private sector organisations and has only limited exemptions;
(iii) places a general duty on specified public authorities to promote race equality;
(iv) empowers the home secretary to extend the list of public bodies in the act that are subject to the general duty to promote race equality to include other bodies exercising public functions;
(v) empowers Scottish ministers to impose specific duties on public bodies which are subject to the general duty to promote race equality to ensure their better performance of the general duty;
(vi) gives the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) powers to enforce specific duties imposed on public authorities;
(vii) gives the CRE powers to issue codes of practice to provide practical guidance to public bodies on how to fulfil their general and specific duties to promote race equality;
Racist incidents ranging from harassment and abuse to physical violence are offences under the criminal law. Inciting racial hatred is also a criminal offence. Publishing and disseminating materials such as leaflets and newspapers that are likely to incite racial hatred is also a criminal offence. If anyone has a complaint with respect to any of these criminal matters they should be reported to the police.
For further information, click on the logo below:
The Sex Discrimination Act and Equal Pay Act
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) and Equal Pay Act 1970 (EPA) apply in Scotland.
The Equal Pay Act 1970 makes it unlawful to offer different pay and conditions where women and men are doing the same or like work or rated as equivalent in the same employment. The Act does not permit claims for equal pay with other people of the same sex.
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 applies to both males and females and makes sex discrimination unlawful in:
It is also unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of being married.
Sexual harassment, though not mentioned in the SDA, is unlawful, that is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of that person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Discrimination against pregnant women , though not mentioned in the SDA, is unlawful because pregnancy is regarded as direct sex discrimination. Dismissing a woman because she is pregnant is also unfair dismissal under the Employment Relations Act.
The Equal Opportunities Commission was established under the SDA. This statutory, independent body works towards eliminating discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between the sexes. It reviews the working of the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts. It is the main source for providing gender related information and advice to the general public and business.
For more information, click on the logo below:
Disability Discrimination Act
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was passed in 1995 to introduce new measures aimed at ending the discrimination which many disabled people face. It protects disabled people in the areas of:
Some of these measures became law for employers in December 1996. Others will be introduced over time.
For service providers (e.g. businesses and organisations):
In addition, the DDA allows the Government to set minimum standards to assist disabled people to use public transport easily.
For more information, click on the logo below:
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and Registered Tenants Organisations
This Act introduces a right to consultation for tenants both individually and collectively, and also contains an overarching statement about the importance of race equality.
These two themes come together in the plans for Registered Tenants Organisations (RTO): Such organisations will have to be registered by landlords, following guidance laid down by the Act.
Organisations who do not register will have no right to access resources made available to landlords from the Scottish Executive.
The provisions of the Act with regard to tenant participation will come into effect from April to September 2002, so the contents of this guide should help you to make sure your tenants group takes account of race and other equality issues.
Pointers for Promoting Inclusion
TAP INTO EXISTING NETWORKS
There are a vast range of minority ethnic organisations in Scotland: Make contact with organisations you think might be able to help and enter into dialogue with them. The Scottish minority ethnic Directory lists around 400 minority ethnic and refugee contacts across Scotland (see appendix 3). Take a look at the Directory and establish new contacts with groups in your area to find out how to tap in directly to the housing concerns of minority ethnic tenants.
HELP CREATE NEW NETWORKS
In general, most tenants, whatever their ethnic background, are NOT involved in formal networks or groups so it is a good idea to try and work with individuals on a one to one basis and highlight the work of your tenants group.
DEMONSTRATE YOUR COMMITMENT
Your policies should make clear that anyone can become a member of the association, whatever their colour, ethnic or national origin, sex, age, religion, or sexual orientation and that the association will do its best to represent the views, interests and concerns of all tenants. Create an action plan to support the policy.
NEW TENANTS AND NEIGHBOURS
Make an effort to tell new tenants about your tenants group, and how to join, as soon as possible. Ask your local council or housing provider to pass on a letter to new tenants explaining what your organisation does and inviting them to get in touch. The authority may do this, and pay for translation, under its duties in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. A Housing Association might be able to offer help under the terms of the Housing (Scotland) 2001 Act relating to tenant participation.
