Foreword from the Chair of the Ealing Race Equality Commission

This report, which I commend to all who live and work in, and care about, the borough of Ealing, provides a voice for the many, particularly the voiceless who otherwise feel frustrated by systems and structures as they look to improve their own experiences and opportunities.

The Commission has heard that Ealing is a borough of opportunity, a borough of rich diversity and a borough with pride in its cultural history. It has many strengths upon which it will continue to build.

That said, the Commissioners and I have heard from those who care a great deal about their borough and have come forward to share their own lived experiences, which has in many ways reinforced what we – the commissioners – felt we already knew - that not everyone can benefit from the same richness of opportunities because of their race.

I urge everyone, each business, institution or organisation to take note of our findings and play their part in creating a better future.  Kindness and compassion will only get us so far to achieving true equality, what we need now is clear political, civic, and business leadership along with action to create lasting change. 

I would like to thank Ealing’s political leadership for embarking on a process that would lay bare some uncomfortable truths for many including the council. But unlike some reports both national and local, we have had no interference only support, and our independence has been thoroughly respected.  

The other part of the process that demands note is the way the Commission, wonderfully aided by council staff, has worked and collaborated as a team. Our discussions and debates have been frank, at times contested, but always respectful. I have had the privilege of watching some of the younger members of the commission grow in stature in a way that should give great pride to Ealing.

Finally, I want to thank my fellow Commissioners for their hard work and commitment to the work of the Commission and I commend this report to the people of Ealing.

Why the Commission was set up

In the London Borough of Ealing, we are proud of our diversity. And rightly so. With more than 200 languages spoken every day across our seven towns and over half of our 350,000 residents coming from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background, our borough represents what is best about modern Britain.

Yet the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life in this borough we call home is not the same for everyone. Too often, for too many of our residents, their ethnic background – directly or indirectly – acts as a barrier to prosperity and security. 

We know this is not a new phenomenon.

But sometimes, a single event or incident can prove to be so powerful that it catalyses action and forces us to reflect on what more we can do to build a stronger, fairer world.

2020 delivered two such moments: the brutal murder of George Floyd by a police officer in the United States, and the disproportionate impact – both in terms of health and economics – of the Covid pandemic on minority communities across Britain, London and Ealing. 

While very different in nature, both events forced us to confront one very simple question: are we giving every person in our borough the chance to thrive? And, if not, what can we do together to change that?

In late 2020, Ealing Council took the bold step of establishing an independent Commission to look at race inequality in detail.

  Download Background Report

What we did

The Commission has listened to local people, their experiences, and their ideas for what we can do together. We have also sought evidence from professionals, employers and community groups in looking for an honest assessment of the nature and impact of race inequality, and practical solutions.

We have listened to the experiences of the people who wanted to talk to us, and we have explored evidence to drill into the issues for Ealing.  This means that some of our demands are specific to certain groups, for example, in relation to Black Caribbean pupils. This is not to limit wider work to reduce inequalities but is meant to provide a laser focus on the inequalities that need the most urgent attention. 

We have carried out our work against a backdrop of the pandemic. This has created its own unique set of barriers that we have had to overcome as a Commission. For individuals it has laid bare some of the fault lines that exacerbate racial inequality with shocking impact. We must do, and we can do better.

  Download Report on Commission Work Programme

  Download Report on Approach to engagement and who we heard from

Our report

We have concluded that to bring about change, those responsible for commissioning, delivering and co-designing services must:

  • Build trust with communities. We must seize this opportunity now and start to rebuild that trust with those who feel these conversations have not resulted in change in the past. Too many distrust those who have power and responsibility.
  • Listen to the experiences of residents and understand their challenges, recognising the differences between groups and their histories. 
  • Use data and insight to ensure the tenacious pursuit of narrowing inequality.


