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This is a House of Commons Committee report with recommendations to the Government. The Government has two months to respond.
Women and Equalities Committee
Date Published: 05 April 2019
This is the full report, read the report summary.
1. This report explores inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, umbrella terms describing diverse minority groups whose members experience very stark inequalities.
2. The term Gypsy, Roma and Traveller has been used by policy-makers and researchers to describe a range of ethnic groups or those with nomadic ways of life who are not from a specific ethnicity. In the UK, it is common to differentiate between Gypsies (including English Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy/Travellers, Welsh Gypsies and other Romany people), Irish Travellers, who have specific Irish roots, and Roma, understood to be more recent migrants from Central and Eastern Europe. In continental Europe, however, all groups with nomadic histories are categorised as “Roma”, a much broader term that, while it includes Gypsies and Irish Travellers, is not the way in which most British communities would identify themselves.
3. The term Traveller can also encompass groups that travel, including, but not limited to, New Travellers, Boaters, Bargees and Showpeople. While these communities share many of the barriers faced by people who are ethnically Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller, covering all these groups in a single inquiry would not do justice to their needs. Our hope is that the recommendations in this report will benefit not only those that are in the three groups we have focussed on but everyone who travels or is not a part of the settled community.
4. We asked many members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities how they preferred to describe themselves. While some find the term “Gypsy” to be offensive, many stakeholders and witnesses were proud to associate themselves with this term and so we have decided that it is right and proper to use it, where appropriate, throughout the report. We also heard many other terms used to refer to the Communities that are completely unacceptable and hate speech will be explored in Chapter 6 of this report.
5. Gypsies and some Traveller ethnicities have been recognised in law as being ethnic groups protected against discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.1 Others, such as New Travellers, have either been deemed not to be protected or have not tested their rights in court. Migrant Roma are protected both by virtue of their ethnicities and their national identities.
6. As the inquiry progressed, we heard evidence that suggested to us that migrant Roma communities face inequalities that are very different to those faced by Gypsies and Travellers. Therefore, Chapter 7 of this report is dedicated to Roma-specific issues. Elsewhere in the report where Roma are included, this is explicit. Where Roma are not mentioned, the recommendations apply to Gypsy and Traveller communities only. These variations are deliberate to help the reader to understand which groups we mean to include. On occasion, the word Communities is used as a shorthand to refer to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities as a whole.
7. In 2012, a Ministerial Working Group published 28 commitments to improving the lives of Gypsy and Traveller communities2 but, it was unclear at the launch of the inquiry how much progress had been made on these. Our predecessor committee decided urgent investigation was needed into the challenges that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities face. We called for evidence on how well policy-makers and service-providers were taking into account the needs of the Communities. It became apparent during the inquiry that there is a complex and extensive list of issues that need to be addressed, many of which are inter-related. The Government will need, in its response, to demonstrate how it will ensure that a comprehensive plan is put in place to address all the issues raised.
8. The inquiry was originally launched in November 2016 and received over 60 written submissions from academics, community groups, local authorities and public service providers. The previous committee met community groups in Bath and the surrounding area. After the 2017 general election, we decided that the inquiry should be continued. We received another six written submissions and visited Kent and Leeds, where we spoke to community groups, local authority representatives and families and visited people in their homes, whether on sites or in bricks-and-mortar housing. We began taking oral evidence in February 2018. Witnesses included experts in a variety of policy areas, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people speaking about their own experiences, organisations conducting representative and advocacy work, service-providers and three ministers, for health and social care, education, and communities and local government. We heard, in private, from Gypsy and Traveller young people and from Gypsy and Traveller women who had experienced domestic abuse. The witnesses spoke powerfully about their own experiences and we thank them for sharing their stories with us. We are very grateful to our Specialist Advisors, Professor Philip Brown, Michelle Lloyd and Dr Siobhan Spencer MBE, for their help and guidance throughout the inquiry.3 We are also grateful to all those who engaged with the inquiry, both formally and informally.
9. The public discourse around Gypsy and Traveller issues centres heavily around planning and accommodation matters to the exclusion of most other issues. Our focus throughout this inquiry has therefore been to bring to the fore the unheard voices, and to explore the issues that have hitherto been placed in the “too difficult” box by policy makers. While the number of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in the UK may be small compared to other ethnic groups, the Government’s commitment to race equality must reach even the most disenfranchised. The recommendations in this report, while focused on the communities we have spoken to, may also provide solutions to inequalities found in other groups.
10. Gypsy and Traveller people have been present in England since at least the 16th Century and the first recorded mention of Gypsies in England can be found in a document from 1514.4 It has been suggested that the term “Gypsy” was coined due to a misapprehension that Gypsies originated from Egypt, although records suggest that they originally arrived from the Indian subcontinent.5 Roma migrants from eastern and central Europe have tended to arrive much more recently, from the 1990s onwards.6
11. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people have historically been persecuted across Europe, with every modern EU state having anti-Gypsy laws at some point. In the sixteenth century a law was passed in England that allowed the state to imprison, execute or banish anyone that was perceived to be a Gypsy.7 During the Second World War, approximately one quarter (250,000) of the Roma population of Europe was exterminated by the Nazis in an act known as the ‘Porrajmos’—the Gypsy Holocaust.8 This history is felt keenly by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and contributes to the lack of trust the Communities have in the state and state bodies.
12. In 2011, the census collected information about Gypsy and Traveller people for the first time, a move that was made on an understanding that, in order to provide services to Gypsy and Traveller people, it was vital that they could be identified.9 A tick-box for “Roma” was not included in that census, although the Office for National Statistics has recommended that a box be added for the census in 2021. The census recorded 58,000 people as Gypsy/Traveller in 2011 in England and Wales, with a further 4,000 recorded in Scotland.10 The Government acknowledges that this is likely to be an undercount, with estimates of between 100,000 to 300,000 Gypsy/Traveller people11 and up to 200,000 Roma people living in the UK.12 Witnesses have given various possible reasons for the undercount, discussed further below.
13. Gypsies and Travellers have historically lived nomadic lives in the UK, although they have increasingly moved into housing. The 2011 census for England and Wales recorded 74 per cent of Gypsies and Travellers as living in houses, flats, maisonettes or apartments.13 Most Gypsies and Travellers were born in the UK (88 per cent). The census also reveals that the age demographic of Gypsies and Travellers is much younger than the rest of the English and Welsh population, with a median age of 26 and nearly 40 per cent of the population being under 20 years old.
Figure 1: Population pyramids, England and Wales, 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics
14. The UK Government, in its submission to this inquiry, accepts that:
Gypsies, Travellers and Roma are among the most disadvantaged people in the country and have poor outcomes in key areas such as health and education.14
This has been borne out throughout our inquiry, across multiple policy areas.
15. While Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people tend to be absent from many surveys and other data collection methods (see Chapter 4), there are enough evidence sources to give a good picture of the inequalities that the Communities face.
16. When the Government’s Race Disparity Audit was first published in October 2017, it found that:
Pupils from Gypsy or Roma backgrounds and those from a Traveller or Irish Heritage background had the lowest attainment of all ethnic groups throughout their school years.15
Source: Ethnicity Facts and Figures
17. The 2011 census for England and Wales revealed that 14% of Gypsy/Travellers described their health as “bad” or “very bad”, more than twice as high as the white British group (see figure 3).16
18.The Race Disparity Audit provides more detail on some of these issues. Gypsy and Traveller people are less likely to be satisfied with access to a GP than white British people (60.7 per cent compared to 73.8 per cent) and are also less likely to be satisfied with the service they receive (75.6 per cent compared to 86.2 per cent for white British).17 , 18
19. The University of Bedfordshire, in its submission to this inquiry, gave examples of research (dating as far back as 2004) showing that:
Source: Office for National Statistics Census 2011
20. Gypsies and Travellers also have the lowest rate of economic activity of any ethnic group, at 47 per cent, compared with 63 per cent for England and Wales overall. The Office for National Statistics states that:
The most common reason for Gypsy or Irish Travellers being economically inactive was looking after the home or family at 27 per cent. This is higher than for all usual residents aged 16 and over in England and Wales at 11 per cent. The second largest was long term sick or disabled at 26 per cent – the highest proportion across all ethnic groups.23
21. High levels of ill-health and disability accord with the evidence we have heard on health in this inquiry (see Chapter 6).
22. A survey carried out by Traveller Movement, a national Gypsy, Roma and Traveller charity, found that, in 2017, 91 per cent of the 199 respondents had experienced discrimination and 77 per cent had experienced hate speech or a hate crime.24 Ethnicity classifications are not consistently included in police and Crown Prosecution Service statistics, so it is difficult to know whether these figures are reflected in reported hate crime numbers. However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission stated in a 2009 report that:
Racism towards most ethnic minority groups is now hidden, less frequently expressed in public, and widely seen as unacceptable. However, that towards Gypsies and Travellers is still common, frequently overt and seen as justified.25
Discrimination and hate crime are discussed in depth in Chapter 6.
23. The evidence on migrant Roma populations is weak due to a lack of robust data gathering. Roma people in the UK may have different cultural heritages, depending on their country of origin. It is common for Roma people to speak at least two languages, Romanes and the language of their home country, although there are also variations in dialects.
24. Roma have experienced frequent persecution in their countries of origin but were not freely able to come to the UK until 2004, when the enlargement of the EU meant that they no longer needed entry clearance. It is believed that most of the Roma people living in the UK arrived after 2004, although there is evidence of communities existing in the 1990s and earlier.26
25. Roma tend to live in concentrated groups in certain parts of the UK. The University of Salford attempted to map the Roma population and projected that the largest numbers were living in the North West of England and in Greater London. Very few Roma people live in the South West of England.27
Estimated population (individuals)
Yorkshire and Humber
London (inner and outer)
Source: University of Salford
26. Unlike some Gypsy and Traveller groups, Roma families tend to live in fixed housing.28 Some of the main problems they encounter tends to come from living in poor-quality rented accommodation and being vulnerable to exploitation by landlords (see Chapter 7), an issue that they have in common with other migrant groups. Research by the Roma Support Group suggests that Romanian Roma are fastest growing group of rough sleepers in Greater London.29
27. Our evidence also identified exploitation in employment as a serious problem, with one study suggesting that Roma people in Bradford were routinely being paid far below the National Living Wage.30 Our informal discussions with Roma people suggested that Roma parents struggle with access to schools and encounter other barriers in common with recent arrivals to the UK. While exclusions and bullying are still a problem, Roma children do not seem to be absent from education in the same way as their Gypsy and Traveller counterparts.
28. Despite the differences and variations within the Communities, all are currently being poorly served by policy-makers and public services. We have heard throughout the inquiry that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are rarely considered in policies and strategies. The effect of this can vary from feelings of exclusion and lack of trust to severe discrimination. The Public Sector Equality Duty is clear that public bodies have a duty to have due regard to advancing equality and fostering good relations between protected groups. We have found a conspicuous lack of due regard for the needs of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities which we believe leads to the very poor outcomes outlined above. The following chapters will explore each of these issues in more depth.
29. Many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups have been protected from discrimination in law since the Race Discrimination Act 1976, confirmed in case law over numerous years (see Chapter 8). Policy provision has, likewise, been developing in the UK over several years, sometimes in direct reference to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and sometimes in a more piecemeal way. While it has been acknowledged for many years that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people have the poorest outcomes and experience the “last respectable form of racism”31 there has not always been a concerted effort to include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller needs in policy-making. After the repeal of the anti-Gypsy laws of the 18th century, little legislative provision addressed the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people until the 1960s, when new laws created a duty on local authorities in England to ensure that there was sufficient caravan site provision for Travellers.32
30. Equality bodies have been researching Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities for some time. In 2005, The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) concluded that site provision was poor and that most of the tension between settled and Traveller communities was due to unauthorised encampments and disputes over planning permission.33 The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the successor to the CRE, published a comprehensive report in 2009 that covered many of the same issues explored in this inquiry.34 Our inquiry heard about many of the same inequalities identified in that report, highlighting how little progress has been made in the intervening decade.
31. In 2011, the European Commission launched an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020,35 which stated that every EU Member State should formulate a Roma integration strategy or policy instruments. The Commission would assess each State against the strategy annually. The Commission’s use of “Roma” included Gypsy and Traveller people. The UK responded to the Framework by stating that, while it was to be welcomed as a pan-European initiative, the UK context did not neatly fit into what the Framework was trying to achieve. The Government stated:
In the UK we have a strong and well-established legal framework to combat discrimination and promote equality. That protects all individuals, including Roma, Gypsies and Travellers from racial and other forms of discrimination. […] Not only does our legislation prohibit discrimination in key areas like employment, education and housing, it also places a positive duty on public authorities to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between members of different groups.36
The Government stated that it preferred to meet the Framework requirements through broader social inclusion programmes, with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller-specific interventions supplementing them when necessary. However, Prof Margaret Greenfields, echoing the EU Commission,37 was critical of this approach and suggested that the Government was paying lip-service to the Framework rather than engaging with it in a meaningful way. She said that:
We are not engaged adequately with the national Roma integration strategy. It feels largely as though things that have been going on in various places have been drawn together to try to indicate some form of compliance with European expectations.38
32. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government holds the portfolio for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues. In November 2010 the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government set up a ministerial working group that brought together seven departments to consider the barriers faced by Gypsy and Traveller communities and to make recommendations to tackle them. A progress report published in April 2012 included 28 commitments made by Government departments.39 The commitments and the Government’s stated progress on them can be found in Appendix 1 of this report. The Government updated Parliament on the progress of these commitments in October 2014, stating that all 28 had been completed.40
33. Some witnesses were complimentary in their assessment of the aims of the Ministerial Working Group, if not in its outcomes. South Somerset District Council, for instance, said that:
The Working Group made an excellent start and for the first time it felt as if Government were united in tackling the inequalities suffered by the G&T community.41
We agree that the Ministerial Working Group was conducted in good faith and with a commitment to improving outcomes for Gypsy and Traveller communities. Nonetheless, some stakeholders were critical of the Group on several different issues. One criticism was simply that the Ministerial Working Group did not include Roma people in its analysis other than in education. Other criticisms ranged from a relatively mild complaint about lack of communication about the outcomes from the Ministerial Working Group42 to much more serious concerns about a lack of focus and follow-through by Government after the publication of the progress report. Libby McVeigh of the Equality and Human Rights Commission told us that while the Ministerial Working Group was a positive initiative, the outcomes from it were disappointing:
The recommendations of the Ministerial Working Group, although seeming to address the right sorts of issues, have not driven the change that we hoped for. Perhaps that was to have been expected, given that focused funding was not given for the implementation of those recommendations, there was not a timeframe for their implementation, nor was any accountability or oversight put in place.43
34. Michelle Gavin of Friends Families and Travellers, a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller charity, attributed this problem to a lack of leadership from central Government:
Guidance came out, but when no one is driving the engine, the guidance sits on a very dusty shelf.44
Traveller Movement, a charity, were critical of the approach that was taken by the Ministerial Working Group, suggesting that setting out specific commitments for each Government department is an inadequate way of dealing with the holistic inequalities that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people face:
They are not a strategy or an action plan – indeed, eight of them simply tag GTR groups onto existing mainstream policies.45
35. While it was broadly accepted by witnesses that the commitments set out in the progress report have been met, many submissions suggested that they have made little difference to the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Some have pointed to the lack of any further implementation of the commitments,46 and others pointed to a lack of improvement in outcomes as evidence of a failure in leadership.47 The Government told us that actions taken forward from the Ministerial Working Group were “mainstreamed” by individual departments into their wider social inclusion policies, which is consistent with its policy regarding the EU Framework.48 Action in individual departments is considered in the chapters below.
36. The National Federation of Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Groups provided us with a useful analysis of their view of progress on the commitments after 2014.49 The Federation stated, for example, that while the Department for Education did, in fact, conduct a trial on school exclusions, the subsequent report did not include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils in any meaningful way because the researchers could not achieve sufficient sample sizes.50 One of the commitments made by the Ministerial Working Group was for the Department for Work and Pensions to set up an Ethnic Minority Employment Stakeholder Group.51 This group ran from November 2012 until November 2014 and was then disbanded in the same month that the Government provided its update on the Ministerial Working Group commitments. These feel to us like examples of the lack of effective follow-through that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities have received across Government.
37. Leadership from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on tackling inequalities in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities has been lacking. The situation is made worse by the Government’s ongoing resistance to cross-departmental strategies on race equality issues including for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The Government must have a clear and effective plan to support these communities that is equal to the level of the challenges they face.
38. During the course of the inquiry, the Government announced and published the much-anticipated Race Disparity Audit.52 The aim of the Audit is that if a racial disparity “cannot be explained by wider factors”53 then the Government will act to eliminate the disparity, a principle known as “explain or change”. We agree with Jackie Doyle-Price’s assessment of the value of the Race Disparity Audit when she said:
The Race Disparity Audit is a method of embedding challenge across Government to make sure that we are tackling these issues. It is a fair point to make that unless somebody is really showing leadership in this area, the extent to which we can really embed outcomes consistently is going to be an issue.54
The Audit is a mechanism by which departments across Government can be held to account and can be measured against their policies and strategies. The Race Disparity Unit’s home in the Cabinet Office allows it to oversee the work and ensure that cross-departmental measures are taken where they are needed.