CAMPAIGNS, PUBLICITY AND EVENTS
Make sure that your publicity material or newsletters that you produce address issues affecting the whole community, including minority ethnic tenants. When people, especially from disenfranchised and historically discriminated groups see that you are serious about addressing the problems that may affect them and their families, they are more likely to get involved in supporting your work and getting involved.
CONDUCT AT MEETINGS
Chairpersons should take a firm stand against racist or other discriminatory attitudes or comments. People will stop attending if they think they are going to be insulted, threatened, ignored or marginalised. Everyone should get a chance to speak without having to force their way onto the floor (encourage "speaking through the chair").
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
Set specific achievable targets (NOT quotas) for your tenants groups to find out how well you are doing to increase minority ethnic involvement.
ELECTIONS AND DELEGATIONS
The association should offer everyone, including minority ethnic members, the opportunity to take a full part in all its work - to stand for election to committees, or volunteer to be part of a delegation to the landlord or to a conference.
The association should take a firm stance against all forms of racial harassment, including racist taunts, abuse, threats, graffiti or physical attacks against tenants because of their race, colour, or ethnic origin. It is best to work with the landlord and the local police to root out racist activity in your community, whether it is verbal, physical racist abuse or more organised, in the form of distribution of racist leaflets. Many police forces are supportive of "third party reporting": If a victim is too frightened to go to the police, someone else can report.
TRANSLATIONS OF LEAFLETS
Ask your landlord to help you with the cost of translating newsletters and other publicity material into the main languages used by the association's tenants.
Make sure that everyone knows about all the social or welfare activities that your association runs. Find out what sorts of activities or services minority ethnic tenants want too.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
Your landlord should be able to arrange training under the provisions of the new Housing (Scotland) 2001 Act, (from April 2002) so that members of your groups can learn more about race awareness and cultural diversity. Training can also suggest ways in which your group can combat the discrimination that people from ethnic minorities often meet with in Britain.
Best Practice Examples
The examples below have produced practical results for the tenants groups concerned. All the examples of good practice share a common element: They are pro-active and creative, and are based on some of the pointers listed earlier. Use these ideas as inspiration and don't be scared to try out ideas of your own!
Mitchellhill Tenants Association and Fountainwell Tenant's Association (Glasgow)
Both operate in areas where asylum seekers were sent as part of the government's dispersal scheme. Despite starting out from a position where consultation with the local community was non-existent, both organisations have publicly highlighted the harassment of refugee communities and the need for resources for the whole community to address poverty, poor local amenities, high rates of crime and unemployment.
As a result, these groups have managed to attract and retain management committee members from minority ethnic and refugee communities. Their progress to date can be attributed to their willingness to talk to others, find out what help is available and link up with voluntary and statutory agencies in the voluntary and statutory sectors to bring about positive benefits for their communities.
Pilton Partnership (Edinburgh)
Pilton Partnership (Edinburgh) is a community based organisation which has taken a lead in providing Racism Awareness and Anti-Racist Training for a wide section of the community: People from various organisations and importantly, people who are not members of any organisations have been able to attend. Networking with a local Minority Ethnic project has allowed different groups of people to get together to promote understanding between communities.
For more information, click on the logo below:
Kirklees Federation of Tenants' and Residents' Associations (Huddersfield)
Kirklees Federation of Tenants' and Residents' Associations (Huddersfield) has won particular praise. They did outreach work and follow up using a similar questionnaire to the one in appendix three to ask people what they felt about their association, and, crucially, acted on the results: for example, they started women's meetings because a need for these was indicated up the survey results, and this led to more participation by minority ethnic women.
For more information, click on the logo below:
Training and Preparation
An essential step in becoming more inclusive is gaining knowledge and insights about exclusion and discrimination and ways of tackling it by get appropriate training. Training is only part of the answer, and there is no point in taking part if lessons learned are not put to practical use.
What content should training have?
