from black and minority ethnic communities, according to new
government guidance published today.
vulnerable people of black and minority ethnic origin, such as older
people and women fleeing domestic violence.
The guide shows how local authorities and others must get behind the
stereotypes and assess the real needs of black and minority ethnic
communities. The socio-demographic profile of these communities is
changing and we cannot just assume that extended families will look
after the growing number of community elders.
'There is a lack of understanding of the cultural needs of black and
minority ethnic women experiencing domestic violence, including
language difficulties and financial dependence on husbands. Many such
women are unaware of refuges. They may fear racism in mixed refuges,
but this fear is lessened if there are black and minority ethnic
'Knowledgeable, sympathetic carers are needed to ensure pressures
caused by changing family structures, poverty and the need for
information about health and support services are met.
'This is an invaluable guide that will help ensure local authorities
recognise the need for quality services to meet the needs of black
and ethnic minority ethnic communities.'
Black and minority ethnic groups have persistent difficulties
accessing mainstream services. Improving support services for the
most disadvantaged is key to preventing and alleviating major social
problems, including homelessness and domestic violence.
The 'handy guide', written for the DTLR by social researchers, Lemos
and Crane, will be used by local authorities and specialist and
mainstream providers of services to black and minority ethnic
communities. It is the first in a series being produced in
preparation for when the new housing support funding programme,
Supporting People, goes live in April 2003.
Ms Keeble said the handy guide is a progressive tool and constitutes
the first step towards ensuring Supporting People delivers the best
possible support services to black and minority ethnic communities.
The commitment to provide equal access to support services, and to
expand provision where necessary, is part of the government's overall
commitment to improve housing related support for vulnerable people.
1. Key objectives of the Supporting People programme, which the guidance will cover include:
- Collection, mapping and measurement on the needs of BME communities
and existing services to meet those needs;
- Expansion of the range and diversity of services available to BME
people in need of support
- Involvement and consultation of BME users, community groups and
providers in strategic planning, commissioning, and delivery of
- Ensuring fair access for BME communities to housing and support
services provided by mainstream agencies
- Ensuring support services provided by all agencies are culturally
sensitive to the needs of settled BME people and adaptable to the
needs of arriving communities
- Specialist providers to provide services for BME communities if
mainstream services cannot offer equality of access and provide for
- Cross authority and multilateral arrangements to be used where
necessary to commission specialist services for numerically small
- Simple administration and funding arrangements to be used so as not
to disadvantage applications from smaller organisations providing
2. Comprehensive guidance will be rolled out over the next three
years. It will let commissioners and suppliers of services know what
to do by April 2003 when the programme is launched, and thereafter
what more they can do to fulfil their responsibilities and the
programme's potential. Supporting People is key to providing fair and
equitable services for all sections of the community.
3. A new DTLR website is also planned to help local authorities
commission services of demonstrably high quality to BME communities.
It will enable suppliers to market their services to local
authorities throughout the UK and develop their expertise in
continuing to meet BME needs. It is being designed and compiled by
4. The DTLR will assist small specialist providers to develop
strategies, taking account of specific needs of people from BME
communities. It will also raise awareness of support needs and work
with local authorities to identify ways of responding to these needs.
6. Copies of the guide are available here .