Brighton & Hove’s first Anti-Racism Strategy agreed

Brighton & Hove’s first Anti-Racism Strategy was agreed by councillors at the Tourism, Equality, Communities & Culture Committee on 9 March.

The development of the strategy builds on the council’s 2020 pledge to become an anti-racist city. Part of that pledge was to set out the council’s long-term commitment to change.

The implementation of the 5 year strategy will be a critical step in cementing anti-racism principles into how the council works, as a service provider and an employer.

Developed in collaboration with Black and Racially Minoritised community groups, staff members, local residents and anti-racism organisations, the strategy provides a roadmap for change – setting out the work the council will do to ensure Black and Racially Minoritised people have equal opportunities, voice and access to services. 

We’re proud and grateful to be working alongside residents and organisations who have pioneered anti-racism work in the city for many years. We are committed to ongoing dialogue with communities and to being held to account for our actions. 

This work is ongoing, by its nature. Not enough has been done to positively impact the lived experiences of Black and Racially Minoritised people in the city.

Our vision is for the city and the council to be a beacon of change to residents, organisations and local authorities nationwide.

Setting our anti-racism approach

The strategy acknowledges that our pledge to become anti-racist was catalysed by a severe example of anti-Black racism, in the murder of George Floyd and the local and national Black Lives Matter protests that followed.

The council recognises a generic one size fits all approach to anti-racism is coarse, ineffective and undermines our pledge.

Racism manifests and is experienced in many ways across different Black and Racially Minoritised communities, with faith, heritage, appearance, accent, gender, ability and sexuality playing a part in communities' experience of racial discrimination, harassment, and prejudice.

Our actions, informed by insights from communities combined with data, will focus on communities experiencing some of the most severe effects of racism.

We will also be considering the impact of racism on disabled, queer, and trans and non-binary people. As we learn more about how racism affects people differently because of their unique set of characteristics, we are committed to adapting our approach.

The strategy set out 3 key areas the council will focus on key over the next 5 years:

  • Community Engagement - Increase and improve communication and engagement with Black and Racially Minoritised residents, service users, customers and tenants.
  • Data – Improve the collection, analysis, and application of qualitative, quantitative, and intersectional data regarding Black & Racially Minoritised residents.
  • Policy and procedure – Identify, review and co-produce key policies, plans, strategies and work to put anti-racism principles and better understand the impact for Black and Racially Minoritised people.

Our work so far

Over the past few years, we’ve taken a number of steps in support of our work to become an anti-racist council. Some of the key areas include:

  • A third year of funding specifically to provide grants to ‘Black and Minority Ethnic’ community and voluntary groups for projects that improve the well-being of Black and Racially Minoritised residents and promote fairness.
  • Funding and working in partnership with the Racial Harassment Forum, Possability People and the Rainbow Hub to launch ‘Third Party Reporting Centres’ to offer the option of reporting racism and hate crimes through a community organisation without police or council involvement.
  • Developing a comprehensive Anti-Racism Education Strategy to address the need for anti-racist practice in education in Brighton & Hove.
  • Appointed an Anti-Racist Education Adviser, who has set up a team of lead teachers to deliver the Anti-Racist Education Strategy.
  • Appointed a Human Resources Diversity recruitment consultant to support managers in addressing disproportionate outcomes for Black and Racially Minoritised applicants in the council’s recruitment process.
  • Introduced mandatory fair and inclusive training as part of the induction for all new staff, alongside a range of online training and e-learning in relation to anti-racism.
  • Appointed an Anti-Racist Lead Practitioner in social care to support anti-racist best practice.
  • Investing in current 'BME' talent in the workforce with a Diverse Talent Programme providing mentorship, shadowing opportunities and coaching to a group of Black and Racially Minoritised staff to support career progression.

Standing up for equality

Asmat Roe, a member of the Anti-Racism Community Advisory Group, said: “It is an impressive strategy – well thought out, realistic and achievable which could lead to the culture change needed for equality.

“Its success will depend on councillors and council staff, who will implement it to bring about the change. 

“Both come and go and any lack of commitment will result in the failure of the strategy. The appropriate anti-racist training for council staff is absolutely crucial and it’s great to see the council address this in the strategy.

“I am happy to be part of the Anti-Racism Community Advisory Group, which will be providing frank and honest feedback to the council over the 5 year period of the strategy.

“I thank Brighton & Hove councillors for standing up for equality, justice and fairness and providing resources to fulfil the pledge. I am optimistic, hopeful and looking forward to an excellent progress being made.”

Becoming an anti-racist council

Councillor Steph Powell, the Co-chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee, said: “All lives cannot matter until Black and Racially Minoritised lives matter equally.

"With this strategy, we are actioning our commitment to making this a reality in our council and our city.

“We pledged to become an anti-racist council, to do everything in our power to tackle racism and racial inequality in the city and in the council, as an employer and a public service.

“In our society, white people have greater access to power, finances and support; nothing but consistent, proactive anti-racism will turn the tide.

“There’s a long way to go but the development of this anti-racism strategy is a vital and concrete step in that direction.

“Thanks to the leadership of Black and Racially Minoritised communities, and the input of so many people and organisations, this strategy offers a path forward in our continual improvement, to particularly shine a light on our own practices and set the way forward to addressing our shortcomings.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has played a part in developing the strategy over the last few years, and in particular the members of Community Advisory Group, who have been, and who continue to be, vital in leading the council’s efforts in this work.”

Find out more

The strategy will be discussed at the Policy & Resources Committee on 16 March for final approval.

The language we use

There is a lot of discussion about terminology regarding racism and anti-racism.

The council works with and listens to the opinions of our staff, residents and community groups to understand the language to use when talking about ethnicity, culture, faith and national identity. We also look to changes nationally and internationally.

Terminology and language is dynamic and continuously evolving. We are committed to continuing our learning and evolving as language changes over time.

Through the discussions and conversation about culture and language around race, racism and identity through the development of the Anti-Racism Strategy, we aim to use specific ethnicity descriptions and terminology to speak to specific lived experiences.

Where this is not possible, we will use the terms ‘Black and Racially Minoritised’ and ‘people who experience racism’ to refer to people who do not identify as white British. We use ‘Racially Minoritised’ to recognise that people are not minorities by identity, but have been minoritised by racist structures, systems, and societies.

However, we understand that views differ and not all people will feel comfortable with the same language. We recognise the right to self-identification.