From April 2000 councils need to provide information on performance indicators such as recording the number of racist incidents per 100,000 citizens.
A new web site, RaceActionNet informs councils and their partners of leading methods to deal with the problem. Developed by social researchers Lemos & Crane, RaceActionNet presents findings from the largest ever survey of action taken against racial harassment.
Lead practitioners and policy makers from council housing and community safety departments were interviewed along with representatives from the police, social landlords and specialist and voluntary agencies in 67 council areas across the UK.
RaceActionNet gives users access to contact details of those interviewed and descriptions of the action taken in their area. It provides legal guidance, performance standards and other materials to update policies and procedures to reflect best practice.
And there are case studies for councils such as Ipswich BC, Leeds City Council, Reading BC and Waltham Forest LBC. A discussion forum enables users to share ideas and innovative practice and to discuss emerging problems.
Funding from government departments and agencies including the DETR means RaceActionNet is free though password-protected throughout 2001 for councils and other organisations with a public responsibility for dealing with racist incidents.
Housing minister Nick Raynsford MP has emphasised his department's support:
'RaceActionNet is a unique on-line venture that will give landlords access to the most up to date best practice, based on real practical experience . . . I urge landlords to take full advantage of this opportunity.'
Councils can register to receive organisation-level passwords by visiting www.raceactionnet.co.uk.
-Carwyn Gravell, researcher, Lemos & Crane.