We recommend that any training you commission or receive addresses the four
areas noted below. Discuss this with potential training providers, or a landlord
who is thinking of providing training for you.
The Equality Training Cycle
Training providers often talk about "Training needs assessments", IE finding out what training would be best for your organisation by seeing what areas you are strong or weak in, what training may have been done before, and your awareness of certain issues EG racial harassment.
After taking part in training try to apply what you have learned to the workings of your organisation: This is best done if going to training is not left to just one or two people from the Association, but includes a good number of people, this way there will be a better base from which to build.
If people have not been on equality training before, it is probably better to send them than someone who has been to past sessions if numbers are limited. It is worth remember that policy and practice on equality changes and evolves over time, just like Local Authority and Government rules and regulations, so do not assume that because one person attend an equal opportunities course two years ago, that there is nothing more to learn.
In the past some equality training has been criticised for being "preachy" or "politically correct" and this has been seen and presented as a barrier and sometimes and excuse for not attending training: There is often an assumption that equality training is "all like that": This is a fact that is recognised by many trainers and training organisations today, who now employ a "fix the problem, not the blame" approach.
Some exercises you might like to try for yourselves
Quite often, when accessing a training need, the organisation fails to recognise it has a problem.
A fairly typical scenario is that of the "Open door" organisation: Many organisations in the voluntary, private and public sectors, housing providers and tenants groups say that their doors are open to anyone, and if people do not choose to come through, then it is up to them.
In this kind of scenario there is no examination of WHY people from certain groups are not applying for jobs, asking for houses, or trying to take part in a Tenant's Association, just an assumption.
To overcome the barrier you might want try the "Inclusion and Exclusion quiz" (see Appendix 3.1), as a way of building capacity to break through assumptions.
Resources for training should be made available to your group under the New Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 provision on Tenant Consultation.
Remember: A commitment to involving ALL is part of the whole Best Value regime and there is the same commitment when Stock Transfer is planned, or in terms of planning regeneration.
The Attitudes Continuum
helps people explore their attitudes in a group setting (See appendix
3). You might also like to try the Institute of Race Relations
quiz at www.irr.org.uk/quiz/htm .
Following the principles for promoting inclusion, you may want to ask your members to consider this pack at its next meeting, so that everyone gets the chance to comment and learn of its existence.
Having read through the document, and done some sort of self-appraisal of the group, for example, the "Attitudes Continuum" exercise, you could approach other tenant groups about getting training through a Federation, or approach your landlord.
During the planning and implementation process, it is a good idea to make frequent reference to the "Pointers" in section 4, and to the best practices examples. Echoing what has been said there, get as many people on board as possible. Try as much as possible to adopt an attitude of "fix the problem not the blame" both internal and externally, as this tends to have very practical benefits, for example, it helps avoid "personality clashes".
One of the considerations during planning will be the number of minority ethnic people in your area: A common problem is that if this is a "small" number, such as 1.6% (which is the average across Scotland, although as high as 60% in some urban neighbourhoods). There can be a tendency for people to argue that it is not worth making the effort. It should be pointed out, however, that few would make this argument in respect of other "small" groups of people at risk of discrimination and exclusion, for example, wheelchair users. If there is just one or no minority ethnic tenant or resident in the area, you should still make appropriate and realistic plans, and of course people may move into the area in the future.
Networking is important, find out who is already doing work that might support yours and contact them. This way you set up potential support network for yourselves at the outset and you will be seen to be taking account and working co-operatively with others.
Creating an appropriate and realistic plan will help you generates as much consensus as possible without sacrificing your aims and objectives. A model you may want to use when you have done this, is that of setting "SMART" objectives:
If you are having difficulties
meeting your objectives, do not be afraid to admit this to yourselves and
others, and seek discussion and help as soon as possible: Adopting an open and
honest attitude like this, in itself tends to promote an inclusive atmosphere
and encourages dialogue. Do not forget that you should be able to access help
from the organisations listed in appendix 2.
