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Trevor's Rotten Empire

Exclusive by Lester Holloway
12/9/2006

NEWLY-APPOINTED head of Britain's new super-equalities body Trevor Phillips will leave the CRE in a shambles, according to a new report.

cap
Trevor Phillips proudly shows off his Order of the British Empire, awarded by the Queen in 1999.

Last week Phillips was formerly appointed as chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) last week, as we exclusively revealed the week before on Blink.

Today we can expose the mess he will leave behind in the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).

A new hard-hitting 140-page dossier shows the full shocking extent to which Phillips has cut back investigations into racism in the private sector.

The CRE slashed the number of probes into advertising campaigns despite record complaints from the public about billboard ads perpetrating stereotypes.

stewardship

It has also failed to use its unique powers to probe companies accused of discriminating against black staff. The revelations look set to increase criticism of Phillips' CRE reign.

Shami
Shami Chakrabarti: Strong on equality, independent, and rejected by government for CEHR post.

Phillips has already been under fire for dramatically cutting back the number of legal cases it fights on behalf of victims of racism.

The report, called 'Teeth and their use', by the Public Interest Research Unit (PIRU) concluded that Phillips' “personal” attacks on multiculturalism had also damaged the CRE.

Simon Woolley, head of Operation Black Vote, said: 'This a devastating report for the new chair of the CEHR Trevor Phillips.

'It highlights what many have suspected for a long time: That under Phillips' stewardship the law enforcement powers have rarely been used, instead he has used it as a platform to articulate erroneous views such as 'sleep walking into segregation, or cul-de-sac debates about the meaning of multiculturalism.

reduced

'This at a time when public bodies and private companies are racially discriminating against many thousands of Black people up and down the country on a daily basis.'

 - quote - It highlights what many have known for a long time: That under Phillips' stewardship the law enforcement powers have rarely been used  - unquote -
Simon Woolley

Since 2003, when Phillips was appointed as chairman of the £20m a year institution, the CRE has reduced the number of formal investigations against private companies.

Despite having powers under the 1976 Race Relations Act, the CRE has overseen a staggering 800% reduction in the numbers of formal investigations being completed compared to the 1980s, according to the PRIU.

Blink has discovered the CRE is also failing to investigate government departments who are flouting the 2000 Race Relations (Amendment) Act.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is one of several whitehall departments who have avoided CRE action to force them to comply with the law.

The CRE has even neglected to send out a copy of a new employment Code of Practice to industry which came into force in April this year. The CRE have publicised the code on their website but have not mailed it out to business.

dictating

Campaigners say the majority of employers surveyed were unaware of the new code. The CRE have responsibility for enforcing the code.

In seperate developments Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly has ordered Phillips to make sure government departments set the CEHR's agenda.

A letter to Phillips from Kelly, seen by Blink, says: “Government departments, particularly the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Constitutional Affairs, should also have an important role to play in shaping the vision and priorities of the new Commission.”

Kelly also tells Phillips of the “critical importance” that his Equalities Review reports by the end of this year. Kelly notes that Phillips has agreed to resign as CRE chairman “at an early date” in order to concentrate on building the CEHR.

Earlier this month we revealed the government had decided to cut short CRE's life. It was due to run until 2009 in a deal struck by Phillips when he opposed the CEHR's creation.

boycott

We also told how the government is planning to give the new single equalities body £13m less than originally planned.

Phillips will have an annual budget of £57m, not £70m as ministers had previously promised. The CRE's grant will also be chopped by £6m for the final year of its life.

Phillips' reply to Kelly welcomed his appointment and notes that leading the CEHR will be “challenging.” He pledges that the Equalities Review will deliver a report which “properly balances the rights of the individual with the needs of the whole community.”

Phillips makes only passing reference to the fact that “not all kinds of disadvantage and inequality are alike” but this will disappoint equalities experts who were hoping the CEHR will set up committees for each of the seven areas covered by the new commission.

Anti-racist activists are furious that the government has created a disability committee and a guaranteed seat on the CEHR board, but has made no provision for race. If no further assurances are forthcoming the prospect of a Black boycott is likely to become a reality.

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Resources:

Teeth and their use

Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: One year On

The Zahid Mubarek Inquiry

pdf Dept. for Communities & Local Government Citizenship Survey

Responses to the Equalities Review Interim Report

The 1990 Trust Response to The Equalities Review Interim Report

Equalities Review Interim Report Briefing – Addressing Race Equality

pdf Our Rights, Our Future

pdf Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: The Government's race strategy

CRE response to DTI Statement on Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Equality and Diversity Forum welcomes the progress on a Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Summary of Changes to the CEHR

The 1990 Trust’s response to the CEHR White Paper

pdf Delivering equality and human rights for black and minority ethnic communities

Flush the academic racism in Blunkett’s office down the pan

Jacqui Smith answers questions on the Single Equalities Body

How to Contact your MP

Links:

Race and Faith and Communities

Election Memory

Catalyst Magazine

UNITE TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS: sign the statement against the erosion of civil liberties and human rights by new anti-terrorism proposals A Black Manifesto No 2 ID FREE FAROUQ PDP ASSOCIATES Power to the People

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