Based on what we heard, we have come up with a set of challenges, and to tackle these challenges we present a series of demands. We have chosen to focus on seven areas that we believe are the most urgent. Each of the seven sections has an introduction that summarises the challenge and sets out why we focused on what we did. Following the challenge, we make a series of demands that should help shape the action plans that must come in response and provide a structure to hold people to account for change. 

People in Ealing have had a unique opportunity to make themselves heard throughout the last 12 months. We hope we represent their aspirations in this report. This Commission demands change on their behalf.


The Commission is very aware of the long and proud history of anti-racist activism in the borough and wants to build on this. People in Ealing have been through and achieved so much and want to celebrate this history. But there is also anger and pessimism. Why are we still talking about this? If we look back on this report in ten years’ time, what if anything is anything going to be different?

The Commission starts from a simple premise: race inequality is a crisis that demands an urgent response. We call on Ealing Council, our public institutions, our borough’s employers, all those who make up the fabric of Ealing, to be bold and make a clear commitment in response to our work.

Priority 1
Education Ensure that no child is left behind. Our children are not under-achieving, they are being under-served.
Priority 2
Health Use what we've learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic to eliminate health inequalities. If we don’t act now these inequalities are going to grow.
Priority 3
Participation and Democracy Increasing representation
Priority 4
Policing Build trust and end the disproportionate rate of stop and search that is harming our young people.
Priority 5
Income and Employment Build back fairer
Priority 6
Housing Respect and Empowerment
Priority 7
Keeping feet to the flames What happens next?

Priority 1 - Education

Ensure that no child is left behind. Our children are not under-achieving, they are being under-served.

The Challenge

There is a drop in levels of attainment as Black Caribbean pupils move through different stages of school. Unlike for other groups, the underachievement of our Black Caribbean pupils in both primary and secondary school does not always correlate with economic disadvantage.

% of the school population are Black Caribbean pupils
% of Black Caribbean Pupils in Ealing with permanent exclusions
% of Black Caribbean Pupils in Ealing with fixed-term exclusions

We heard from one of Ealing’s headteachers about the link between unconscious bias and low attainment, which starts at the early years stage. We were keen to stress that we should not talk about children’s underachievement, but rather talk about our children being under-served. Outcomes are pretty shocking, especially when you look at the spectacular improvement in the borough as a whole on progress from primary to secondary. We recognise that there are pockets of excellence and a longer-term strategic approach that looks good, however we challenged the notion that there is no quick fix. The reality is that this could be seen as a “tale of two boroughs”.  The Ealing Learning Partnership strapline is “No learner left behind”. This quite rightly articulates a mission to challenge the entrenched patterns described but there needs to be greater urgency in schools’ collective response.   

Black Caribbean pupils make up 3.8% of the school population in Ealing but 17.9% of permanent exclusions and 12.5% of fixed term exclusions (based on 3-year average figures) at high school. We heard that being excluded has a big impact on a young person’s sense of self and identity. Commissioners heard that for some this becomes compounded with isolation, a feeling of being unsafe, and can manifest itself in responses that perpetuate a deteriorating cycle of events – such as carrying a knife, being hyper vigilant and a young person presenting themselves in ways that people find difficult or threatening. The compound effect of an exclusion has a life-long impact. It is in everyone’s interest to support young people to stay in education.

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    Rapidly close the gap in attainment for black Caribbean pupils

    We wish to see a tenacious focus on closing the gap for black and Caribbean pupils. We therefore challenge the Education and Learning Partnership to work with schools and to present a plan within one academic year for tangible and measurable change.

    Educational Achievement of black Caribbean
    Pupils in Ealing Compared to All Pupils in 2019

    Education and Young People Attainment Report - Ealing Learning Partnership

  • 2

    End the disproportionate rate of exclusions, aiming for a significant decrease year on year, and ultimately zero exclusions

    Commissioners were impressed by the Council's youth service work with peer mentors and are keen to see the evaluation of the impact of this and to look at how this can be scaled up

  • 3
    Accelerate progress on changes to the curriculum

    The parents’ group we heard from said “We need a curriculum that enhances self-esteem rather than causes harm,” and that this was the top concern expressed in their survey of parents. There is a long rich history in Ealing of anti-racist struggle and cross community support to resist racism. This local history should be more widely celebrated and taught. Community groups are keen to work with schools to make this happen. The Ealing Learning Partnership should take up this offer.