39. When we questioned the Government on how the Audit would be used to improve the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth told us:
It signals an improvement because it does offer the hope of something happening: we do have the evidence there and we are determined to act upon it. The challenges that have existed over a period of time are still there, but what we do need to do is have education and publicity from the Government.55
Each of the Ministers demonstrated no shortage of good will but each told us about a different set of priorities in very different policy areas, without seeming to join up with other departments. This problem had been previously highlighted to us as a problem with the Ministerial Working Group. The Department of Health and Social Care, we were told, is hoping to implement change through the NHS Long Term Plan.56 The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government is focused on pilot projects that have recently begun57 and the Department for Education told us it has a “laser-like” focus on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children but did not provide much detail on how this might translate into a strategy.58
40. Ministers told us that they are committed to creating change for the “long-haul”59 and that these are deeply embedded inequalities that will not be “cured overnight”.60 While we appreciate that these are problems that have existed for decades, the experiences of the Communities suggest that promises that have been made by Government have not led to significant change. The difference, this time, may be in the added commitment to the Race Disparity Audit.
41. We recommend that the Cabinet Office create a specific workstream within the Race Disparity Unit for eliminating Gypsy and Traveller inequalities. The Unit should work closely across Government departments to ensure that the “explain or change” process is completed promptly and that every Government department has a strategy to tackle Gypsy and Traveller inequalities that are uncovered. Each department should have a strategy in place before the end of 2019. Because of a lack of statistical data, disparities that have been uncovered in academic research must be incorporated into this work and included as part of the Race Disparity Audit programme.
42. The Government has provided evidence of work that has been started since 2014 that is not related to the Ministerial Working Group, but that nonetheless addresses Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities in some way. A list of projects being funded by MHCLG can be found in Appendix 2 of this report. These include three projects on hate crime (although the funding for the True Vision reporting website is not specific to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people) and 22 pilot projects being funded until 2020 through the Controlling Migration Fund.61 The latter projects focus on migration issues and are therefore only relevant to Roma communities.
43. When we spoke to Ministers, we became concerned that there was a pattern developing whereby departments would fund small-scale, short-term projects and then, regardless of the success or failure of these, would neglect to roll them out in any meaningful way. This seems to have been the case with the “virtual headteacher” pilot that ran from 2012 to 2015. Cambridgeshire County Council reported that attainment levels were improving under the pilot, but as Peter Norton, the virtual headteacher told us, the project, “had no possibility of extension, and although it had merits, it was delivered and then ended.”62 When we asked the Minister for Education about how many local authorities had taken up the virtual headteacher programme, we were told that, as local authorities were “best placed” to evaluate the needs in their area, the Department did not get involved in this nor did it collect this information.63 This seems symptomatic of a wider failure by Government to push pilot projects into the mainstream. When we asked the Minister about how the current projects would be evaluated and rolled out, he replied that:
The evaluation is often integral to the budget. There is a means of evaluating the project and then, if it is successful, of looking at how we roll that out nationally. That is very much the essence of what we are seeking to do with the pilots. If they are successful, based on the evaluation, we will then look at how we do that.64
This response seems unhelpfully vague and we feel that the Government needs to be clearer on how it will be taking forward successful projects, including any national roll-out.
44. It is disappointing that a successful pilot project was not rolled out nationally as this is a waste of time and resources. It is unclear to us how current pilot projects will be evaluated. There is no evidence to suggest that knowledge is being shared on a larger scale. Improved leadership is required to ensure that good practice is seized before the lessons are lost. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government should therefore write to us when the pilot projects are complete setting out the conclusion from the evaluations of the pilot projects, stating which ones are will be taken forward, and setting out the Department’s plan and timescales.
45. As outlined in Chapter 2, there is a lot we do not know about the lives and needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, including something as simple as the number of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people who live in the UK. The need for good quality data was expressed by numerous witnesses, who spoke about the difficulties in commissioning services and planning budgets when there is insufficient information about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller populations in a local area. Shaynie Larwood-Smith of Cambridgeshire County Council gave us an example in healthcare:
On a big national level, even on a county council level or on an NHS level, you cannot commission for what you do not know. You cannot go and do cultural competency in a hospital that does not even recognise that it might have a Gypsy/Traveller community that it serves. You cannot make change until you can prove need, is my feeling.65
This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Ian Dalgarno of Central Bedfordshire Council:
At a local level, unless we can try to engage with individual families, we do not know what is going on and what support they really need.66
46. Although the importance of having data, both for policy-making and resource allocation, is clear, it seems that most public bodies do not provide the option for Gypsy and Traveller people to disclose their ethnicity. The Race Disparity Audit found that, among the 130 datasets that were audited in October 2017, only 27 included classifications for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.67 The majority of these (21 datasets) were in education although the National Pupil Database uses the categories of “Gypsy/Roma” and “Travellers of Irish Heritage” rather than the census categories, meaning that it is difficult to understand which disparities are in which community. This lack of data in other areas was confirmed by witnesses.
47. The NHS was particularly highlighted by witnesses as an example of poor practice, as Yvonne MacNamara of Traveller Movement told us:
The NHS data dictionary does not include Gypsies and Travellers. We have been lobbying for almost 10 or 12 years for that inclusion […] the NHS keeps saying “Yes, this is a great idea” and it keeps commissioning a few reports every few years, but it is not doing anything about data monitoring and its inclusion in the NHS data dictionary.68
Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, seemed to suggest that the problem with adding tick-boxes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups would be that it might mask inequalities between the various groups. She stated that:
We are talking about the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller population as a group now, but I would say that in some respects that in itself brings with it discrimination too. There is a world of difference from Showpeople, who are quite well integrated, right through the spectrum until you get to Roma, where there is probably the least integration. Yes, there is good reason to try and capture that ethnicity, but equally we really do need to challenge whether that is going to give us a proper picture of what we need to be tackling.69
Given that there is no data on any group at all, we do not find this argument compelling. If the NHS is to understand the needs of its patients, the Government should ensure it is capturing ethnicity in as much detail as possible, not avoiding a potential solution because it may be imperfect.
48. The lack of consistent data collection on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people means that public bodies are failing to tackle inequalities that are clearly evidenced in academic research and in work being carried out by grassroots organisations. Some good practice exists within education regarding data collection and we see no reason why this cannot be rolled out across all public services.
49. Gypsy, Irish Traveller and Roma categories should be added to the NHS data dictionary as a matter of urgency.
50. The Race Disparity Unit should review all the Government and public datasets that currently do not use the 2011 census ethnicity classifications and require their use before the end of 2019.
51. We heard from witnesses that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people may be reluctant to self-identify, even where the option is available to them. This is because Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people often mistrust the intent behind data collection. With Roma people this fear originates from their countries of origin, where it was not unusual for Roma people to be openly discriminated against and segregated. Szymon Glowacki of the Roma Support Group told us that:
Usually, because of the discrimination faced in the countries of origin, [Roma people] would not disclose their ethnicity. If they would say anything, they would rather say they are Polish, Romanian or Slovak, but usually they would not say that they are Roma.70
Dr Alison McFadden of the University of Dundee stated that the fear of discrimination is real and persists among all the Communities, even in the UK:
That impacts on whether you can get a job, rent a house, have a taxi come and pick you up and take you for your appointment, whether an ambulance will come to your site, and so on.71
52. Even when categories are available for public services to record Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ethnicities, there is a fear by the Communities that disclosing this information will lead to discrimination. In order for this to change, trust must be built between data-collectors and the Communities.
53. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should work with grassroots Gypsy, Roma and Traveller organisations to formulate a wide-ranging campaign to explain the importance of collecting such data and to encourage self-disclosure.
54. There is no lack of aspiration from Gypsy and Traveller parents for their children, but, for some, formal education is not seen as a part of those aspirations. This means that it is too easy for the education system to write off the potential of Gypsy and Traveller children, enabling prejudice to continue. The ability to access high-quality education sets the course for the future success of every young person. In the case of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, a poor start in education may be the catalyst for many other inequalities that we have heard about throughout this inquiry. As we have heard in evidence, the barriers for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in education are severe. Tackling poor educational attainment is vital to tackling other inequalities facing the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
55. Gypsy and Traveller children leave school at a much earlier age than children in other ethnic groups, they have worse attainment standards than any other ethnic group from early-years onwards72 and only a handful are recorded as attending university in any given year (although this may be because they are choosing to hide their ethnicity).73 In addition, levels of both temporary and permanent exclusions are high and almost half of Gypsy/Roma students are classed as persistent non-attenders.74 After key stage 4 (usually aged 16), a quarter of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children go into neither education nor employment.75
Source: Ethnicity Fact and Figures, Absence from School
56. We have heard numerous reasons for why outcomes are so poor, ranging from early exit from formal education to problems encountered by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children throughout their schooling. Overall, we have seen a lack of engagement and cooperation between local authorities, schools, regulators and families, which has led to a perfect storm of poor outcomes.
57. We have heard that some Gypsy and Traveller children are taken out of school as early as the end of primary school, some persistently do not attend and some never register at school at all.76 Where these children end up is unclear, although we have heard of successful and unsuccessful home education,77 children starting work at as young as 10 years old,78 and children who simply stay at home without any formal education. While some children may be travelling with their families because of the needs of their parents’ work (as provided for by s444(6) of the Education Act 1996),79 this seems to be a minority. Parents have told us that they take their children out of education for reasons ranging from bullying that they experience in school,80 schools not taking their children’s needs into account,81 and not seeing the relevance of education,82 to, most worryingly, feeling that schools do not educate their children in a way that they would find acceptable.83
58. There are also “push factors” including schools that “off roll” children that are struggling or have challenging behaviour.84,85 Some schools perpetuate stereotypes, assuming that there is little point in educating Gypsy and Traveller children, as they will leave school early anyway and have no use for school-taught skills. A Romany Gypsy young woman told us that this was her experience in school:
I find that, often, teachers will come up to me and say, “Oh, so you’re a Gypsy. Are you going to leave school?” My [subject] teacher actually asked me that in year 7. They said, “We’ve found out that you’re a Gypsy, so does that mean you’re going to leave school, because we can get you to do some other projects?”86
59. Brian Foster of the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers (ACERT) gave us an example of how schools can be so entrenched in their stereotypes that, in their minds, being a Gypsy or Traveller equates to poor attainment:
There was a school that described itself as having 15 children who were Travellers. There were actually 45 Travellers in that school, but 15 had poor attendance and bad behaviour, and they were regarded as the Travellers. The other families, who were quietly getting on and whose kids were progressing through education, were no longer regarded as Gypsies and Travellers, because they were like us.87
60. We also heard anecdotal evidence that schools were treating Gypsy and Traveller girls and boys differently, on the understanding that girls would grow up to be homemakers while boys would be working in elementary occupations.88 While both push and pull factors are clearly exacerbating the problem, it is vital that schools work with families to ensure that children do not simply disappear off the school roll.
61. The rights of children to receive an education are enshrined in a number of international documents. Article 28 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child sets out this right and adds that States should:
Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.89
The European Convention on Human Rights, likewise, states that “no person shall be denied the right to education”.90 The Convention also obliges States to respect the rights of parents to ensure education in conformity with their religious and philosophical convictions. However, the UK has entered a reservation to this part of the Convention, which provides that the State will only respect the rights of parents “in so far as it is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training,”91 so that the Convention would not extend to allowing parents to opt their children out of education altogether.
62. In England, local authorities have a duty to ensure that children who are not in school are being “suitably” educated, but this duty is limited. The duty under s436A of the Education Act 1996 states that the duty applies “so far as it is possible to do so”.92 Draft guidance from the Government on Elective Home Education states that:
Local authorities must make arrangements to find out so far as possible whether home educated children are receiving suitable full-time education, once that has been established local authorities have no specific statutory duty to monitor the quality of home education on a routine basis.93
Because we heard that Gypsy and Traveller children are often receiving no education at all, we feel that the bar for “so far as possible” should be set high, with local authorities that are not doing all they can to find out if children are receiving a suitable education being held to account. However, we also appreciate the limitations that local authorities have, even when they are able to establish that a child is not being suitably educated at home. Local authorities must serve a notice on parents they believe are not educating their children (either at school or at home).94 The local authority can then serve them with an attendance order, compelling them to return the child to school. Home education must “suitable”.95 There is no statutory definition of what “suitable” education is, but draft guidance (currently out for consultation) suggests that such an education should:
aim at enabling the child, when grown-up to function as an independent citizen in Britain, and outside the community in which he or she was brought up, if that is the choice made.96
63. Ofsted has no jurisdiction to inspect home education settings and Sean Harford of Ofsted was resistant to the idea of Ofsted taking on a role in home education, saying:
I don’t think we want to start going into parents’ homes to inspect them, frankly, because […] this is a wider group than Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils and some parents are better set up to do this than others.97
64. The Children’s Commissioner, in a 2019 report, found that 92 per cent of councils say that they do not have the powers they need to ensure children are getting a decent education and 28 per cent of home-educating families refused an offered home visit from the council, which they are legally entitled to do.98 This means that local authorities, despite their best efforts, are unable to reach children who may be missing education. This problem is exacerbated by parental mistrust and unwillingness to engage with local authorities. Consequently, there is very little, if any, oversight of how Gypsy and Traveller children are being educated at home. While we heard from young people themselves that some have tutors and some are receiving support from council officers and charity organisations,99 our feeling that this is not true across the board. Children that have never been registered at school may simply be lost to the authorities. As well educational concerns, this also raises safeguarding issues.
65. It is intolerable that any child should not be receiving a suitable education. Many parents, schools and local authorities are letting down Gypsy and Traveller children. The first priority for the Government, local authorities and Ofsted must be to ensure that the legal right to an education is not denied to any child, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children. Home education should be a positive, informed choice, not a reaction to either a poor school environment or family expectations.
66. The Department for Education should carry out a complete audit of all local authorities to ensure that they have robust policies and procedures on children potentially missing from education, as required by section 436A of the Education Act 2006 and the Government’s own “Children Missing Education Guidance”. Any local authorities that are found to have inadequate processes should be required to remedy them within six months of the audit. The audit should also inspect the procedures that authorities have in place for ensuring that home educated children are receiving a “suitable” education, including effective mechanisms for taking action under section 437 of the Education Act.
67. The need for reform affects all home educated children but Gypsy and Traveller children are more likely to be withdrawn from education. We agree with Children’s Commissioner that families that are home educating need more oversight from local authorities. We also recommend that council officers should be given the power and have the duty to visit children being home educated at least once per school term to assess the suitability of their education. Education should only be deemed “suitable” if it provides equal life chances to boys and girls and gives all children the necessary tools to decide on their own futures as adults.
68. One of the problems that was raised with us by witnesses was that of children who have irregular educational histories, either due to frequent travelling, moving in and out of schools or, mostly in the case of Roma children, moving from one local authority to another.100 Schools have no way of tracking a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller child’s progression when they change schools. This means that schools cannot ensure any continuity or assess a child’s needs.
69. In 2010, Ofsted expressed frustration that it was very difficult to find out which children were genuinely on a school roll, which were being home educated and which were missing from education.101 Ofsted recommended a single database that would allow local authorities and other education agencies to track children throughout their education and share information for the benefit of the child. Such a system, named ContactPoint did exist,102 but was shut down in 2010 due to concerns about confidentiality and safeguarding.103 The aim of the ContactPoint database was for a child’s basic information to travel with them and for schools to be able to access the record across local authorities, so that they would know where a child had come from and what educational professionals they had had contact with. Witnesses spoke positively about a portable system that would contain a child’s educational record, that could go with them regardless of their location.104 Currently, schools have management information systems that they use to record the progress of each pupil but these systems are internal to the individual school.
70. While we understand that the ContactPoint database was abandoned due to data protection concerns, we feel that technology and the law has moved on. A new database would allow schools to support children who move between councils and ensure the continuity of their education.
71. The Government should consider piloting a pupil passport scheme with rapid evaluation to ensure that, should it be successful, it can be rolled out as quickly as possible. At the same time, the Department for Education should explore how such a scheme could be implemented across England and what the budgetary implications would be. Such a scheme would ensure that when children move schools or move into home education, their records and history travel with them.
72. Many submissions described experiences of discrimination and bullying in schools. Sherrie Smith, a Romany Gypsy, told us about her daughter’s experience:
My daughter has been called names at her secondary school because it’s known she is a Gypsy. Horrible names. I want her to stay there but it is hard. Teachers don’t take it seriously enough. They might say to the child to apologise but that’s not enough. Any other racism in the school is taken up higher.105
73. Ms Smith’s comments suggest that bullying against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils is tolerated in a way that other bullying is not. The University of Birmingham Centre for Research in Race and Education also identified the problem of schools failing to take such bullying seriously:
Many Gypsy and Traveller parents are often afraid to make complaints for fear of not being taken seriously and when their children do experience name calling in schools, this is often unrecognised by teachers. In many cases, when parents have complained about bullying and racism, schools often fail to use anti-bullying and anti-racism policies and procedures to respond to or investigate such incidents.106
74. David Bishop of Birmingham City Council told us that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller students should have parity of treatment with other students:
Schools will treat pupils with equality. The expectations of attendance, attainment and achievement and the aspirations are the same as for any other group. So inclusivity and equality of treatment is the way successful schools deal successfully with any vulnerable group, be it Gypsy, Roma and Traveller or any other group.107
75. Sean Harford of Ofsted confirmed that inspections include looking for signs of bullying and discrimination in all groups, and that any sign of this would lead them to adverse conclusions in any inspection report, providing there was sufficient evidence.108 This seems to be in line with Ofsted’s current policy on gender equality and sex segregation, which we heard about as part of our inquiry into enforcement of the Equality Act.109 It is too soon to know how effective these inspectorate interventions are, but we feel that the same level of scrutiny should be afforded to all protected groups.
