After surgery I go to meet the Chair, Director and staff and associates of Haringey Race Equality Council. We start with the issues that are troubling them – mostly around funding, as these days it is hard to get core funding and whilst the local council has given them three-year core funding, the CRE (Commission for Racial Equality) now only funds projects and only for 12 months. This makes it very difficult to plan or to have continuity of project.
Looking at the wider context, there are clearly issues around the voluntary sector as there is now no forum in Haringey for them. This means that – apart from special bi-lateral arrangements – the different groups are all off in their own silos doing good things but with no overarching strategy and little communication.
The Haringey Strategic Partnership – which does bring a whole range of stakeholders and partners together – leaves many many groups untouched by the whole process according to the Haringey Race Equality Council. And there are further issues coming up about the new communities from Eastern Europe and how you bring them into what for the most part in Haringey is pretty good community cohesion. Interesting stuff.
Then I conducted a little instant research into some of the theories I have written into my forthcoming chapter in the Lib Dem book to be published just before our autumn conference, Britain after Blair. If the reaction I got was anything to go by – I have hit nail on head!