Best practice policies
In the real world it is
that that you will be in the situation of drafting the kind of document
below entirely on your own, it should and probably will be done in
and partnership with a tenants' federation and or landlord/local
authority. It is provided as guide to some of the things that should be
to save time and energy when writing and reviewing policies.
We want to be able to speak for as many people as possible. We want people from different backgrounds and with different experiences to be part of our organisation. This is why we strive to make our Tenant Association a place where everyone can feel welcome and safe.
We will make active efforts to make sure everybody who wants to get involved, can get involved by:
Publicising all meetings in a variety of appropriate ways, and in good time.
Making sure publicity is put out where people can see or hear it and that it comes in a language they can understand.
Choosing meeting places carefully so that as many people as possible can get in and feel comfortable and safe to go there.
Choosing dates that do not clash with religious days, and sticking to times so that people who have made an effort to come along get a chance to participate
Helping people to overcome obstacles such as childcare, transport , etc.
Offering to provide sign language and community languages interpreters for all meetings.
Acting against all behaviour or language that may upset or insult some people or create an unwelcoming atmosphere.
Improving the atmosphere in your area by speaking up on behalf of the victims of any kind of harassment.
What we see as offensive behaviour and language:
Dealing with offensive behaviour and language:
Model Equal Opportunities Policy Pack
(some suggested contents)
This Pack contains the following:
When you are why you are introducing an Equal Opportunities Policy there are a number of things worth considering:
Black and Minority Ethnic TARAN
England and Wales based BME organisation involved in promoting and supporting diverse community/tenants participation.
BME Taran UK
Tel:0121 557 1311
Help in cases of racial harassment, discrimination and queries about policy and , religious holidays:
Your Local Council, Housing Provider, Police, Local Racial Equality Council
Positive Action in Housing
98 West George Street
Glasgow G2 1PJ
Tel: 0141 353 2220
Fax: 0141 353 3882
West of Scotland Association for
the Deaf or
Your local council's Social Services Department and any Local group for people with hearing disabilities may be able to help, your local Citizen's Advice Bureau keeps a list of local groups of all sorts.
For translation of publicity materials into community languages contact:
Alpha translating and Interpreting Services
Glasgow Interpreting Services
For information about the national Scottish minority ethnic Directory which
lists over 400 organisations, contact Positive Action in Housing, as detailed at
the head of the this page
Diversity Awareness Quiz: Questions
1. What is the approximate percentage of black and minority ethnic people in Scotland as a proportion of the total population?
0.5% 1.5% 5.5% 12.5% 20%
2. In what year was the first black Councillor elected to office in Scotland?
1936 1950 1970 1997
3. In 1996, the unemployment rate for white people in Britain was 8%, what was the rate for people from minority ethnic backgrounds?
8% 18% 25% 50%
4. The population of Greater London is larger than that of Scotland.
5 In Scotland, approximately the same proportion of the white and minority ethnic population serve as volunteers.
7. The average Britain only spends 30% of their life in a "nuclear" family IE mother, father, children.
8. Inequality of disposable income increased in Britain in the late 1990s
9. Women's average full time working wage in Britain is:
MORE THAN MEN'S THE SAME LESS
10. Discrimination passed on a person's sexuality, is outlawed by the Sex Discrimination Act
Diversity Awareness Quiz: Answers
Aims To help tenants identify and explore their own attitudes and values about interacting in, and with diverse groups.
To encourage tenants to respect other people's attitudes, cultures, and sexuality even if these are different from one's own.
What You Will Need
1. Explain that the purpose of this exercise is to look at our attitudes about minority ethnic involvement. As such, there are no wrong or right answers.
2. Ask the tenants to imagine a line running down the middle of the circle. At one end of the line is-""TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE"' and at the other is "'TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE".
3. Explain that you have cards that describe certain situations and behaviours. The tenants will be asked to place the cards somewhere on the line depending on whether they think the opinion or decision given at the end of the situation (given in bold print) is more or less unacceptable or acceptable.
4. Explain that the rule for this exercise is that no one is allowed to speak unless they are holding a card- and they can only talk about the card- not comment on other tenants.