76. Schools have a duty to ensure that no group is discriminated against and that they are challenging any inequality and stereotypes that students encounter. They have a duty to ensure that no one is bullied on the basis of their ethnicity while ensuring that children of all genders are enabled to thrive throughout their education.
77. Schools should, as part of their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty, be challenging race and gender stereotypes wherever they encounter them. Ofsted should ensure that inspectors are actively inspecting schools for gender and racial stereotyping or signs of sexism or racism from either pupils or staff.
78. When we visited Gypsy and Traveller parents, children and young people, we were struck by how frequently we were told that boys would be working with their fathers when they were old enough and girls would be raising their own and caring for extended families from a very young age. The boys we heard from in oral evidence took for granted that they would be working with their fathers (or grandfathers) in the family business,110 that they would get married, and that their wives would not work.111 The girls we spoke to were more positive about their own freedom to choose their futures, but still recognised that certain things were expected in the Gypsy and Traveller communities. One girl told us:
Boys tend to leave school at a younger age than girls, mainly to go out to work with their dad. It teaches them lifestyle things—what they need to learn for when they are older—to be independent and work for themselves. […] I think it is because of what the men think. Quite often, because of the stereotype, what happens in many situations is that the women stay at home—they clean, they look after the children, they cook a meal for their husband. The man goes out and works and gets the money.112
These girls had aspirations to go to universities and develop careers for themselves, although they recognised that they may face disparagement from their community for doing so.113 However, our visit to Leeds and Kent suggested that continuing education may be the exception rather than the rule. Such views had a large role to play in children leaving education as early as primary school.
79. We also encountered other taboos within the Communities. When certain subjects are taught in school, this can lead to parents removing their children. This applied to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children alike. In Leeds, we were told that children should not be in secondary school because the schools were “full of sex and drugs”.114 In general, as we heard in evidence, boys and girls mixing at school beyond a certain age was frowned upon. As Prof Kalwant Bhopal told us:
For some families, boys and girls are expected to do gender-divided tasks, although that is significantly changing. For instance, parents do not want to send their daughters to school because they will be engaging in sex education and PE, and they will be in environments where they feel that their children will be unsafe.115
80. Relationship and sex education was seen as a particular sticking point for families. Szymon Glowacki of the Roma Support Group told us that anything that was related to the body was considered “impure” and was not spoken about in Roma communities, including in relation to sexual health or pregnancy.116 One of the Gypsy girls we heard from told us that, while she did learn about relationships and sex at school, she was given dispensation to study alone. She did not feel comfortable naming the subject and told us:
At school, when they are doing those subjects—when the teachers start talking about it and saying, “Do that subject”—I go to the library. I still learn it, but I don’t think it should be done with a classroom full of boys and girls mixed. I don’t think that’s right. No matter the age, I don’t think it’s right. I think you should learn about it separately.117
In this case, a solution was found that worked for the student, the parents and the school, but the worry is that, rather than schools and parents working together, it is more common for parents to simply remove their children from school due to their objections.
81. We have heard compelling evidence that the education of boys and girls in Gypsy and Traveller communities is heavily gendered, with boys being removed from school to join their fathers in business and girls being removed to look after younger children and to become homemakers. While all young people from Gypsy and Traveller communities may be affected by this, we have spoken to girls and women for whom life chances are particularly limited. However, we have also heard that this situation is changing, with more young women going onto further and higher education. We nonetheless believe that young women from Gypsy and Traveller communities are not able to fulfil their potential and that they are experiencing discrimination by being prevented from accessing education.
82. The Department for Education draft guidance for relationship and sex education in secondary schools makes it clear that the teaching should include an understanding of the religious and cultural context of the children in the school. It also includes the “right to withdraw” a child from sex education classes, should the parent choose to do so. It does not, however, give parents the right to withdraw their children from education entirely. All children benefit from age-appropriate relationship and sex education, but more needs to be done to ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents do not remove their children from school because of an objection to it. Schools must have a plan for how to have constructive conversations with parents to explain to them the benefits of relationship and sex education in a way that is reassuring.
83. Schools have a duty to proactively plan for how they will have conversations with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents about what relationship and sex education involves and what parents’ options are for their children, short of removing them from school. These plans should be explicit and Ofsted should take them into account during inspections and assess schools accordingly.
84. Gypsy and Traveller families can feel that their heritage and identity is not adequately reflected within school curricula. Rose McCarthy of ACERT told us about how the children around her feel that they are invisible when International Roma Day (on 8 April every year) is not marked in their schools:
When it comes to cultural awareness in schools, for instance International Day, many children I know have come back home and said, “Rose, there was nothing about us; there was nothing about our people.” And this is on International Day in schools; there is no celebration there.118
While this may seem like a small omission on the part of schools, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history month was mentioned as an important part of inclusion of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritage in numerous submissions to the inquiry,119 including by the Minister.120 The feeling was that these small marks of understanding served as litmus tests for whether a school was safe.
85. It is clear from the large number of impressive Gypsy, Roma and Traveller advocates who spoke to us that the Communities are not lacking in women and men as potential role models. Witnesses have spoken about the need for young people to have role models, as well as being role models themselves. David Bishop of Birmingham City Council told us about his team in the Council:
We have a colleague who heads up our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller service. He does have a number of staff who go out into the community. We feel that one of our successes is that his staff are from the GRT community. He is also from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community. We feel that there is an important role there in terms of role models and cultural identity.121
Dave Brown of Migration Yorkshire and Colin Havard of Sheffield City Council told us that, with regard to Roma, role models did exist, but there were not enough of them, nor were they very visible. Mr Havard also told us that being seen as a role model of a community could be burdensome:
The role models are important. The problem at the moment is there are too few of them and we are putting too much pressure on those who are there. We need to broaden that out somehow. We need to start changing that narrative.122
86. Organisations such as Diversity Role Models (working with LGBT communities) train role models to work with schools and foster good relations between communities.123 However, no such programmes currently exist for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
87. There are multiple organisations in other fields that provide role models to speak and work with schools to foster good relations between groups. The Government should increase the capacity of these organisation to provide similar support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller role models.
88. Health outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are very poor compared to other ethnic groups (as noted in Chapter 2). Some problems seem to stem from the consequences of living on Traveller sites or actively travelling, but others stem from direct and indirect discrimination. Several of these issues are common to Gypsy, Traveller and Roma people, while some are more specific to each group. We heard about problems with accessing healthcare services, registering for services due to discrimination or language and literacy barriers, and problems associated with a lack of trust leading to a lack of engagement with public health campaigns. This chapter considers the healthcare structures that are either facilitating or hindering Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in healthcare settings.
89. One of the most frequently cited healthcare problems facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people is in accessing primary and secondary health services. We heard about problems with registering and accessing GP services, immunisation services, maternity care and mental health provision. The reasons for this have been variously attributed to discrimination, difficulties navigating the NHS, and a reluctance by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to seek medical attention until their condition has become very serious. Several submissions stated that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, especially travelling families, tend to use emergency services such as A&E rather than any structured approach to healthcare, due to previous poor experiences.124 This leads to disrupted health provision and makes preventative care very difficult to administer.
90. While some CCGs and NHS Trusts show excellent practice in catering for the needs of their Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, this is often localised and fragmented. We have also heard evidence of widespread non-inclusion and, in some cases, outright discrimination. Dr Alison McFadden outlined ways in which health services can exclude Gypsy, Roma and Traveller patients:
There are subtle and not-so-subtle ways that people are restricted from registering with GPs. Sometimes it is not having the right paperwork and documentation, or not understanding what is required for proof of address, or simply not being able to provide it. We heard cases where a surgery had asked to see a bank statement prior to registration.125
Although these sorts of occurrences are unacceptable in the Health Service, they seem to be too common.
91. Despite the fact that information and guidance has been available to frontline healthcare staff for some time, discriminatory practices are more widespread than they should be. This leads to a vicious cycle in which a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller individual has a poor experience while trying to access a service, and the word spreads, leading to scepticism and mistrust, which further exacerbate the health inequalities. Dr McFadden gave this as one of the reasons why trust between the Communities and health services is low:
You might have your very close-knit community; your friends or your relatives have had that experience, and then that becomes a story. They’re spread by social media. Historically, there’s even worse, so there’s a cultural memory about health services. So that all has a huge impact on trust.126
Rebuilding this trust is vital, if the NHS is to serve the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities well. Some of these strategies will involve including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in policy decision-making and some will involve finding more trusted pathways.
92. Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) are written jointly between local NHS services and local authorities. The then Department of Health, in guidance from 2011, considered them to be:
the pillars of local decision-making, focussing leaders on the priorities for action and providing the evidence base for decisions about local services.127
There is significant variation in how local authorities across England produce and update their JSNAs. While some are regularly updated and deal extensively with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Friends Families and Travellers found, in a study conducted in 2015, that less than half of JSNAs included a chapter on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller needs and, of those, less than a third included the needs of Roma people. While it is possible that areas that have not included Roma do not have significant Roma populations, we have heard that 91% of English local authorities have some kind of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller presence.
93. JSNAs tend to rely very heavily on statistical information, which, as outlined in Chapter 4, is severely lacking for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. This presents a challenge for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities. However, even in the absence of data, health services and local authorities must comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty to have due regard for eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity.128 In this, we have been told, many JSNAs seem to be failing. As Michelle Gavin of Friends Families and Travellers illustrated:
Sometimes it is difficult to find where [Gypsy and Traveller needs] are in a JSNA. It could be under one section or another. There is no equity at all, and there does not seem to be a driver to say, “This is happening.” Some local authorities will just say, “Oh! Have we got a Gypsy/Traveller community?” That is how problematic it is.129
We considered a number of JSNAs as part of the inquiry. The London Borough of Bromley, for example, mentions Gypsy and Traveller people in its most recent JSNA (2018) on children and young people.130 The 2017 report also includes a description of the Gypsy and Traveller population, but only in terms of geographical spread, rather than health needs. Roma are not mentioned.131 Cambridgeshire’s JSNAs are produced by theme, with different reports looking at the needs of different populations.132 A JSNA was produced for the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in the area in 2010,133 but this was not repeated. Bath and North East Somerset have produced a number of JSNAs specific to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and, given the high numbers of boaters in their area, have supplemented this work with a report specifically on the needs of boaters in 2016. These JSNAs have been updated over time, with the last update published in 2017.134 As these different JSNAs illustrate, the amount of attention given to the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people differs considerably, even in areas that are known to have large Gypsy, Roma and Traveller populations.
94. Joint Strategic Needs Assessments that include proper consideration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller needs are few and far between. We are concerned that many JSNAs are currently not complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty. It is unacceptable that the Communities continue to be overlooked, given that they have the poorest health outcomes of any ethnic group.
95. The Equality and Human Rights Commission should conduct a formal inquiry under section 16 of the Equality Act 2006 into how Joint Strategic Needs Assessments are including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller health needs.
96. When we raised the issue of potential discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller service users by health providers, the Minister told us that the inspection regime of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had, in her opinion, been very effective in uncovering potential discriminatory practice. She did, however, state that:
We rely on sunlight as the best disinfectant. We rely on complaints to highlight where this is happening. When you are talking about this kind of discrimination and a community that perhaps does not feel it can complain, that is a challenge. Again, we rely on local networks and local voluntary organisations to champion the interests of this group.135
We asked whether the CQC would be able to do proactive work to identify whether, for instance, a GP might be discriminating by virtue of having no Gypsy, Roma and Traveller patients despite being located in an area with a high Gypsy, Roma and Traveller population. In correspondence to us, the Minister replied, saying:
The CQC would take into account if they had evidence that discrimination was taking place which led to low levels of GP registration i.e. that members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community (GRT) were attempting to register with a practice but were unable to. The CQC have produced a guidance note to GP practices around patient registration that covers this and specifically mentions gypsies and travellers. This would affect the GP practice rating in relation to whether services are responsive.136
97. We are concerned that, without consistent input from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller experts, it is very difficult for the CQC to know where to look for signs of discrimination and that the approach set out by the Minister does not go far enough. The CQC’s Experts by Experience programme uses the expertise of people with various medical conditions to inform inspections and support inspectors.137 We see no reason why this model should not be used for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.
98. The CQC should expand the programme “Experts by Experience” to look at equalities issues and should include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people who have the best knowledge of where unequal treatment may be taking place.
99. The NHS published the Long Term Plan in January 2019. The Plan states that the NHS aims to “plan to make the NHS fit for the future for patients, their families and our staff”138 for the coming decade. As a part of this the Long Term Plan seeks to tackle health inequalities, and promises:
NHS England will base its five year funding allocations to local areas on more accurate assessment of health inequalities and unmet need.139
The NHS Long Term plan seems to offer a new opportunity to embed the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller populations into policy-making and ensure that resources are allocated according to those needs. As Minister Jackie Doyle-Price told us, “We have opportunities for intervention, where we can tackle inequality generally.”140 The Long Term Plan also included an Equality and Health Inequalities Impact Assessment, which sets out the NHS’s duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty and shows the engagement that the NHS has had with community groups and stakeholders from various communities. It states that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people “continue to experience some of the most significant barriers to accessing health care and poor health outcomes”. We are pleased to see this acknowledgement included in the Plan.
100. The NHS Long Term Plan provides welcome clarity on the future of the NHS in England. We are pleased to see mention of NHS England’s duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty. This must be an opportunity to direct resources towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities who have the worst health outcomes of any ethnic group.
101. The NHS Long Term plan also has a useful role to play in making sure that the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller patients are considered and catered for. The plan sets out a new assessment of how Clinical Commissioning Groups apply for funding. The Long Term Plan states:
For the five-year CCG allocations that underpin this Long Term Plan, NHS England will introduce from April 2019 more accurate assessment of need for community health and mental health services, as well as ensuring the allocations formulae are more responsive to the greatest health inequalities and unmet need in areas such as Blackpool.141
This assessment of need could help CCGs in areas with high numbers of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to effectively make the case to NHS England for enhanced funding.
102. The new assessment of needs for CCG resource allocation should include an explicit section for CCGs to outline the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in their local areas. This need should be taken into account by NHS England when it is allocating funding to CCGs.
103. Building trust is central to ensuring that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller patients engage with health services. We heard of good practice in healthcare in many local areas, which was often driven by passionate and committed individuals who were making great efforts to work with the Communities and build the trust that was needed, often over years. The problem with this model is that when an individual moves on, the trust that has developed goes with them, leaving the service back where it started.142 It also has an unwanted side-effect of absolving other services of their responsibilities to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller patients, as Dr McFadden outlined:
It allows people in mainstream services to say, “We don’t need to worry about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people because Shaynie is dealing with all that,” and therefore they are not getting the full range of services.143
104. We heard various arguments for and against commissioning specialist services for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, separate from the mainstream services. When we asked the Government about this, Jackie Doyle-Price highlighted the need for every local area to consider its own needs and to commission services accordingly.144 She spoke of the importance of health visitors in connecting with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, potentially through maternity services, as there is a strong focus on these services delivering public health messages in the NHS Long Term Plan. She told us:
It is less formal, less threatening and is a much closer relationship, with which we can start giving messages to these communities and families within these communities, because they tend to be clans. We can say, “Start going to the dentist,” and give really good public health messages to these people.145
She nonetheless also recognised that traditional engagement methods were ineffective, stating:
Ultimately, we need to recognise that with the cultural behaviours of this group, the way the public sector usually communicates is not going to work. It has to be something much more formal if we are going to really tackle these inequalities.146
105. We agree that services should be accessible to all. It is not enough to rely on individuals who have the trust of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to deliver all their health services. We believe that the NHS Long Term Plan, with its emphasis on maternity services, can provide a useful vehicle for engagement and dissemination of public health messages to the Communities.
106. NHS England, although they declined to give oral evidence, sent us a submission that set out a vision for Networked Maternal Medicine Service (NMMS) as part of the Long Term Plan. The goal of NMMS is:
to provide advice and care for the highest risk women with significant medical conditions, and to provide local clinical leadership on the identification, referral and management of these women by all staff in contact with pregnant women.147
107. While this initiative is currently in pilot stages and is being tested, it is a welcome development. Maternity and antenatal care provide an opportunity for healthcare staff to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women. NHS England should consider training maternity staff and pre-natal staff to enquire about, signpost and refer to services that may also be beneficial to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women, including immunisation, dental services, mental health services and sexual health checks.
