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speech to Board of East of England Development Agency and guests at Peterborough in July 08 on benefits of diversity and access to services for BME groups


  • 1. Business cases for diversity and active inclusion Peter Ramsden Frez Ltd
  • 2. BME access to skills, employment and enterprise services in the East of England
    • The first ever review of BME access to skills, employment and enterprise services
  • 3. Different arguments
    • Business case
    • Social justice and equality
    • Social cohesion
    • Economic case
  • 4. Untapped talent and policy failure
    • Hidden pool of potential talent in a growing BME population at a time of demographic change and loss of skilled migrants
    • BME groups are more likely to be unemployed and inactive and face an ethnic penalty in employment
      • Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Luton have a 27% employment rate and very low self employment rates
      • Men are far more likely to be self employed than women
    • Qualifications gap has been closed in 2 nd generation but
    • BME groups are still less likely to enter training and apprenticeships and are also more likely to require basic skills training
  • 5. Barriers
    • language difficulties
    • discrimination
    • service provider attitudes
    • Poor services (skills, employment, enterprise) are rated lower for BME groups than for the general population in
    • Even poorer services for BME women and youth
    • Ethnic penalty has both a supply and a demand dimension
  • 6. Views from face workers
    • There is paper commitment to equality but little commitment in-practice
    • Business Link, LSCs and Jobcentre Plus all have strategies that have had varying success at outreach
    • Networks were extremely important for reaching into BME communities
    • Equality impact assessments have been useful
    • BME groups lack knowledge about how skills, enterprise and employment procedures work
  • 7. Views from focus groups
    • Services are too disjointed
    • Opportunities are not advertised adequately.
    • Friendliness of staff is very important
    • There is a lack of information how to access good mentoring or coaching
    • community based learning is very important BME
    • Discrimination and stereotypes are everywhere in the agencies
    • More resources for businesses are needed
    • More accredited courses are required
  • 8. Test your services with key groups
    • COPIE assessment tool for measuring inclusive business support
      • Analyses the system using a 360 degree view
      • Perspectives from: women, BME, migrants, young, old, disabled and social enterprise
      • Quick access to evidence on policy success and failure
  • 9. Advisers view of the system
  • 10. Entrepreneurs view of the system
  • 11.
    • 37,196 overseas nationals applied for NINos between Feb and Dec 2006
    • Peterborough has the largest concentration of migrants
    • There is a high correlation between areas of financial exclusion, rented accommodation and new migrants
    Financial exclusion and migrant populations
  • 12.
  • 13. Good practices in the region
    • Luton Carnival
    • Bedford Development Agency business network
    • Business Networking Clubs
    • Bedford Diversity Network
    • Exemplas working with Hertfordshire Asian businesses
    • New Link Partnership Enterprise (Peterborough): Share and Succeed
    • Great Yarmouth College in the Community
  • 14. Ways forward
    • There are no simplified standard solutions, complex problems require nuanced solutions a braided personalised approach
    • Dont assume that existing agencies are reaching into communities - Test their services with key target groups
    • Use your power through commissioning, encouraging supplier diversity
    • Work on strengthening BME enterprise - these companies employ more BME people and BME associations that have reach
    • Promote the benefits of diversity to other parts of the private sector and through the Local Area Agreements
    • Get better at sharing and using good practice - communities of practice model
  • 15. Thank you [email_address]
  • 16.
    • Table 4 What are the main opportunities and challenges in influencing the supplier diversity of public and private sector procurement? How can EEDA do more to influence supplier diversity?
    • Table 3 How can we encourage a greater diversity of suitable candidates to non-executive board positions? What can be done to develop the capacity of those who have the potential and interest to become board members in the future?
    • Table 5 Is there a need for specialist business support specifically aimed at BME, disabled and women-owned businesses, or should mainstream support address this by changing to meet the needs of its increasingly diverse clientele?
    • Table 1 Can additional assistance be provided to help BME-owned businesses in the region become more successful in securing finance? Do the same considerations apply to women-owned or disabled-owned businesses?
    • Table 2 Is EEDA and its main delivery agents (e.g. Business Link East, East of England Tourism, East of England International etc.) best placed to promote the business case for equality and diversity to businesses in the region?