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On 14 June 2020, in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, the Prime Minister indicated the Government would set up a commission to investigate “all aspects of inequality”. On 16 July 2020 the Prime Minister formally established the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

This briefing discusses the work and structure of the Commission. It provides statistics on race and ethnic disparities in various areas of life, including education, health, policing & criminal justice, employment, housing and public life. It also summarises previous major reviews into race and ethic disparities.

What areas will the Commission consider?

The Commission’s terms of reference state it will “review inequality in the UK, focusing on areas including poverty, education, employment, health and the criminal justice system”.

On 14 September 2020 the Commission published a more detailed outline of the areas it will consider:

  • Education
    • Early years family structures: including family services and attitudes towards education.
    • Disparities in educational attainment and exclusions.
    • Exploring success factors for improving educational outcomes.
    • Considering how the curriculum could highlight the contributions of the different communities and regions of the UK.
  • Health
    • NHS workforce diversity and career progression.
    • Disparities in health outcomes.
  • Crime and policing
    • Disparities in stop and search.
    • Building trust between communities and police force areas.
    • Improving police workforce diversity, retention and career progression.
    • An assessment of cautions and out of court disposals.
    • Police misconduct.
  • Employment and enterprise
    • Opportunities for young people (with a focus on 16-24-year olds).
    • Barriers to entry and routes to progression.
    • The role of artificial intelligence in race disparity.
    • Access to capital and other success factors for entrepreneurs.
    • Public sector procurement.

When will the Commission report?

It is expected to report by the end of 2020. In a Written Statement to Parliament on 16 July 2020, the Prime Minister said the Commission “will submit their report by the end of the year”. The Commission’s terms of reference state the Commission should “aim to submit its findings to the Prime Minister by the end of the year.”

Who are the commissioners?

There are ten commissioners. Dr Tony Sewell CBE, an education consultant, will chair the Commission. Dr Sewell was previously appointed by Boris Johnson (then Mayor of London) to chair an inquiry examining primary and secondary education in London.

The nine other commissioners are drawn from various fields including science, education, broadcasting, economics, medicine, policing and community organising. A full list of commissioners is available here.

What other reviews have there been?

Some commentators reacted to the announcement of the Commission by highlighting that there have been previous reviews of racial inequality, with their recommendations in various states of implementation. This briefing discusses the following reviews, many of which we know the Commission will also consider:

Further reading from the Commons Library


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