108. Only a quarter of the Gypsy and Traveller population live in caravans, but the quality of sites has been raised with us as a significant issue affecting the health of Traveller populations. Figures from the biannual caravan count in England show that approximately a third of sites are socially rented, that is that they are owned by either local authorities or private registered providers.148 The rest are on private land, either owned by Gypsy and Traveller people themselves or rented from private landlords. Sites vary in size and quality and we were told that most sites that are purpose built include facilities blocks for washing, cleaning and laundry, including the site we visited in Bath. However, we were told by witnesses that some sites had “appalling conditions” and that these were “not fit for human habitation”.149 Yvonne MacNamara of Traveller Movement stated that many existing sites were overcrowded and unsafe.150
109. Ministers agreed with the assessment that sites can lack even the most basic of amenities. Jackie Doyle-Price attributed the problem to a lack of a rigorous inspection regime for existing sites, although local authorities have a right to inspect sites.151 She told us that:
we are relying on local authorities to make sure that they are delivering for their communities. I do not want to be dictatorial—you know, “I expect this kind of inspection”—but we ought to be able to expect our local authorities to step up to the plate and do that.152
Lord Bourne preferred to focus on the requirements for planning applications made for new sites, saying:
There are planning rules that have to be adhered to with regard to basic planning, basic hygiene and so on, which are set out in the planning policy for Traveller sites. Local authorities should be monitoring that.153
These rules do not apply to existing sites, but he went on to say that local authorities can inspect their own existing sites. On private sites, he said:
There will be other agencies that may be responsible for particular issues. For example, at a private site it may involve social services if it is something that has affected children. It may be the Environment Agency. It is not quite as straightforward as saying that it is all on the local councils, though some of it is.154
110. Both Ministers were in agreement that the problem with private sites was not one of a lack of legislation but rather a lack of enforcement which allowed sites to be approved and built without proper amenities, or allowed sites that were once in good condition to fall into disrepair.155 We agree that the Planning Policy for Traveller sites should set the standard for any new sites that are being built, but, given that only two local authority sites were opened in the year 2017/18,156 these make up a very small proportion of the total number of existing sites, all of which should have basic amenities. Poor conditions and sanitation on Traveller sites are contributing to the poor health of Gypsy and Traveller families, including many children. Local authorities have powers under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 to attach conditions to licenses for caravan sites if it is in the interest of the people living on the site. Clearly conditions that every site should have basic amenities such as water and electricity are in the best interests of the residents.
111. Local authorities should inspect every existing private Traveller site in their area to map which have access to a minimum standard of basic amenities and which do not. For those that do not, local authorities should place conditions upon the license to ensure that these measures are put in place or consider revoking licenses that do not comply with these conditions. This solution does not address the problem that arises when it is the local authority itself that owns the site. For this, we recommend that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government explore methods by which local authorities can be held to account for their own sites.
112. While the EU and other European bodies include Gypsy and Traveller groups as “Roma”, in the UK the accepted usage is that Roma people are migrant populations from Central and Eastern Europe that have arrived in the UK in the last half-century. “Roma” is used as an umbrella term to describe any number of sub-groups, including Sinti, Lovari, Erlides and others. Throughout our inquiry we have sought to hear from Roma people and about Roma issues, as well as those of Gypsy and Traveller people.
113. As our inquiry progressed, it became clear that, while Roma people experienced some of the same inequalities as Gypsies and Travellers, many of the issues that were brought to us had more in common with other migrant groups and some were unique to Roma communities living in the UK. For this reason we have decided to devote a chapter to scrutinising Roma-specific issues, as they are often overlooked in research and policy-making.
114. The absence of any reliable data is even more acute for Roma populations than it is for Gypsy and Traveller populations (see Chapter 2). An option to describe oneself as “Roma” has never been included in any official statistics, although the Government is planning to add the classification in the 2021 census.157 As with Gypsies and Travellers, we have heard that Roma are unwilling to disclose their ethnicity on forms for fear of persecution.158
115. We welcome the Government’s planned inclusion of Roma as an ethnic classification in the 2021 census. The next challenge will be to ensure that community engagement is sufficient to ensure that the data collected is robust and can inform local authority policy on Roma issues.
116. The UK’s response to the EU’s EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 was to set out how Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people were included in broad social integration strategies.159 Discussion of this can be found in Chapter 3. Despite the UK Government calling this an Integration Strategy, none of the policy measures set out by the Government were specific to Roma people. One of the further criticisms has been that the UK’s Integration Strategy did not consider the specific needs that local areas with high Roma populations might have. Dave Brown of Migration Yorkshire and Jim Steinke of Sheffield City Council both expressed a need to have national strategies that joined up with local strategies so that areas with high Roma populations can use resources from central Government.160 This echoes a report by the National Roma Network which concluded that:
With a limited response, lead or specific policy direction from central government, many local communities, neighbourhoods and services felt that they were left to address the situation by themselves. This has led to significant differences in how towns and cities across the UK have responded to the needs of Roma communities.161
117. Perhaps as a response to this criticism, the MHCLG seems to have recognised the specific needs that Roma communities may have and is currently running 22 pilot projects with a with a focus on migrant groups that may include Roma through the Controlling Migration Fund. Some of these focus specifically on Roma needs.162 It is unclear when these pilot projects will be concluded and how they will be evaluated and rolled out.
118. The historical approach that the UK Government has taken to the EU Roma Framework is lacking in focus and has yielded little to no positive outcomes for Roma communities. The pilot projects being run through the Controlling Migration Fund are a welcome development. However, the Government must properly evaluate all the pilots and explicitly state how each successful project will be rolled out. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should produce a full final report of all the projects and include clear decisions on which pilots were unsuccessful and should end and which were successful. The Ministry should commit to implementing any successful projects nationally.
119. Through the inquiry we considered whether specific services are needed for Roma groups or whether it is better to have inclusive mainstream services. We heard conflicting evidence on the need for targeted interventions. Ruth Richardson of Roma Community Care favoured such interventions, saying:
We need specific funding for Roma. We need designated money for Roma. We have not seen the Roma communities advance in, say, the last 10 years that you might have thought other communities would have. That is because of the complex nature of Roma and where they are coming from, and because we are being asked to just generically make the case for Roma within a broader sweep of equality, and often we are not selected and we do not make the cut.163
Colin Havard of Sheffield City Council, however, believed that building up community cohesion in areas where Roma live without specifically targeting Roma residents is the more effective approach:
We have not chosen a Roma approach; we have chosen a neighbourhood approach, because we do not want the Roma to be the problem.164
120. Both Mr Havard and Cllr Steinke pointed to the Controlling Migration Fund as an effective model for providing support to neighbourhoods with large Roma populations as a way of improving the outcomes for all residents.165 However, they both also believed that the funding cycles were too short and that the problems with community cohesion would not be solved in two-year bursts. We agree that both views are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. While for some areas, the Controlling Migration Fund will help to improve outcomes, the Government cannot rely on general policies to address the specific challenges that Roma communities face. Central Government must provide leadership and support to local authorities with large Roma populations.
121. Many Roma families are living in extremely poor housing conditions, mostly in private rented properties. Professor Margaret Greenfields of New Buckinghamshire University described housing as “overcrowded” and residents as being “exploited by slum landlords”.166 The National Roma Network has stated that Roma people are unlikely to complain either because they do not understand how to enforce their rights or because they fear retaliatory eviction.167 Our evidence suggests that some landlords may be taking advantage of the community for these reasons, leading to situations in which there are “20 people in a two-bedroom house”.168 Michal Daniel of Roma Community Care told us of his personal experience in Derby:
I had a family of five dependent children, with no gas, no heating, no cooker; they just had plain beds in the middle of the flat and sleeping on the floors. When we asked the landlord to do something, they just put the phone down.169
122. Selective licensing can be used to regulate privately rented accommodation in a local authority area. Local authorities have the power to require landlords to apply for licenses before they can rent properties in the area in which the scheme operates. Local authorities can place conditions on licenses, requiring landlords to show that their properties comply with minimum standards as set out by the license.170 For instance, Liverpool City Council operates a scheme which requires all rented properties in the city to “meet fire, electric and gas safety standards and be in a good state of repair.”171 The National Roma Network reported that selective licensing schemes are operating in some areas and that this has had a positive effect:
Licencing schemes for landlords were introduced, with additional funding provided for third sector organisations to support Roma navigating the private sector housing market. Joint initiatives between local authorities and housing associations were also reported. In Liverpool, Roma development workers were employed to help with community cohesion and to raise awareness of environmental issues among Roma communities, while in Glasgow Govanhill Housing Association were refurbishing unused flats, which were then rented to local residents on low incomes, many of whom were Roma.172
However, Dave Brown also warned that selective licensing only went so far, because both Roma people and landlords may move out of an area with selective licensing into one without.173 As selective licenses can only be implemented at the discretion of individual local authorities, their use is inconsistent.
123. Selective licensing seems to be effective in areas in which it operates, as it provides a mechanism for councils to regulate the housing in their area and ensure that people are not living in unacceptably poor accommodation. Roma communities are especially vulnerable to exploitation, so would particularly benefit. However, this is a scheme that is not widely used, so Roma and other communities are not adequately protected.
124. All Local Authorities that have Roma populations should consider the use of selective licensing to prevent exploitation in the private rented sector.
125. On our visit to Leeds, we spoke to a group of Roma people who told us about their experiences with the education system in the UK. The predominant feeling among the group was that the system in the UK was a vast improvement on the schooling in their countries of origin, not least because some countries continue to segregate Roma pupils (notably Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria).174 In the UK, Roma parents who understand the education framework have found it much more inclusive in comparison, with the National Roma Network reporting that their members were more likely to be positive about education than any other public service.175 Nonetheless, this does not mean that schools are perfect environments for Roma young people.
126. The Government considers the Pupil Premium as being the main mechanism for improving educational attainment for under-performing groups.176 Pupil Premium eligibility was raised as a concern by some stakeholders. Pupil Premium is paid to schools according to the number of children who have registered for free school meals (FSM). Eligibility for FSM is based on benefit entitlement, including benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit. Most migrant Roma are EEA nationals, restricted in their eligibility for such benefits, meaning that they may not be eligible for FSM and, consequently, their school would not be able to claim Pupil Premium for them. The Roma Support Group concluded that lack of eligibility for the Pupil Premium for EU nationals is leading to cuts in English as an Additional Language teaching, as schools cannot afford to offer it.177 The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government seems to have accepted that these ongoing needs exist and has responded through the projects funded by the Controlling Migration fund. Pilot projects are currently running in Middlesbrough, Oldham, Wakefield, Bradford, Fenland, Leeds, Kirklees and Thanet with the expressed aim of improving access to public services and English language skills for young people.178 These pilot schemes are welcome, but we seek reassurances from the Government that they will be properly evaluated and, should they be successful, that they will be rolled out across all areas in which Roma people may live.
127. Roma children who arrive in the UK from other countries can also pose a challenge for allocation of Pupil Premium. Allocation of Pupil Premium is based on the school census, taken annually in January of each year. A school that has eligible Roma children listed on the date of the census will receive Pupil Premium for those children for that year, but not if a child arrives in the school after the date of the census. Funds from the Pupil Premium are given to schools in June of each year, which means that schools with newly arrived Roma pupils may be waiting up to 18 months from when a child eligible for Pupil Premium registers and when they actually receive the funds they need to support their attainment. The Government should therefore ensure that Roma children arriving from outside the UK are identified quickly and ensure that the Pupil Premium reaches the school no more than one school term after a child has registered.
128. Aside from issues of language and unfamiliarity, Roma children can still find themselves at a disadvantage at school for other reasons. An Ofsted report published in 2014 into Roma school attainment concluded that Roma children starting school may have had “little prior experience of formal education” and that this can lead to schools finding it difficult to engage families to “adhere to school routines”.179 This can sometimes manifest itself in abnormally high rates of exclusions. The Institute for Race Relations published an article in 2017 that stated that, in Sheffield, one quarter of children described as Gypsy/Roma had been excluded from school in 2015.180 A report from 2017 by the Roma Support Group states that the most common reason given for excluding Roma children was “persistent disruptive behaviour”. The report suggests two main causes:
While some incidents are based on a pupil finding it difficult to abide by the formal rules of the school setting, there are also incidents of racist bullying which have not been addressed by the school.181
129. Witnesses representing Sheffield City Council told us that they were working hard to tackle the problem of exclusions in their schools. Colin Havard told us that they have been using a Controlling Migration Fund project to try to spread best practice:
We went to the schools and said, “What is your key message to these children? How can we do your outreach work for you, because you are not resourced for it? Let us leave you alone, as an educational specialist, but what do we do outside?”182
However, Dr Ruth Richardson from Derby Community Care told us that her experience as a caseworker showed that schools were now using a different method to hide their exclusions:
The way that they have responded is that they are no longer externally excluding Roma and have set up their own internal exclusion units. It does not show up on the statistics anymore, so they can say, “We are not excluding Roma as much as we were before”, but we know that they are internally excluded, so often our Roma pupils are only going to school for three hours a day within the school.183
130. Schools have responsibilities to support and educate young Roma people. Internal and informal exclusions of Roma children should not be used as a mechanism to improve exclusion rates. Ofsted should actively inspect schools for signs of Roma students being internally or informally excluded.
131. Ofsted also found that, while Roma children could integrate well into school life, “exceptionally low starting points” meant that attainment could remain low throughout their school years.184 Ofsted found that dedicated and knowledgeable senior leaders in local authorities could help to drive up attainment and that this needed to be coupled with specialist services within local authorities that could provide appropriate training to schools.185 These proposed solutions are not new, but rather feel like a return to Traveller Education Services with added elements of commitment and motivation from senior leadership to make them effective. These recommendations would require implementation by individual local authorities. As our inquiry only extended to a small number of local authorities who gave evidence, it is difficult to ascertain how widely the recommendations have been taken up. We invited the Local Government Association to give evidence on this and other issues and were disappointed when they declined to give evidence on the basis that they had nothing to contribute to the inquiry.186
132. The UK’s exit from the EU has caused a lot of worry and uncertainty within the Roma community, as it has among other European migrant communities. Migration Yorkshire conducted a study that concluded that, while Roma people were concerned about what leaving the EU might mean for them, views were split between those that were considering leaving the UK permanently and those for whom the EU referendum result solidified their wish to stay.187 Michal Daniel of Derby Community Care told us that many Roma, himself included, were making back-up plans:
There is the feeling that no one knows what is going to happen, nothing is on the internet, so I probably should have, just in case, a back-up plan, so that if I have to leave the UK I will have somewhere to go. That is the intention other people might have as well.188
133. Some people we heard from expressed concern about future funding of Roma support projects that were previously funded by the EU and the future of the EU Roma Integration Strategy Framework and its application in a post-EU Britain.189 When asked about this in a Parliamentary Question, the Government said that:
We will continue to advance Roma integration within broader social inclusion and integration policies, and champion race equality at international level in a wide range of settings, collaborating with the Council of Europe and the United Nations.190
134. As we have already outlined, “broader social inclusion” has been ineffective in many cases. While the Government is replacing some of the funding through the Controlling Migration Fund, we nonetheless believe that the Government must commit to a comprehensive strategy, especially as leaving the EU provides the opportunity to explore ways of improving outcomes for Roma in a uniquely British way.
135. Another issue that poses additional challenges to Roma populations is the operation of the UK’s proposed EU Settlement Scheme. EU nationals who wish to remain in the UK after 30 June 2021 will need to apply for settled status.191 While this process causes anxiety among many migrant groups, the APPGs on Migration and Gypsies Travellers and Roma suggest that Roma people may be disproportionately affected because of mistrust of any registration schemes, difficulties with producing written evidence of their lives in the UK, literacy and numeracy problems and a general lack of awareness of their legal rights.192 In October 2018, the Government announced that it was testing how best to support people applying for the Settlement Scheme.193 One of the charities it is working with is the Roma Support Group to ensure that Roma needs are met. We recognise that the Government has heard the Roma community on the practical issues around the Settlement Scheme and is taking steps to address them. We await the results of this initial testing and expect the Government to publish the final evaluations and clarify how ongoing support will be provided.
136. Behaviour that amounts to either direct or indirect discrimination is widespread and is unacceptable in our society. We have heard that this behaviour and the way it influences public services is one of the underlying causes of many of the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. This chapter explores the issues around discrimination in public services and then goes on to consider hate crime against the Communities.
137. Gypsy, Roma and some Traveller people are protected against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 in England, Wales and Scotland and under the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997 in Northern Ireland. Romany Gypsies,194 Scottish Gypsy/Travellers195 and Irish Travellers196 have all been declared by the courts to be protected as “races” under the Equality Act 2010. However, at least two Traveller groups fall outside of these definitions and may therefore not be protected against discrimination: Showpeople and New (or New Age) Travellers. Roma are also an ‘ethnic group’ in terms of the law, and therefore protected by equality legislation. In addition to the Equality Act’s prohibition of discrimination, section 149 of the Act provides that public authorities are, in the exercise of their functions, required to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons with protected characteristics and those that do not share them.197 Where exercising relevant functions (e.g. education and health provision), public authorities are required to have due regard to this duty.