5. The first tenant picks up a card- reads out the situation - and then places it somewhere on the line, explaining why they have put it there.
6. The second tenant can either- pick up a new card, place it on the line and explain why they put it there, or they can move the first card to a different place on the line, explaining why they think it should go there.
7. Continue, with each tenant either picking up a new card or moving one of the existing cards.
8. If any card is moved more than three times then the group is asked to vote on where it should go.
9. Continue until all the cards have been placed on the line and there is group agreement on where they should be placed.
10. Once all the cards are down,
then the group can discuss the exercise.
How did doing the exercise feel? Did it feel embarrassing to tell the rest of the group what you thought? How did you feel when people disagreed with you?
Are there any common reasons for some situations being unacceptable and others acceptable?
For example, does lack of consent make a situation unacceptable?
Does tenants' religion affect their decisions?
Do the tenants think some behaviour is normal and some not?
Do the tenants think that other groups would come up with different decisions? For example, would older people think the same way?
Some tenants might feel very reluctant to do the exercise; it is quite personal. It is probably not a good idea to do this exercise with a new group. You can say that tenants should only pick up a card if they feel comfortable, and they don't have to if they don't want to. Tenants can still benefit by watching the exercise unfold. You might also want to do a warm-up exercise first.
Some tenants may express views that you think are quite insulting or extreme. It is important that tenants feel able to express their own views. You may want to set ground rules first though, for example about not using insulting or offensive language.
Some suggested Cards for Attitudes Continuum Quiz
John, a long serving member of a local tenants association comments before a Federation meeting, that he is unhappy that there are so many "strangers" and "outsiders" moving into the area, and doesn't see why people who have just moved into the area should be able to join tenant's groups right away, and have an equal say. He says he finds it particularly annoying that there are so many English people moving into the area and "taking over": The chair of the Federation hears the remarks, and approaches John, reminding him that the Federation's policy states new members from all backgrounds are welcome: She asks him not to repeat these remarks when the meeting is in session, and reminds him that the Federation has commissioned some diversity training and that she fells he might benefit from.
A tenant's Association decides to start a drive for membership in its area: The committee decides not to specifically target Asylum Seekers housed in the area, because they feel that they won't be there that long, and there would be too many communication difficulties.
Mains Village Community group has never had any contact with the Travellers on the site operated by Local Authority: A new Tenant Participation Officer suggests to the group that they take specific steps to reach out to the residents on the site. The majority feeling expressed by the management committee, is that most of the sites residents are only there part of the year so they are not really part of the community: It is really up to them to make a move if they genuinely want to get involved.
Springfield Local Authority writes to all local voluntary groups saying it is organising a multicultural day across the town. The theme of the day is celebrating diversity: Springfield Quadrant Resident's Association decide not to participate, feeling their area is very much apart from the rest of Springfield, and that the great majority of the people who live in the quadrant (apart from 2 or three two Asian people, who seem to like to keep themselves to themselves anyway) are all the same type of people.
After a long history of Racial Harassment on the biggest Council Estate in Coalville, black tenants form the "Coalville Black Tenant's Action Group" they constitute themselves as a tenant's group according to the Local Authorities rules, and apply for funding. There is already a Tenant's Association on the Estate, "Coalville TA" which complains to the local Councillor that the very idea of a Black tenant's association is racist, and should not be funded by the Council.
Foxhedge council's TPO Maleeha, feels that local tenants groups are not doing enough to encourage younger tenants to get involved. She approaches the local federation and makes the point that young people are making up an increasing proportion of the areas population, and that they really should be included. The Federations overall opinion is that it has been tried before, and that the whole issue should be put on the backburner until after the impending ballot on stock transfer.
N.B. Feel free to make up your own scenarios!
Bibliography and Further Reading
A Report on Black and Minority
Ethnic Participation & Race Equality Training in Scottish Tenants' Groups
Black and Minority Ethnic Housing
Working Together - Involving
Black Tenants in Tenant Participation
Room For All - Tenant'
Associations and Racial Equality
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 September 2010 )|