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Lambeth LBC has admitted it is institutionally racist in a report endorsed by its cabinet. ...
Lambeth LBC has admitted it is institutionally racist in a report endorsed by its cabinet.

The report, Value for all, found black and ethnic minority residents had an extremely low opinion of the council. They criticised all services, but especially errors in housing benefit, inadequate housing repairs, underperforming schools and cuts to youth and community based social services.

The report prepared by senior officers, said: 'Residents experience very poor treatment in their interactions with the council - missed and failed appointments, lost records, staff absence and changes and dismissive attitudes. The perception is of being ignored, dismissed and discounted. Language barriers exacerbate this.

'These experiences are 'explained' by residents by reference to their race or ethnic origin. It can be summed up as a feeling that 'it happened to me like that because I am black, or because I do not speak good English'. There are also direct experiences of racist treatment and attitudes.'

Residents felt Lambeth offered them no opportunity to improve their lives, either through better housing, education or a 'trouble-free environment'.

A failure to collect and monitor data on the way different groups experience services means Lambeth 'cannot claim to counter these perceptions or tackle institutional racism', the report said.

Based on focus groups and talks with staff and residents, the council was due to consider it this week.

Recommendations include:

- Adoption of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry's victim-centred definition of a racial incident, and its definition of institutional racism

- A commitment to the Commission for Racial Equality standard

- Integration of race equality into corporate priorities such as democracy and best value

- Implementation of race equality through strategic management tools such as performance indicators

- Community leadership - the council should advocate on behalf of black and ethnic minority residents.

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