138. Throughout this inquiry, as well as hearing of explicit incidents of discrimination in goods and services, we also heard about discrimination by public services, some explicit and some indirect. While it may be uncommon to find service providers that explicitly state that they will not accept Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, witnesses have told us that barriers are often placed so as to make it very difficult for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to access them. Clinks, an organisation working with prisoners, told us about barriers to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller prisoners who have low literacy levels:
Services in prison are requested through a written form, leaving illiterate prisoners to rely on other prisoners to access any healthcare, education, housing or employment services. Similarly, access to services and employment post-release in the community often relies on a good level of literacy, creating additional barriers to desistance from crime.198
139. While our witnesses spoke about the need to ensure that front-line staff were not discriminating, several described the problem as more structural, leading service providers to stereotype the Communities, consciously or otherwise. Jim Davis of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Police Association described it as:
We are linking Gypsy and Traveller ethnicity with problems in a way that we do not do with any other ethnic group. By doing that, we are negatively labelling Gypsies and Travellers.199
140. We heard how this may play out in practice when taking evidence from Operation Liberal, a police unit based in the East Midlands that deals with “serious and organised acquisitive criminality”.200 Sergeant Gary Ogden, representing Operation Liberal told us that the unit does not collect the ethnicities of potential offenders but also stated that “Ninety per cent may be from Gypsy and Traveller Communities”.201 The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Police Association was concerned that the materials that Operation Liberal were using referred to Travellers as “the global money-making web of Ireland’s millionaire Travellers” and that this was encouraging officers to tar every Traveller with the same brush.202 Libby McVeigh from the EHRC told us that she believes that this is indicative of a wider problem of a failure to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty to have due regard to the need to foster good relations between communities.203 We do not believe that the police are the only public service that is guilty of this failure, but we do feel that they provide a stark example of how a culture of stereotyping can lead organisations to treat Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in a discriminatory manner.
141. We have heard too many incidents of discrimination from service providers to conclude that these are isolated cases. Public services should consider this report a reminder of their duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty and that discrimination can be structural as well as overt.
142. As we heard from Libby McVeigh, there is widespread evidence that public services are failing to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty, whether through making assumptions about the educational potential of a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller person,204 refusing to record their ethnicity in any meaningful way,205 or by leaving the Communities out of policy documents that drive local agendas.206
143. Jim Davis of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Policy Association told us that he felt that part of the problem was ignorance of the implications of the PSED for public service providers:
Certainly within the police, I suspect—certainly it is my experience when I worked there—that most police officers on the ground really did not have an understanding of what that duty was. They probably linked it more to individual bigotry—you can’t say racist things about people—rather than understanding to look at organisational behaviours and procedures and auditing them in terms of the effect they have.207
However, Libby McVeigh argued that change needed to come from a proper review of public services’ “objectives and outcomes” so that structural change is achieved.208 She argued that, if these structural changes were made then “everybody, at the frontline or not, would be aware of the need to prioritise those issues” and thus the inequalities would be resolved.209 While this strategy may be theoretically sound, we feel that there must be more practical steps that public bodies could take and that an awareness of the PSED and the duties under it would be a good start.
144. Some of the Ministerial Working Group commitments related to training, including a report produced by Allied Health Solutions that recommended that:
The government departments of England and national organisations should set out a work programme to ensure that healthcare professionals have appropriate skills, attitudes and understanding of the health issues facing vulnerable groups.210
HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) reported to the Government that the equality guidance given to prison officers had been improved as a response to the Ministerial Working Group,211 but this was criticised by Clinks, a charity working with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller prisoners, as seemingly having little effect on levels of discrimination.212 Fiona Parker of the Youth Custody Service told us that, as a result of the Lammy Review on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic inequalities in the justice system, she was putting more of a focus on specialist training:
[We are] developing that reflective practice approach so that we do not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. There is a lot of learning that we want to develop and share over the years ahead.213
145. Gary Ogden of Operation Liberal told us that much of the problem is that frontline officers are only given basic training on equality issues at the start of their careers and that this is never repeated.214 However, we are struck by how the training seems to focus on how to prevent frontline staff from behaving in an overtly discriminatory manner, rather than tackling the roots of the problem. Training on the Public Sector Equality Duty is rare, although it is the responsibility of every person working in the public sector to ensure they are compliant.
146. Jim Davis also told us that the role of senior leaders stepping up and championing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities can make more difference than any other measure. He told us that this had happened in his previous force, Thames Valley Police:
The assistant chief constable at the time came out publicly and said, “We have to be honest and say that we have not got this right up until now,” and made a commitment to change. That had an enormous effect on the culture within Thames Valley—it is not perfect, but it is a lot better than it was—and the relationship with its Gypsy and Traveller populations. Just that one thing of taking ownership made a big difference.215
147. We received no evidence that senior leaders in public services were being trained in how to change the structures of their organisations to make them comply with the PSED and we feel that this is what may be needed. Change must come from the top, as well as the bottom.
148. While we heard mixed evidence about the effectiveness of training, we believe that training can be effective if it goes beyond “awareness raising” and trains frontline staff on their duties under the Equality Act as well as on cultural competence. We also believe that what has been lacking in some of these organisations is a zero-tolerance approach from organisation leaders. We recommend that senior leaders in all public service bodies be trained in the Public Sector Equality Duty and that each body have a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller “champion”, similar to the role that exists in the National Police Chiefs Council.
149. Evidence that we have taken on other inquiries shows how difficult it is for individuals to enforce their rights under the Equality Act.216 For Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, this challenge is even more acute, due to low levels of literacy, English language skills and ability to navigate a complex legal system. Our evidence suggests that this is compounded by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people seeing discrimination as a “fact of life” that they should simply accept.217 We were told that the EHRC had provided a grant for a short-term project that trained Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in enforcing their equality rights, but that this funding ended after less than four months.218 Again, this is evidence of short-term, piecemeal interventions that are unsustained, if well-intentioned.
150. It is regrettable that many in the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities feel that discrimination is inevitable, and they must tolerate it. The Government should work with community organisations to train Gypsy, Roma and Traveller individuals to understand their rights, identify discrimination and to give them the tools to take legal action to challenge discrimination.
151. Hate incidents and hate crimes are recorded by the police according to one of five strands. Hate incidents against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people are recorded under the “race” strand and official statistics are not broken down to show which racial group is being targeted.219 However, Josie O’Driscoll from GATE Herts, a charity organisation that acts as a third-party reporter of hate crime, told us that they had recorded 420 hate incidents against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people since 2016, with 284 relating to incidents that occurred online.220 Both Deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick, the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller lead for the National Police Chief’s Council and Josie O’Driscoll of GATE Herts told us that they believe that the numbers that were being recorded were a huge under-estimate.221
152. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people who experience a hate incident have a choice to report it directly to their local police force, to report it to GATE Herts222 or report it through True Vision, the Government’s online reporting portal.223 Improving and developing the True Vision site so that it would cater better for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people was one of the commitments made by the Ministerial Working Group in 2012.224 The Government reported that it had created a downloadable poster to encourage the Communities to report hate crime and also a specific page on the website for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.225 However, the National Federation of Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Groups told us that it was still difficult for individuals to fill in the form, saying that the website is “word heavy and difficult to negotiate”.226 The Government announced in the Hate Crime Action Plan review that the NPCC would be refreshing the True Vision website in the coming year to make it more user-friendly.227 The APPG on Traveller Law Reform recommended that a reporting mechanism be developed by the Communities themselves to ensure that reporting is encouraged.228
153. We welcome the Government’s commitment to updating the True Vision website to make it more user-friendly and look forward to seeing a website that encourages Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, who might struggle with literacy or digital skills, to report incidents of hate crime.
154. The issue of trust was raised by witnesses in relation to reporting, due to the relationship between Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and the police. Deputy Chief Constable McCormick categorised it in this way:
If you, as a child, always see the police in a negative light because the only time we come to see you is when we are moving you on, when there is probably conflict between a settled community and a Traveller community and, frankly, probably crimes on both sides—hate crime on one side, and maybe damage on the other—and we are adjudicating that, then you will be brought up distrusting the police. It does not matter how much we go in there with a positive light; we are balancing the very emotive tensions between two communities.229
She described the work that needed to be done to build trust as a “big mountain to climb”.230
155. Josie O’Driscoll told us about training GATE Herts has been delivering to police forces and highlighted the fact that, often, the only time that the police come into contact with Gypsy and Traveller communities is when there is an unauthorised encampment, which, she said, colours the views of police officers towards the Communities.231 Deputy Chief Constable McCormick told us that she was encouraging the use of liaison officers, who would visit caravan sites regularly, so that when an incident occurred, they were already familiar to the residents:
This is about having confidence that the person you are going to speak to is going to understand the issues and believe you.232
As a stopgap measure, we feel that it is important that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people can report hate incidents to trusted bodies such as GATE Herts. The current issue around third-party reporting organisations is that they are very localised (GATE Herts in Hertfordshire and Traveller Movement in London) and so, if a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller person is a victim in Derbyshire or Cornwall and does not have access to the internet or written materials, they are effectively excluded from being able to report.
156. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government told us that it had provided £27,500 of funding to GATE Herts in 2018/19 and £35,000 to Traveller Movement in 2017/18 for specific hate crime awareness projects, although these projects are mostly about encouraging reporting rather than facilitating it.233
157. The Home Office should work with GATE Herts, with a view to creating more physical reporting sites, and should train community organisations to encourage Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to report hate crime when it occurs.
158. There is very little data on the extent of domestic abuse and violence against women and girls in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, but we have heard from agencies and individuals that this is a serious and long-standing problem, at least in Gypsy and Traveller communities. Janie Codona of One Voice 4 Travellers, a domestic abuse charity, estimated such abuse was experienced by as many as 75 per cent of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women, at some point in their lives.234 Win Lawlor of Irish Community Care felt that patterns of abuse tended to follow family lines, meaning that, in some families, abuse is the accepted norm whereas in some it is non-existent.235
159. We heard from both experts and Gypsy and Traveller women with experience of domestic abuse directly and the stories they told were harrowing. Abuse can begin early and last years and when women try to flee, there are often significant barriers to overcome. Janie Codona told us that the reason that abuse continues to be undetected is because very few women feel able to report.236 She also told us that women feel that marriage is for life and, if a marriage breaks down, women can be ostracised not just from their family but from the wider community:
There are some now who are brave enough to walk away from a relationship, and many of those have to move outside the community. They have to go and live in bricks-and-mortar accommodation, because of the fear that, if they stay within the community, they are still able to be under the ruling of this perpetrator—if not directly by him, by his extended family.237
One woman we spoke to told us about her experience of trying to get a divorce:
When I decided to leave my husband, I had to leave maybe 5,000 family members behind as well because, when I applied for a divorce, that was it: “You have made your bed; you lie in it. You are bringing shame on the family. Your daughters are now going to be punished for what is going on. You are now a dirty woman”.238
160. Kim White, a retired police officer, told us that, in some cases, women and girls have been brought up to believe that they are the property of their husband and therefore do not recognise abuse when it occurs:
A lot of these women are brought up to believe that it is their husband’s right to have sex with them whenever they want. If they have grown up in a home like that, it automatically reflects on them.239
161. However, some of our witnesses felt that there has been a generational shift in how Gypsy and Traveller people behave in relationships.240 Kim White felt that the situation may be changing for the better:
I am finding that the girls are getting more in control of their lives. They have found a voice. […] Once her husband has laid a hand on her, she is saying, “Right, that is it. I am off. Enough is enough”.241
162. In relation to Roma, we received very little evidence at all. All our witnesses agreed that they had never come across a Roma woman who had fled an abusive home, but this may be because they work predominantly with Gypsy and Traveller women.242 The Roma Support Group told us that barriers to Roma women leaving abusive relationships could be severe:
There is a corresponding difficulty in accessing other services including domestic violence support, including the ability to have an empowered interaction with children’s services. This is especially lacking under current welfare rights of EEA nationals and the case of single mothers without a UK work history. While experiencing the need to escape abusive partners or faced with homelessness after the breakdown of a relationship, Roma women have been threatened with having to either accept coach or plane tickets back to their country of origin or being made street homeless (with the subsequent threat of having their children removed from their care).243
As with other issues, Roma women in these circumstances seem to have more in common with other EU migrant groups than with British Gypsy and Traveller women.
163. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Women who are trying to leave abusive homes face barriers that go beyond those that non-Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women experience. Gypsy and Traveller women often lose their extended community network when a relationship ends. While this can be due to ostracisation, it is also likely that a woman will be living either on a site or very near to her extended family and, if she needs to leave her home, she will need to be housed far away for her own safety. One woman told us:
As a Traveller woman, you do not have the support of family. [If you leave] you lose your community and you lose who you are because you are leaving everything you have ever known and everyone behind.244
164. When informal support networks are absent, women must turn to external agencies for help. Several women we spoke to found support from a particular social worker who they trusted. However, the women expressed a general mistrust of social services, a view we heard repeated throughout the inquiry.245 This often manifested in the fear that, if a woman were to approach social services for help, she risked having her children taken into care. One of the women we spoke to told us:
I think social services are one of the biggest barriers in why Traveller women are not asking for help or not trying to break free. You have to stay at home, be a punch bag and cover up your bruises in order to keep your children. That is how Traveller women feel.246
165. The police were also seen as untrustworthy by witnesses, although some had had good experiences of support.247 For the most part, witnesses identified particular individual as “trusted” and therefore providing the best support.248 These were people who had “cultural awareness”.249 The women strongly felt that what would make the biggest difference to support given to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women was having a “key worker”250 who understood the specific needs that they had and would not ask “intrusive questions” in a way that the women found offensive and confusing. One woman said:
It would really help: that one person who you can tell everything to, and who can also help you and explain to you. It is just a person you trust.251
While most women said that they wanted to be supported by people who understood the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, this was not universal. One woman said that she had been offered a place in a refuge that was not involved in the Gypsy and Traveller community, and that this gave her the distance that she needed from her community.252 This was a view echoed by Win Lawlor, who said:
We find that, if somebody from the Gypsy Traveller community is in a refuge, no other Gypsy or Traveller is accepted in that refuge […] I was explained why that situation was, and it was simply because a sister, cousin or family member of the male abuser would be asked to go into the refuge to check that she was in there, which meant that every single Traveller woman in there was unsafe, because that information would get back out.253
166. Although our witnesses identified good practice both from some local authorities and charities, it was often the case that funding was short-term and relied on unpaid work by individuals going above and beyond their jobs. One social worker, for instance, would visit all the sites in his area and, in addition to this, ran a football team for the boys on site.254 Janie Codona explained the challenges she encountered while trying to run a small, local charity:
We get a lot of referrals. They are referred on to us and that is it: “We have referred this person on to you” and, there you are, left with the person, but you do not get the support that you need with that person. Your funds are limited. You have two or three-year funding, or funding for one county but not the other, so you are forever thinking, “What can we do with this person under this present funding stream?”255
Win Lawlor expressed a similar frustration, saying also that public bodies expected charities and volunteer organisations to take on their case loads:
We always find that statutory agencies such as youth offending, health or mental health step back and leave us with that person.256
167. Support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women fleeing violence must provide women with viable and sustainable options to keep them safe. Organisations with strong records of working with and for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are the obvious choice to provide such services, although we note that some women may choose to use non-Traveller services instead. The funding for these services is currently short-term and unsustainable, however, and does not provide Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women with the safety they need.
168. Local authorities should ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women have access to a single, trusted contact who provides them with the information and support they need. Should this contact be from a charitable organisation, local authorities must ensure that the organisation has sufficient funding to sustain the necessary support.
169. It is only by understanding the root causes of violence against women and girls that such violence can be prevented. As discussed above, the women we talked to spoke about the non-consensual attitudes that their abusers took towards them. The professionals who spoke to us suggested that part of the problem was isolation and family relationships that excluded understanding of what might constitute unacceptable, or, indeed, criminal behaviour on the part of male family members. Janie Codona told us that the feeling that women must be subservient to men can be so strong that it can lead to children abusing their mother:
Particularly within the Gypsy Traveller community, where they split from a partner, it is more likely that, if they have an older son, he could and does take on the mantle: “I am the head of the household and what I say goes”. There is this child-parent abuse.257
The women we spoke to were keen to emphasise that not all men in Gypsy and Traveller communities are abusers and that they felt that their ethnicity was incidental. One woman told us:
Not all travelling men are like that. Most men carry their wives. We were just the unlucky ones. We ended up with an animal; well, mine was anyway. What your community is does not matter, whether you are gorger258 or Muslim, if you marry that one bad person and he is evil.259
Nonetheless, the women also recognised the patterns of behaviour that were leading to women in the Communities having very little power or freedom in their lives. One of the women told us:
Even when girls and boys are young, the girl is always at home. The girl has a very strict upbringing. You are not allowed off anywhere. Your brother is your boss. Your father is your boss. You are raised to babysit, clean and cook. This is what you are raised to do. You know where you are going. You know you are going to get married one day. Boys have that freedom and they have had always that power where they look after their sisters. They have a reputation to carry […] This is where it starts from a young age, where boys have that overall power, which triggers jealousy and everything else.260
170. When we asked about education and the role that this plays in the attitudes that are formed in young people about gender roles, the group disagreed. Some thought that there was no way to educate boys and that only girls and women would be able to protect each other through knowledge and understanding,261 while some thought it was “worth a try” to work with all genders.262 Kim White, a former police officer, said that she found it much more difficult to “get through to young boys” in her work on domestic abuse. She told us that male police officers found it equally difficult.263
171. Witnesses spoke of various programmes trying to prevent domestic abuse in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, from Kim White’s informal method of chatting to women at the school gates264 to formal, funded projects such as Leeds GATE’s project that involved working with both men and women.265 While Kim White was sceptical of the idea of engaging men, she believed that beginning to have conversations about “healthy relationships”266 with boys as young as five or six years old might be effective.267 However, sustainable funding was seen as a barrier to successful interventions, especially given that, as Win Lawlor stated, programmes needed to be delivered by “trusted people”.268 The work that our predecessor committee has done on sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools suggested that working with both girls and boys from as early an age as possible can be effective in embedding positive relationship messages.269
172. A lack of awareness of consent culture and healthy relationships is leading to domestic abuse in young Gypsy and Traveller people’s lives. Both boys and girls need to be taught what abuse is and how to challenge it. All primary schools in England should ensure that they have lessons on consent and respect included in relationship education and these messages should continue through into secondary school. Gypsy and Traveller organisations should be among groups involved in the development of these classes and could, where appropriate, deliver the lessons.
173. We have heard of effective work that community organisations are doing working with Gypsy and Traveller men and women to challenge outdated attitudes towards women. The Home Office should work with these organisations with a view to funding similar programmes across the country.
1. While the number of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in the UK may be small compared to other ethnic groups, the Government’s commitment to race equality must reach even the most disenfranchised. The recommendations in this report, while focused on the communities we have spoken to, may also provide solutions to inequalities found in other groups. (Paragraph 9)
2. Leadership from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on tackling inequalities in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities has been lacking. The situation is made worse by the Government’s ongoing resistance to cross-departmental strategies on race equality issues including for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The Government must have a clear and effective plan to support these communities that is equal to the level of the challenges they face. (Paragraph 37)
3. We recommend that the Cabinet Office create a specific workstream within the Race Disparity Unit for eliminating Gypsy and Traveller inequalities. The Unit should work closely across Government departments to ensure that the “explain or change” process is completed promptly and that every Government department has a strategy to tackle Gypsy and Traveller inequalities that are uncovered. Each department should have a strategy in place before the end of 2019. Because of a lack of statistical data, disparities that have been uncovered in academic research must be incorporated into this work and included as part of the Race Disparity Audit programme. (Paragraph 41)
4. It is disappointing that a successful pilot project was not rolled out nationally as this is a waste of time and resources. It is unclear to us how current pilot projects will be evaluated. There is no evidence to suggest that knowledge is being shared on a larger scale. Improved leadership is required to ensure that good practice is seized before the lessons are lost. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government should therefore write to us when the pilot projects are complete setting out the conclusion from the evaluations of the pilot projects, stating which ones are will be taken forward, and setting out the Department’s plan and timescales. (Paragraph 44)
5. The lack of consistent data collection on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people means that public bodies are failing to tackle inequalities that are clearly evidenced in academic research and in work being carried out by grassroots organisations. Some good practice exists within education regarding data collection and we see no reason why this cannot be rolled out across all public services. (Paragraph 48)
6. Gypsy, Irish Traveller and Roma categories should be added to the NHS data dictionary as a matter of urgency. (Paragraph 49)
7. The Race Disparity Unit should review all the Government and public datasets that currently do not use the 2011 census ethnicity classifications and require their use before the end of 2019. (Paragraph 50)
8. Even when categories are available for public services to record Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ethnicities, there is a fear by the Communities that disclosing this information will lead to discrimination. In order for this to change, trust must be built between data-collectors and the Communities. (Paragraph 52)
9. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should work with grassroots Gypsy, Roma and Traveller organisations to formulate a wide-ranging campaign to explain the importance of collecting such data and to encourage self-disclosure. (Paragraph 53)
10. It is intolerable that any child should not be receiving a suitable education. Many parents, schools and local authorities are letting down Gypsy and Traveller children. The first priority for the Government, local authorities and Ofsted must be to ensure that the legal right to an education is not denied to any child, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children. Home education should be a positive, informed choice, not a reaction to either a poor school environment or family expectations. (Paragraph 65)
11. The Department for Education should carry out a complete audit of all local authorities to ensure that they have robust policies and procedures on children potentially missing from education, as required by section 436A of the Education Act 2006 and the Government’s own “Children Missing Education Guidance”. Any local authorities that are found to have inadequate processes should be required to remedy them within six months of the audit. The audit should also inspect the procedures that authorities have in place for ensuring that home educated children are receiving a “suitable” education, including effective mechanisms for taking action under section 437 of the Education Act. (Paragraph 66)
12. The need for reform affects all home educated children but Gypsy and Traveller children are more likely to be withdrawn from education. We agree with Children’s Commissioner that families that are home educating need more oversight from local authorities. We also recommend that council officers should be given the power and have the duty to visit children being home educated at least once per school term to assess the suitability of their education. Education should only be deemed “suitable” if it provides equal life chances to boys and girls and gives all children the necessary tools to decide on their own futures as adults. (Paragraph 67)
13. While we understand that the ContactPoint database was abandoned due to data protection concerns, we feel that technology and the law has moved on. A new database would allow schools to support children who move between councils and ensure the continuity of their education. (Paragraph 70)
14. The Government should consider piloting a pupil passport scheme with rapid evaluation to ensure that, should it be successful, it can be rolled out as quickly as possible. At the same time, the Department for Education should explore how such a scheme could be implemented across England and what the budgetary implications would be. Such a scheme would ensure that when children move schools or move into home education, their records and history travel with them. (Paragraph 71)
15. Schools have a duty to ensure that no group is discriminated against and that they are challenging any inequality and stereotypes that students encounter. They have a duty to ensure that no one is bullied on the basis of their ethnicity while ensuring that children of all genders are enabled to thrive throughout their education. (Paragraph 76)
16. Schools should, as part of their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty, be challenging race and gender stereotypes wherever they encounter them. Ofsted should ensure that inspectors are actively inspecting schools for gender and racial stereotyping or signs of sexism or racism from either pupils or staff. (Paragraph 77)
17. We have heard compelling evidence that the education of boys and girls in Gypsy and Traveller communities is heavily gendered, with boys being removed from school to join their fathers in business and girls being removed to look after younger children and to become homemakers. While all young people from Gypsy and Traveller communities may be affected by this, we have spoken to girls and women for whom life chances are particularly limited. However, we have also heard that this situation is changing, with more young women going onto further and higher education. We nonetheless believe that young women from Gypsy and Traveller communities are not able to fulfil their potential and that they are experiencing discrimination by being prevented from accessing education. (Paragraph 81)
18. The Department for Education draft guidance for relationship and sex education in secondary schools makes it clear that the teaching should include an understanding of the religious and cultural context of the children in the school. It also includes the “right to withdraw” a child from sex education classes, should the parent choose to do so. It does not, however, give parents the right to withdraw their children from education entirely. All children benefit from age-appropriate relationship and sex education, but more needs to be done to ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents do not remove their children from school because of an objection to it. Schools must have a plan for how to have constructive conversations with parents to explain to them the benefits of relationship and sex education in a way that is reassuring. (Paragraph 82)
19. Schools have a duty to proactively plan for how they will have conversations with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents about what relationship and sex education involves and what parents’ options are for their children, short of removing them from school. These plans should be explicit and Ofsted should take them into account during inspections and assess schools accordingly. (Paragraph 83)
20. There are multiple organisations in other fields that provide role models to speak and work with schools to foster good relations between groups. The Government should increase the capacity of these organisation to provide similar support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller role models. (Paragraph 87)
21. Joint Strategic Needs Assessments that include proper consideration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller needs are few and far between. We are concerned that many JSNAs are currently not complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty. It is unacceptable that the Communities continue to be overlooked, given that they have the poorest health outcomes of any ethnic group. (Paragraph 94)
22. The Equality and Human Rights Commission should conduct a formal inquiry under section 16 of the Equality Act 2006 into how Joint Strategic Needs Assessments are including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller health needs. (Paragraph 95)
23. The CQC should expand the programme “Experts by Experience” to look at equalities issues and should include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people who have the best knowledge of where unequal treatment may be taking place. (Paragraph 98)
24. The NHS Long Term Plan provides welcome clarity on the future of the NHS in England. We are pleased to see mention of NHS England’s duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty. This must be an opportunity to direct resources towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities who have the worst health outcomes of any ethnic group. (Paragraph 100)
25. The new assessment of needs for CCG resource allocation should include an explicit section for CCGs to outline the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in their local areas. This need should be taken into account by NHS England when it is allocating funding to CCGs. (Paragraph 102)
26. We agree that services should be accessible to all. It is not enough to rely on individuals who have the trust of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to deliver all their health services. We believe that the NHS Long Term Plan, with its emphasis on maternity services, can provide a useful vehicle for engagement and dissemination of public health messages to the Communities. (Paragraph 105)
27. Maternity and antenatal care provide an opportunity for healthcare staff to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women. NHS England should consider training maternity staff and pre-natal staff to enquire about, signpost and refer to services that may also be beneficial to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women, including immunisation, dental services, mental health services and sexual health checks. (Paragraph 107)
28. Poor conditions and sanitation on Traveller sites are contributing to the poor health of Gypsy and Traveller families, including many children. Local authorities have powers under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 to attach conditions to licenses for caravan sites if it is in the interest of the people living on the site. Clearly conditions that every site should have basic amenities such as water and electricity are in the best interests of the residents. (Paragraph 110)
29. Local authorities should inspect every existing private Traveller site in their area to map which have access to a minimum standard of basic amenities and which do not. For those that do not, local authorities should place conditions upon the license to ensure that these measures are put in place or consider revoking licenses that do not comply with these conditions. This solution does not address the problem that arises when it is the local authority itself that owns the site. For this, we recommend that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government explore methods by which local authorities can be held to account for their own sites. (Paragraph 111)
30. We welcome the Government’s planned inclusion of Roma as an ethnic classification in the 2021 census. The next challenge will be to ensure that community engagement is sufficient to ensure that the data collected is robust and can inform local authority policy on Roma issues. (Paragraph 115)
31. The historical approach that the UK Government has taken to the EU Roma Framework is lacking in focus and has yielded little to no positive outcomes for Roma communities. The pilot projects being run through the Controlling Migration Fund are a welcome development. However, the Government must properly evaluate all the pilots and explicitly state how each successful project will be rolled out. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should produce a full final report of all the projects and include clear decisions on which pilots were unsuccessful and should end and which were successful. The Ministry should commit to implementing any successful projects nationally. (Paragraph 118)
32. While for some areas, the Controlling Migration Fund will help to improve outcomes, the Government cannot rely on general policies to address the specific challenges that Roma communities face. Central Government must provide leadership and support to local authorities with large Roma populations. (Paragraph 120)
33. Selective licensing seems to be effective in areas in which it operates, as it provides a mechanism for councils to regulate the housing in their area and ensure that people are not living in unacceptably poor accommodation. Roma communities are especially vulnerable to exploitation, so would particularly benefit. However, this is a scheme that is not widely used, so Roma and other communities are not adequately protected. (Paragraph 123)
34. All Local Authorities that have Roma populations should consider the use of selective licensing to prevent exploitation in the private rented sector. (Paragraph 124)
35. These pilot schemes are welcome, but we seek reassurances from the Government that they will be properly evaluated and, should they be successful, that they will be rolled out across all areas in which Roma people may live. (Paragraph 126)
36. The Government should therefore ensure that Roma children arriving from outside the UK are identified quickly and ensure that the Pupil Premium reaches the school no more than one school term after a child has registered. (Paragraph 127)
37. Schools have responsibilities to support and educate young Roma people. Internal and informal exclusions of Roma children should not be used as a mechanism to improve exclusion rates. Ofsted should actively inspect schools for signs of Roma students being internally or informally excluded. (Paragraph 130)
38. We recognise that the Government has heard the Roma community on the practical issues around the Settlement Scheme and is taking steps to address them. We await the results of this initial testing and expect the Government to publish the final evaluations and clarify how ongoing support will be provided. (Paragraph 135)
39. We have heard too many incidents of discrimination from service providers to conclude that these are isolated cases. Public services should consider this report a reminder of their duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty and that discrimination can be structural as well as overt. (Paragraph 141)
40. We received no evidence that senior leaders in public services were being trained in how to change the structures of their organisations to make them comply with the PSED and we feel that this is what may be needed. Change must come from the top, as well as the bottom. (Paragraph 147)
41. While we heard mixed evidence about the effectiveness of training, we believe that training can be effective if it goes beyond “awareness raising” and trains frontline staff on their duties under the Equality Act as well as on cultural competence. We also believe that what has been lacking in some of these organisations is a zero-tolerance approach from organisation leaders. We recommend that senior leaders in all public service bodies be trained in the Public Sector Equality Duty and that each body have a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller “champion”, similar to the role that exists in the National Police Chiefs Council. (Paragraph 148)
42. It is regrettable that many in the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities feel that discrimination is inevitable, and they must tolerate it. The Government should work with community organisations to train Gypsy, Roma and Traveller individuals to understand their rights, identify discrimination and to give them the tools to take legal action to challenge discrimination. (Paragraph 150)
43. We welcome the Government’s commitment to updating the True Vision website to make it more user-friendly and look forward to seeing a website that encourages Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, who might struggle with literacy or digital skills, to report incidents of hate crime. (Paragraph 153)
44. As a stopgap measure, we feel that it is important that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people can report hate incidents to trusted bodies such as GATE Herts. The current issue around third-party reporting organisations is that they are very localised (GATE Herts in Hertfordshire and Traveller Movement in London) and so, if a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller person is a victim in Derbyshire or Cornwall and does not have access to the internet or written materials, they are effectively excluded from being able to report. (Paragraph 155)
45. The Home Office should work with GATE Herts, with a view to creating more physical reporting sites, and should train community organisations to encourage Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people to report hate crime when it occurs. (Paragraph 157)
46. Support for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women fleeing violence must provide women with viable and sustainable options to keep them safe. Organisations with strong records of working with and for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are the obvious choice to provide such services, although we note that some women may choose to use non-Traveller services instead. The funding for these services is currently short-term and unsustainable, however, and does not provide Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women with the safety they need. (Paragraph 167)
47. Local authorities should ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women have access to a single, trusted contact who provides them with the information and support they need. Should this contact be from a charitable organisation, local authorities must ensure that the organisation has sufficient funding to sustain the necessary support. (Paragraph 168)
48. A lack of awareness of consent culture and healthy relationships is leading to domestic abuse in young Gypsy and Traveller people’s lives. Both boys and girls need to be taught what abuse is and how to challenge it. All primary schools in England should ensure that they have lessons on consent and respect included in relationship education and these messages should continue through into secondary school. Gypsy and Traveller organisations should be among groups involved in the development of these classes and could, where appropriate, deliver the lessons. (Paragraph 172)
49. We have heard of effective work that community organisations are doing working with Gypsy and Traveller men and women to challenge outdated attitudes towards women. The Home Office should work with these organisations with a view to funding similar programmes across the country. (Paragraph 173)
Progress so far
Dept for Education
1. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils are specifically highlighted as a vulnerable group in the revised Ofsted framework.
An explicit reference to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils now appears in the Evaluation Schedule, which guides inspectors in judging the quality of education provided by schools.
Published in time for April 2012 report.
The current version of Ofsted’s school inspection handbook (Sept 2014) can be accessed here:
2. We will pilot a Virtual Head Teacher for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils in a small number of local authorities. Funding will be allocated to each authority for the appointment of a senior dedicated individual to champion the interests of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils across the authority and to monitor and respond to issues of low attainment and attendance.
Two local authorities (Kent and Cambridgeshire) appointed Virtual Head Teachers with a strategic role in the council, focussing on monitoring attainment and fostering school-to-school collaboration. Both authorities ran a number of school level projects designed to improve outcomes of pupils.
The authorities published the outcome of their work in October 2014. This has been shared with the Department’s Education Stakeholder Group, and a link has been sent to all local authorities in England.
Links to the work are below:
3. To tackle poor attendance at school, we intend to look again at the impact of legislation that under certain circumstances protects mobile Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families from prosecution for their children’s non-attendance at school. This will be done in parallel with a review of statutory guidance.
The Department for Education consulted on the repeal of section 444(6) of the Education Act 1996. The formal consultation period ended in February 2013.
Consideration of the best approach to addressing the poor attendance of occupationally mobile pupils is ongoing.
4. In response to the unacceptably high levels of exclusion among Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils, we will take steps to assess the impact of school-based commissioning, alternative provision and early intervention on the most vulnerable pupil groups.
The Department for Education ran a three year school exclusion trial, which ended in July 2014.
A full report on the exclusion trial was published in July 2014:
5. The results of an Ofsted survey on prejudiced-based bullying, which will pick up bullying of minority pupils, will be published next year.
Ofsted published its report, which includes a reference to Traveller pupils.
Ofsted published its report, No place for bullying, in June 2012.
6. We will collect and publish brief case studies from the highest performing schools for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils, to find out from them what lies behind their success.
The Department for Education has published case studies and disseminated case studies from the Virtual Headteachers work (see above)
The case studies were published in September 2014
Dept of Health
7. We will work with the National Inclusion Health Board, the NHS, local government and others to identify what more must be done to include the needs of Gypsies and Travellers in the commissioning of health services.
Gypsy and Traveller organisations presented to the National Inclusion Health Board on two occasions.
The Royal Colleague of General Practitioners was commissioned to produce a guide for clinical commission groups and GPs on commissioning for social excluded groups.
The guide was published in September 2013.
8. We will explore how health and wellbeing boards can be supported to ensure that the needs of Gypsies and Travellers with the worst health outcomes are better reflected in Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies.
Department of Health undertook a review of all Joint Strategic Needs Assessments current at April 2013 to provide a benchmark. This has been shared with Gypsy and Traveller organisations to facilitate transparency and support local challenge.
Department of Health has funded Friends, Families and Travellers and Leeds GATE to deliver the “National Gypsy and Traveller Health Inclusion Project”, a three year programme of work, ending in 2015, to encourage and support greater recognition of the needs of Gypsies and Travellers in local assessment, planning and commissioning of health services. An early outcome is a cost benefit analysis ‘Gypsy and Traveller Health-Who Pays?’ which makes the case for early, appropriate, intervention to improve health outcomes for these communities.
Published August 2013.
9. We will work with the UCL Institute of Health Equity and the Inclusion Health working groups to identify gaps in data and research, and look to identify the specific interventions that produce positive health outcomes.
Department of Health commissioned the Institute at UCL to deliver a three-year programme to support the Inclusion Health programme. The Institute supported the Data and Research working group, which included a Gypsy and Traveller representative.
Department of Health has published three reports on this work. The Hidden Needs report, which looks at data and research for vulnerable groups.
The Inclusive Practice report, which looks at improving access to primary care and the associated summary of good practice.
Hidden Needs report published in March 2014.
Inclusive Practice report published 30 April 2014.
Good practice guide published 30 April 2014
10. We will work with the inclusion health working groups to identify what more needs to be done to improve maternal health, reduce infant mortality and increase immunisation rates.
Department of Health asked Gypsy and Traveller organisations to disseminate and “mystery shop” the new Information Service for Parents - an email and text message service which provides parents-to-be and new parents with quality assured information relevant to pregnancy and the first six months of a child’s life.
Department of Health funded the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain to deliver a three year “Gypsy Traveller Roma Maternity Advocacy and Engagement” project. This project worked with women from the Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities to address maternity care issues within their communities and to increase their knowledge base on infant care, access to services and awareness of rights and entitlements. The organisation estimate the project benefited at least 100,000 community members and developed an award winning DVD which is widely used for training across the country by health professionals.
11. We will work with the Inclusion Health Board to embed the Inclusion Health programme in training for all health professionals with the aim of developing a strong, stable and capable workforce that can drive change and make a difference to the lives and health outcomes of the most vulnerable.
Department of Health to publish two documents from the National Inclusion Health Board:
12. We will help Gypsy and Traveller representative groups showcase small private sites that are well presented and maintained.
DCLG contacted local authorities - around 30 responded suggesting possible sites for inclusion. We suggested ideas for this project to the Liaison Group, including a template case study document to help them to take the lead on this.
Discussions about this at DCLG Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Group, in November 2012.
13. The Government will continue to promote improved health outcomes for travellers through the planning system.
Wording on health is in the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (published in April 2012).
Planning policy published in April 2012.
14. We have published a new cross-Government hate crime action plan, setting out our vision and approach for tackling hate crime over the remainder of this Parliament.
Published a progress report of our achievements since the plan was published in March 2012. The report also identified key emerging issues and what the Government will do to tackle these.
Encouraging better reporting from communities, changes in police attitudes, better promotion of True Vision and data collection were identified as the key priorities to help build confidence within communities.
Hate Crime Action Plan progress report published May 2014.
15. We will promote better recording of all hate crimes. Helping us to target our work more effectively and help the police to better focus resources.
First set of Official Statistics on hate crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales in 2011/12 published by the Home Office in September 2012 and has been published annually since this time.
Publication also included information on the type of offences provided to the data hub by some forces.
‘An Overview of Hate Crime’ was published in October 2014 and includes information on the number of hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2013 to 2014. The bulletin covers the extent and trends in hate crime for all forces, with additional analysis based upon more detailed data supplied by 18 police forces on the types of offences and outcomes associated with hate crime.
16. The Association of Chief Police Officers will develop an information pack and self-reporting form specifically tailored for Gypsy and Traveller communities as part of its True Vision Website resource.
True Vision managers have worked with community liaison groups to develop products to encouraging reporting of hate crime from within the Gypsy and Traveller Communities. These include posters which have been created and circulated in communities.
The Police have recently sponsored two young amateur boxers from a Traveller community who will compete nationally in sportswear advertising True Vision and encouraging the reporting of hate crime. As will the media coverage of the sponsorship.
Posters available on the True Vision website:
17. The Association of Chief Police Officers will issue a refreshed Hate Crime Manual which will include specific guidance for police officers on working effectively with Gypsy and Traveller communities.
College of Policing Hate Crime Strategy and Operational Guidance were published in May 2014.
It has been downloaded more than 4,500 times.
Section 3.2.1. of the guidance specifically covers hate crime targeting Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities
Hate Crime Strategy and Operational Guidance published May 2014.
18. We will collect and publish local examples of what works in preventing and tackling hate crime for Community Safety Partnerships.
A call for expressions of interest was put out to community safety partnerships during the summer 2012 in order to identify local examples. We received expressions from local projects undertaking a variety of activities to tackle hate crime. We found that a large number of those local projects were yet to evaluate their projects. We continue to work with local areas to encourage them to evaluate their projects. We will publish examples that meet the effective practice framework standard on an ongoing basis.
Examples of good practice were published in the action plan progress report in May 2014.
MoJ / NOMS
19. The National Offender Management Service will monitor the population of Gypsies and Travellers in prison and under probation supervision, to ensure access to activities is appropriate and meets the needs of Gypsies and Travellers through their rehabilitation.
The prison case management system - NOMIS - has switched to 2011 census codes, and Gypsy Traveller Roma is now available as a category to new prisoners being received into prison. Data on existing prisoners can also be updated and prisons are working on this.
During 2013/14, the Service piloted various methods of increasing the declaration rates of protected characteristic from prisoners (this included the status of Gypsies and Travellers). It then published support for prisons in doing this and sent a senior leader message on the importance of this to all prisons. This saw the numbers of Gypsies and Traveller prisoners declaring their ethnicity almost double.
Awaiting publication in the NOMS Equality Report 13/14
20. The National Offender Management Service will regularly review the good practice guidance provided to staff on equality and diversity to ensure information and cultural awareness of Gypsy and Traveller culture is incorporated and adequately addresses the needs of Gypsy and Traveller offenders.
Good practice guidance, developed in partnership with NACRO, is available to staff on the NOMS intranet. The guidance comprises several annexes including ‘Myths and Facts’ and ‘A Brief History of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK’.
Issues of ‘Travellers in Prison News’, a newsletter published by the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain continue to be made available on the intranet.
NOMS has commissioned the airing of themed Prison Radio programmes which has been broadcasted in prisons
21. The National Offender Management Service will revise the equalities training provided to new entrant prison officers with an expectation that sessions on race equality will include Gypsy and Traveller issues and awareness.
A revised version of the equality and diversity training is being drafted. The current version includes a case study about a traveller prisoner.
22. The National Offender Management Service will introduce a cluster arrangement of prisons overseen by a Lead Governor who will have greater discretion to commission the offender learning and skills provision required locally to best meet the needs of the offenders they are managing.
Lead Governors and cluster Heads of Learning and Skills are in place across England.
Thenew Offenders Learning and Skills Service is now in place across all units of procurement.
23. We will provide personalised support to Gypsies and Travellers via the Work Programme and where needed, Gypsies and Travellers will have access to appropriate skills support.
Flexible, personalised support for jobseekers is available through the Work Programme and through the work focussed services offered by Jobcentre Plus.
24. We will include Gypsies and Travellers as a monitoring category in our IT, processing and management information systems with changes being made for the introduction of Universal Credit in 2013.
Monitoring categories in IT systems being developed for the roll-out of Universal Credit are based on the ethnicity categories used in the 2011 Census – and so include Gypsy or Irish Traveller as a distinct ethnic group.
Ethnicity information will be a compulsory field during data collection (although there will be a “prefer not to say” option).
25. We will improve internal guidance and staff awareness of Gypsies and Travellers as an ethnic group.
Internal staff guidance now includes easy-to-find information about Gypsy and Traveller issues, including background to the population, history and cultural traditions, as well as links to best practice, and to Gypsy Roma and Traveller organisations.
26. Gypsies and Travellers are now represented on the Department for Work and Pensions’ Ethnic Minority Advisory Group.
The Ethnic Minority Advisory Group has recently been reviewed and re-launched as the Ethnic Minority Employment Stakeholder Group, with a new chairman (Sandra Kerr), revised membership and refreshed terms of reference, focusing more closely on DWP’s work agenda. The new membership includes the Irish Traveller Movement, whose remit on the group is to represent the wider Gypsy and Traveller perspective.
DWP and DCLG
27. We will encourage measures to improve financial inclusion for Gypsies and Travellers.
The Department for Work and Pensions will continue to work across Government to ensure communities are aware of the services that credit unions offer.
DCLG co-ordinated a review of access to finance by ethnic minority businesses. The report will have some relevance to Gypsies and Travellers.
In January 2012, the Government brought a Legislative Reform Order into effect, to improve the environment in which credit unions operate.
Access to Finance report published in July 2013.
28. We will promote examples of good engagement between service providers and Gypsies and Travellers and other good practice through the Knowledge Hub website.
DCLG have put some examples on the Knowledge Hub website - mainly links to other sites focusing on site provision - for example, a local authority produced a welcome pack for Gypsies and Travellers moving on to local authority sites. We have also posted links to emerging work from other Departments.
The hub is open to others to also post links.
MHCLG provided Herts GATE with £27,500 in 2017/18 and £27 ,500 in 2018/19.
Herts GATE support victims of hate crime within Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and encourage the reporting of hate crime incidents.
Herts GATE also works with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across Hertfordshire to promote a better understanding of the history, culture and lifestyles of Gypsies and Travellers.
Herts GATE has a close relationship with several local voluntary sector organisations with a view to push the Gypsy/Traveller agenda.
#OperationReportHate is a campaign run by the Traveller Movement which aims to raise awareness within Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities about hate crime and the need to report it.
We provided £15,000 funding in 2016/17 and £35,000 in 2017/18.
True Vision is the Police hate crime recording portal. We have been supporting True Vision to increase the reporting of hate crime and to respond to hate crime in communities.
True Vision works with communities which are particularly vulnerable to hate crime, such as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
MHCLG provided True Vision with £90,000 in 2016/17 and £160,000 in 2017/18.
MHCLG provided £200,000 in 2018–19 to six pilot projects to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the areas of health, education and integration.
Lancaster: The Dukes - Peer-led educational programme
This project is developing a sustainable peer-led educational programme, specifically led by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people and parents. The project trains Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community influencers in facilitation, and develops an accredited (Arts Award) peer-led training programme. This enables young people and parents from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to deliver workshops to their peers, education providers and policy-makers to effect positive change.
The project also develops sustainable capacity within the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to support social integration, leadership, career skills development, positive attitudes to learning and academic performance. The project aims to highlight key recommendations to support ‘a charter for change’ in education, in order to support transition and retention in education throughout Lancashire and beyond. The project is also producing an educational film as a training resource .
Liverpool: Granby Toxteth Development Trust - Roma Education Aspiration Project (REAP)
This project aims to raise aspirations amongst Roma young people and their families by helping them to access educational and employment opportunities, whilst retaining their Roma values and culture. Working in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, the project is developing a programme for school years 10 to 13 (and their families) to enable young people to consider education and career options.
At the same time, the project works with schools to challenge expectations around the ability and progress of Roma students. The project aims to challenge stereotypes and break down barriers on all sides, inspiring schools, further and higher education establishments as well as employers to recognise the benefits of engaging with the Roma community. The project hopes this will result in higher educational attainment for Roma communities and therefore instil the belief in young Roma people that education is the key to their future prosperity.
Brighton: Friends, Families and Travellers - Health accreditations for the community
This project delivers accredited training in public health (Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) Level 1 Award in Health Awareness, RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Improvement and Understanding Behaviour Change) using an asset-based peer-support model. Friends, Families and Travellers already deliver this project successfully in other locations and will be extending the training they offer to Gypsies and Travellers in West Sussex and Surrey. In addition, the project delivers a modular pilot RSPH Young Health Champions qualification to a group of Irish Traveller youth in Brighton.
The project aims to improve educational attainment, build skills, improve health knowledge in the community and generally improve the welfare and wellbeing of Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Bradford: The Thornbury Centre - LACO My Life
This project aims to educate and up-skill Central and Eastern European Roma families to enable them to keep their children safe from grooming and sexual exploitation. This project is run in partnership with Barnardo’s and the University of Bradford and attempts to work closely with the statutory sector, such as the Council’s Multi-Agency Child Sexual Exploitation team. The programme equips Roma families to help their children (especially their daughters) to have healthy relationships and make safer choices. Although focused on change for mothers and daughters, the project engages with the whole family to ensure Roma men and boys also understand their rights, roles and responsibilities.
Luton: Roma Luton Trust
The Roma community in Luton regularly express the need for assistance with learning English. In response to this, the Roma Luton Trust have created a Roma Community Centre in the heart of Luton where, alongside their daily interventions, they run a bespoke programme of English language teaching. The Roma are provided with the chance to learn English with teachers who speak their languages and understand their culture. The organisation also trains Roma to handle their own civic affairs online to enable them to become more self-sufficient. The organisation works with two universities that have researched and implemented language programmes within Roma communities: the University of Newcastle and Beds & Luton University.
Brixton: National Prison Radio - On the Road
This project produces a radio series for Gypsy and Traveller prisoners. This helps raise and explore issues faced by Gypsies and Travellers alongside the long-term aim of helping the prisoners involved with the project to re-integrate into society after release.
Presented by a recently released community members, On-the-Road will build on the Prison Radio Association’s experience of working with Gypsy and Traveller communities, and of producing life-changing media for the hardest to reach and most vulnerable members of society. The series of 24 programmes will help with the rehabilitation of offenders, and ultimately help Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ex offenders reintegrate in society successfully.
Sheffield - Sheffield Community Investment Deal
A community based project located in marginalised communities in North-East and East Sheffield, responding to concerns from local people with more on the ground officers, better organised local services and engaging established and new communities through community development initiatives to improve their areas.
Derby - Housing and Modern Slavery in Derby
Work to undertake a population profile, tackle complex family issues and exploitation through an early intervention and support approach. Supporting migrants to understand social norms and expectations in the UK.
Medway - Community Plus
Aims to inform, improve and develop relationships between migrant and resident communities through English language workshops, peer mentor schemes and employment support.
Kent - Targeted health interventions
Kent - Cultural competency and communication skills
Funding will support new teams to work with migrant communities across Kent to ensure families are well supported. Targeted early interventions will improve the health and wellbeing of the migrant community and save money - encouraging healthier lifestyles and preventing the development of illnesses. The project will also deliver cultural awareness training to frontline NHS staff to provide targeted support and improve access to NHS services for the Roma community. This will also make more efficient use of resources by, for example, shortening appointment times and reducing the frequency of missed appointments.
Bradford—Changing Place—Stronger Bradford
Ensuring effective delivery and effective use of public services. Providing English language support, targeted youth work, additional school support and health support workers to enable migrant communities to navigate public services effectively, reducing the demand on and increasing the capacity of children’s social services, health services and schools in the local area.
Rotherham—Building Stronger Communities
Rotherham has an overarching strategy around Building Stronger Communities that emphasises that Rotherham is a shared community focusing on ensuring effective delivery and efficient use of public services. Providing English language support to help new migrant communities navigate services more efficiently and enable them to engage more effectively with the resident communities. Tackling exploitative practices such as modern slavery, addressing environmental health issues such as fly tipping, combatting anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour in public places and tackling disruptive behaviour in schools.
Wakefield - Community Harmony - Wakefield
The resident community have reported concerns around worsening street scene, increasing intolerance, hate crime and overcrowded housing. This programme centres on central Wakefield. This project will challenge problem landlords, ensure more migrants can speak English and improve relations between young communities through youth work and volunteering to make the streets presentable reducing community tensions and creating an inclusive and supportive community feeling in the target area.
Bolton - My Bolton Family
Funding to carry out a range of cohesion activity in central Bolton, Breightmet and Tonge to encourage integration between communities and to reduce pressure on services.
Brent - Love Where You Live
Funding will enhance the outreach work with and social integration of Eastern European communities and will also help expand engagement with other emerging communities. The project will consist of a community outreach team that will deliver drop-in information sessions, develop community volunteers and deliver cultural community events. The project will include additional ESOL provision (covering digital skills, employability and civil engagement), signposting through a ‘Welcome to Brent’ leaflet and capacity building among existing local support networks. These interventions will reduce reliance on public services and create more cohesive and integrated communities.
Middlesbrough - Improving attainment and cohesion in schools
Helping schools alleviate pressures associated with a large number of international children arriving within the school year by supporting their smooth transition with additional teaching staff and language support enabling a stronger level of attainment for all children and supporting better community cohesion ·between children of all backgrounds.
Oldham - Stronger Together Oldham
Will enable the town to build on positive work already undertaken with communities who work together and support each other as they settle into Oldham. The project will help the borough gain more up-to-date information on the make-up of the local population and support targeted interventions or enforcement action in terms of crime, anti-social behaviour, overcrowding
and illegal immigration. The funding will enable a programme of activities to build language skills, and provide support to schools with a larger number of new pupils with limited English. A new youth programme will support young people from across all communities to develop a range of skills including leadership skills which increase their own self-confidence and esteem. The programme will benefit the whole community by encouraging more social mixing, improving English which reduces the need for costly translation and tackling community tension.
Fenland - Parallel Lives project
Identifying the Roma community across the East of England and improving their relationship with resident communities. This research will inform actions to help Roma communities engage with public services in a more efficient way, and to improve the relationship between settled and Roma communities. This will result in improving the safety and feel of the town, as well as reducing anti-social behaviour, crime and noise.
Doncaster - Migration: Support Engagement and Education Project in Doncaster
A programme of work to build trust and engage within communities targeted in locations within Doncaster. Community development work will help integration and cohesion of all residents and also provide information on local expectations and responsible citizenship across all the community, helping to tackle issues such as poor quality overcrowded housing, ASB, Crime, fly tipping and other environmental nuisance, addressing significant concerns for all residents in these areas.
Leeds - Learning English in Leeds
The aim of this proposal is to create a comprehensive ESOL/Learning English Strategy for Leeds to help save costs to public services, unlock migrant capabilities and capacity and promote a more integrated and socially cohesive society. It will enable people from migrant communities to participate more fully in society, leading to greater integration and less opportunities for isolation, as well as promoting physical and mental health and wellbeing by developing people’s language skills and confidence, enabling parents from new communities to better support their children’s education.
Calderdale - Together Calderdale
Supporting additional youth engagement, English language classes, establishing understanding of local social norms and housing/environmental enforcement, with a ward level focus around central Halifax, Ovenden and Mixenden to benefit the whole community with improved public environment.
Kirklees - Connecting Kirklees
This funding will enable Kirklees to build on positive work so far to establish communities who work together and support each other as they settle into the area. It will enable a programme of activities to build language skills, an understanding and awareness of local culture, and provide support to schools with a larger number of new pupils with limited English.
Barnsley - Housing and Migration
Activity focused on areas of high concentrations of private rented accommodation being accessed, predominantly, by migrants to Barnsley where there are issues, for example, around the local physical environment, fraud, exploitation and criminal activity. The remit will particularly focus on hearing and responding to concerns of the whole community on the impact of migration and promote understanding of local social, cultural and civic norms.
Migration Yorkshire (Strategic- Migration Partnership) regional bid - Place-based data and mitigating local impacts of migration ·
This is a research project to better understand how and why migration impacts differently in different local communities in Yorkshire and Humber, and how local authorities plan for and deal with these impacts. The project will identify different types of neighbourhoods using a range of socio-economic and migration data, and then explore how a selection of these neighbourhoods respond to migration, through hearing the views of a cross-section of local residents and service providers. The project will improve how local authorities prepare for and address issues related to new migration. It will also inform the nationwide understanding of the impact of recent migration.
Gravesham - Better Life
A project to improve community cohesion between the migrant and settled resident population in Gravesham through the provision of English language lessons, in partnership with the Romani Slovak Czech community group. This project will improve. the. atmosphere of the neighbourhood and reduce anti-social behaviour; improve migrants’ opportunities to work and contribute to local economy; and reduce the amount of public money spent on interpreter costs, freeing up funds for other public services.
Walsall - Walsall People
A multi-themed proposal to support better community integration in Walsall; improve the living environment; improve educational attainment; safeguard some of the most vulnerable; reduce fly tipping; reduce anti-social behaviour and improve the private landlord housing provision delivered through a strong community sector and public sector partnership.
Thanet - Rogue Landlord and Community Cohesion Task Force
To tackle rogue landlords in Thanet and provide English language support to help migrants engage effectively with the local community.
Wednesday 20 March 2019
Mrs Maria Miller, in the Chair
|Tonia Antoniazzi||Eddie Hughes|
|Sarah Champion||Jess Phillips|
Draft Report (Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.
Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.
Paragraphs 1 to 173 read and agreed to.
Summary agreed to.
Papers were appended to the Report as Appendices 1 and 2.
Question put, That the draft Report be the Seventh Report of the Committee to the House.
The Committee divided.
|Ayes, 3||Noes, 1|
|Sarah Champion||Philip Davies|
Question accordingly agreed to.
Resolved, That the Report be the Seventh Report of the Committee to the House.
Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.
Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available (Standing Order No. 134).
[Adjourned till Wednesday 27 March 2019
See the Committee website for a list of witnesses that gave evidence to this inquiry and transcripts of the oral evidence sessions.
A full list of written evidence submitted to this inquiry is available on the Transport Committee website.
All publications from the Committee are available on the publications page of the Committee's website.
1 English, Welsh and Scottish Gypsy/Travellers and Irish Travellers. See Chapter 8 for discussion.
2 Department for Communities and Local Government, Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, April 2012
3 Professor Philip Brown is a member of the Labour Party, a member of the Universities and Colleges Union, a non-executive board member of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing and a trustee of Roma Futures. Michelle Lloyd is a member of Survival International and Amnesty International. Dr Siobhan Spencer MBE is a co-ordinator for National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups, co-ordinator for Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Groups, committee member for the Advisory Council on Education for Romany and other Travellers, a member of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Gypsy, Roma Traveller Liaison Group and a member of the Educational Testimony Group for the Government Commission on the Holocaust.
4 Colin Clark and Margaret Greenfields, Here to Stay: the Gypsies and Travellers of Britain (University of Hertfordshire, 2006), p 23
5 Colin Clark and Margaret Greenfields, Here to Stay: the Gypsies and Travellers of Britain (University of Hertfordshire, 2006), p 23
6 Lynne Poole, “National Action Plans for Social Inclusion and A8 migrants: The case of the Roma in Scotland”, Critical Social Policy, vol 30 issue: 2 (2010), pp245–266
7 National Archives, ‘Act concerning ‘Egyptians’, 1530,’ accessed 19 February 2019
8 Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, ‘The Porrajmos,’ accessed 19 February 2019
9 HL Deb, 16 July 2008, c1244
10 Office for National Statistics, ‘2011 Census analysis: What does the 2011 Census tell us about the characteristics of Gypsy or Irish travellers in England and Wales?’, accessed 19 February 2019
11 Council of Europe, Estimates of Roma Population in European Countries, (July 2012)
12 University of Salford, Migrant Roma in the United Kingdom: Population size and experiences of local authorities and partners, (October 2013), p7
13 Office for National Statistics, ‘2011 Census analysis: What does the 2011 Census tell us about the characteristics of Gypsy or Irish travellers in England and Wales?’, accessed 19 February 2019
15 Cabinet Office, Race Disparity Audit: Summary Findings from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, October 2017
16 Office for National Statistics, ‘2011 Census analysis: What does the 2011 Census tell us about the characteristics of Gypsy or Irish travellers in England and Wales?’, accessed 19 February 2019
17 Ethnicity Facts and Figures, ‘Satisfaction with access to GP services,’ accessed 19 February 2019. These figures should be treated with caution, as sample sizes are small.
18 Ethnicity Facts and Figures, ‘Patient experience of primary care - GP services,’ accessed 19 February 2019
19 Race Equality Foundation, The health of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK, November 2008
20 Traveller Movement, Gypsy and Traveller Health Briefing, March 2012
21 Royal College of General Practitioners, Improving access to health care for Gypsies and Travellers, homeless people and sex workers, September 2013
22 Ormiston Children and Families Trust and Cambridgeshire Community Services, An Insight into the Health of Gypsies and Travellers: A Booklet for Health Professionals in Cambridgeshire, (Cambridgeshire, 2008)
23 Office for National Statistics, ‘2011 Census analysis: What does the 2011 Census tell us about the characteristics of Gypsy or Irish travellers in England and Wales?’, accessed 19 February 2019
24 Traveller Movement, The last acceptable form of racism? The pervasive discrimination and prejudice experienced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, September 2017
25 Equality and Human Rights Commission, Inequalities experienced by Gypsy and Traveller communities: A review, 2009
26 Lynne Poole, “National Action Plans for Social Inclusion and A8 migrants: The case of the Roma in Scotland”, Critical Social Policy, vol 30 issue: 2 (2010), pp245–266
27 University of Salford, Migrant Roma in the United Kingdom: Population size and experiences of local authorities and partners, (October 2013), p29
28 Migration Yorkshire, National Roma Network 2015–2017:Developments, learning and action, October 2018, p12
29 Roma Support Group, Rough sleeping Roma in the City of Westminster, June 2016
30 Migration Yorkshire, National Roma Network Forum, June 2017
31 Kate D’Arcy, ‘the last respectable forms of racism,’ accessed 19 February 2019
32 Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960
33 Commission for Racial Equality, Common Ground: Equality, good race relations and sites for Gypsies and Irish Travellers, 2005
34 Equality and Human Rights Commission, Inequalities experienced by Gypsy and Traveller communities: A review, 2009
35 European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament , the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, April 2011
36 HM Government, Council conclusions on an EU Framework strategy for Roma integration up to 2020: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2012
37 European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Midterm review of the EU framework for national Roma integration strategies, August 2017, p8
39 Department for Communities and Local Government, Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, April 2012
40 PQ HL2504 [on Travellers] 29 October 2014
41 Cllr Richard Pallister OBE, Leader, South Somerset District Council (GRT0027) para 2
42 Cambridgeshire County Council (GRT0031)
45 Traveller Movement (GRT0055)
46 National Alliance of Gypsy Traveller & Roma Women [NAGTRW] (GRT0015)
47 Healthwatch Cambridgeshire (GRT0017) and University of Bedfordshire (GRT0020)
49 National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups (GRT0026)
50 Department for Education, School exclusion trial evaluation: research report, July 2014
51 Department for Work and Pensions, ‘Ethnic Minority Employment Stakeholder Group,’ accessed 19 February 2019
52 Cabinet Office, Race Disparity Audit: Summary Findings from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, October 2017
53 HC Deb, 10 October 2017, col 182 [Commons Chamber]
61 Letter from the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government, regarding evidence session on the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, dated 22 January 2019
63 Letter from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, regarding inquiry into tackling inequalities faced by GRT communities, dated 24 January 2019
67 Cabinet Office, ‘Ethnicity Classifications,’ accessed 19 February 2019
72 Cabinet Office, ‘Education Skills and Training,’ accessed 19 February 2019
73 Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research, University of Sussex (GRT0009) para 3.3
74 Cabinet Office, ‘Absence from school,’ accessed 19 February 2019
75 Cabinet Office, ‘Destinations of school pupils after key stage 4 (usually aged 16 years),’ accessed 19 February 2019
78 On our visit to Kent, a teacher told us that a pupil she had taught rarely came to school because he was running a successful horse-trading business
79 Education Act 1996, section 444(6)
80 Surrey County Council (GRT0001), York Travellers Trust (GRT0008), ACERT (GRT0010)
81 Mr Peter Norton (GRT0025), Catholic Association for Racial Justice (GRT0033)
82 London Gypsy and Traveller Unit (GRT0049)
83 Q413[Rose McCarthy], Rene Cassin (GRT0048)
84 Harborough District Children and Young People’s Charity (GRT0014)
85 Children’s Commissioner, Skipping School: Invisible children, February 2019
88 Visit to Kent
89 Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, Article 28
90 European Convention on Human Rights 1950, Protocol 1, Article 2
91 Human Rights Act 1998, schedule 3 part II
92 Education Act 1996, Section 436A
93 Department for Education, Elective home education Departmental guidance for local authorities: draft for consultation, April 2018
94 Education Act 1996, section 437
95 Education Act 1996, section 7
96 Department for Education, Elective home education Departmental guidance for parents: draft version for consultation, April 2018
98 Children’s Commissioner, Skipping School: Invisible children, February 2019
100 Q8, Harborough District Children and Young People’s Charity (GRT0014)
101 Ofsted, Local authorities and home education, June 2010
102 The ContactPoint database, Standard Note SN/SP/5171, House of Commons Library, March 2011
103 Foundation for information policy research, ‘IT systems designed to protect kids will put them at risk instead,’ accessed 19 February 2019
106 University of Birmingham, Centre for Research in Race and Education (GRT0007)
109 Oral evidence taken on 30 January 2019, HC 1470 (2017–19), Q186
114 Visit to Leeds
119 ACERT (GRT0010), Mr Peter Norton (GRT0025), Q13, Q93, Q473
123 Diversity Role Models, accessed 19 February 2019
124 Traveller Movement (GRT0055), Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (GRT0011), UNITING project team (GRT0012)
127 Department of Health, Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategies explained: Commissioning for populations, December 2011, p7
128 Equality Act 2010, section 149
130 London Borough of Bromley, ‘Children and Young People Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2018,’ accessed 19 February 2019
131 London Borough of Bromley, Bromley Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2017
132 Cambridgeshire Insight,’ Published Joint Strategic Needs Assessments,’ accessed 19 February 2019
133 Cambridgeshire County Council, Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Cambridgeshire Travellers 2010
134 Bath and North East Somerset Council, ‘JSNA updates,’ accessed 19 February 2019
136 Correspondence from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for mental health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, 24 January 2019
137 Care Quality Commission, ‘Experts by Experience,’ accessed 19 February 2019
138 National Health Service, ‘About the Long Term Plan,’ accessed 19 February 2019
139 National Health Service, The NHS Long Term Plan, January 2019, p7
141 National Health Service, The NHS Long Term Plan, January 2019, p40
142 Cambridgeshire County Council (GRT0031), iHV (GRT0067)
148 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Count of Traveller Caravans, July 2018
149 Q1 [Professor Greenfields]
151 Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, section 26
156 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Count of Traveller Caravans, July 2018
157 Office for National Statistics, ‘2021 Census topic research update: December 2018,’ accessed 19 February 2019
159 HM Government, Council conclusions on an EU Framework strategy for Roma integration up to 2020: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2012
161 Migration Yorkshire, National Roma Network 2015–2017:Developments, learning and action, October 2018, p12
162 Letter from the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government, regarding evidence session on the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, dated 22 January 2019
167 Migration Yorkshire, National Roma Network 2015–2017:Developments, learning and action, October 2018, p26
170 Housing Act 2004, section 80
171 Liverpool City Council, ‘Landlord Licensing: benefits of the scheme,’ accessed 19 February 2019
172 Migration Yorkshire, National Roma Network 2015–2017:Developments, learning and action, October 2018, p26
174 European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Midterm review of the EU framework for national Roma integration strategies, August 2017, p8
175 Migration Yorkshire, National Roma Network 2015–2017:Developments, learning and action, October 2018, p18
176 The Pupil Premium, Standard Note SN6700, House of Commons Library, April 2018
177 Roma Support Group (GRT0044)
178 Letter from the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government, regarding evidence session on the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, dated 22 January 2019
179 Ofsted, Overcoming barriers: ensuring that Roma children are fully engaged and achieving in education, December 2014, p5
180 Institute for Race Relations, ‘Xeno-racism and the scourge of school exclusion,’ accessed 19 February 2019
181 Roma Support Group, Fulfilling their potential? Exclusion of Roma pupils in the English education system, October 2017, p12
184 Ofsted, Overcoming barriers: ensuring that Roma children are fully engaged and achieving in education, December 2014, p13
185 Ofsted, Overcoming barriers: ensuring that Roma children are fully engaged and achieving in education, December 2014, p16
186 Letter from Chair of the Local Government Association Safer and Stronger Communities Board to Chair of the Committee regarding tackling inequalities for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities inquiry, dated 28 February 2018
187 Migration Yorkshire, Roma experiences of living and working in South Yorkshire, January 2017, p35
189 Q562, APPG GTR Secretariat Traveller Law Reform (GRT0053), Roma Support Group (GRT0044)
190 PQ HL6728 [on Travellers: equality], 27 March 2018
191 Home Office, ‘Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families,’ accessed 19 February 2019
192 APPG on Migration and APPG on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, Roma and Brexit Report on a Joint All Party Parliamentary Group roundtable event, July 2018
193 Statement of changes in immigration rules, (2017–19) HC1534
194 Moore & Anor v Secretary of State for Communities And Local Government  EWHC 44 (Admin) (21 January 2015)
195 McClellan v Gypsy Traveller Education Information Project (2008), unreported
196 P O’Leary and others v Allied Domecq and others (2000) 29 August, unreported
197 Equality Act 2010, section 149
210 Allied Health Solutions, Inclusion Health: Education and Training for Health Professionals, 2014, p138
211 PQ HL2504 [on Travellers] 29 October 2014
216 Oral evidence taken on 30 January 2019, HC1470 (2017–19)
219 Home Office, Hate crime, England and Wales, 2017 to 2018: data tables, October 2018
222 Report Racism Gypsy Roma and Traveller, ‘Report racism,’ accessed 19 February 2019
223 True Vision, ‘Reporting a hate crime,’ accessed 19 February 2019
224 Department for Communities and Local Government, Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, April 2012
225 PQ HL2504 [on Travellers] 29 October 2014
226 National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups (GRT0026)
227 Home Office and Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Action Against Hate:The UK Government’s plan for tackling hate crime – ‘two years on’, October 2018, p16
228 APPG GTR Secretariat Traveller Law Reform (GRT0053)
229 Q535 [Acting Chief Constable McCormick]
230 Q535 [Acting Chief Constable McCormick]
233 Letter from the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government, regarding evidence session on the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, dated 22 January 2019
243 Roma Support Group (GRT0044)
258 Romany people use the word “gorger” to signify people who are not Romany. Irish Traveller people use the word to signify people who are not travelling.
269 Women and Equalities Committee, Third Report of Session 2016–17, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Schools, HC 91