  • 4
    Make the training for teachers on race equality and unconscious bias part of core training, which has the same status as safeguarding training, until there is a dramatic reduction in the rates of exclusion and the gap in attainment between Black Caribbean children and all other groups.

    We heard about the great work going on in the training of teachers, including addressing the labelling of black children in relation to behaviour. There is lots of energy and passion albeit at a very early stage. We ask that this work is accelerated and given the same priority as safeguarding training. Education provides a long-term safeguarding framework for adulthood. We heard that there is a lack of confidence in some school leaders in taking this forward. Could we fast forward the leadership approach? What would be the cost of scaling this up?

  • 5
    Empower parents to play an active role in their children’s education

    Not all parents have the same understanding of the education system, or the confidence and networks to advocate for their children. From the outset, this creates a disadvantage for young learners. Cascading information (communicating) with parents is not a substitute for good involvement (engagement) with parents and families. Without engagement the opportunities for early interventions, confidence and skill building, and support can be missed – creating a cycle of disadvantage.

    We have a low number of black, Asian and minority ethnic governors. Like all leadership roles across the statutory and voluntary sector, we need to ensure that representation is reflective of our communities. It is not however good enough to just recruit a more diverse set of governors who otherwise are not empowered to make change. We must provide the support and networks that enable all those who step up to the challenge to find their voice. We recognise that the power dynamic doesn’t serve everyone well. People said that they can feel talked down to and labelled as aggressive. It is important to recognise that parents are coming into an unfamiliar environment, and too often from the other side the response is defensive, and the shutters come down.

    We therefore ask that a very specific focused programme be developed, to provide the skills and tools so that governors can challenge in ways that empower them, and to look at how we bring parents’ groups in to work with schools. We challenge all head teachers to share leadership and insight that moves away from power dynamic that sees “the knowing” distinguished from the rest of us.

    Every school should have a lead for race and diversity who is identifiable to parents and carers. This lead should ensure that they have access to working groups within schools and can clearly hear from all parents not just on attainment but also on culture and curriculum.

  • 6
    Increase the number of black teachers in leadership roles

    We debated whether the priority should be training or a more diverse leadership. We heard from the parent’s group that the black teachers they work with feel reluctant to speak out. The headteachers who have engaged with the training offered have been able to reflect on whether their school is culturally competent, but there are still very few black teachers in leadership roles. We have not been able to distil “the golden ticket” to this conundrum, but we recognise like across all sectors that a diverse leadership provides both voice, insight, lived experience and role models and therefore it is important that we increase the number of black teachers in visible roles. We therefore ask that schools come up with a plan for increasing black teachers in leadership roles.

Priority 2 - Health

Use what we’ve learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic to eliminate health inequalities. If we don’t act now these inequalities are going to grow.

The Challenge

The two major influences on our work from the beginning have been the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and the health inequalities exposed, and made worse, by covid-19. We heard from Director of Public Health in London, Professor Kevin Fenton, about how wider issues, or non-medical “social determinants” affect everyone’s health, but that there are structural factors that have led to the more severe impact of Covid-19 on people not of white British background.

In Ealing, 14% of households are overcrowded – 8th highest in London, with many families living in multi-generational households

We welcomed the Council’s work on a comprehensive assessment of health inequalities in Ealing, which includes the impact of issues such as poor housing conditions. We urge Ealing’s Health and Well-Being Board to bring together council and health agencies to lead on a comprehensive plan to close the gaps that have been put in the spotlight over the last two years. There’s an urgency - unless we all have our shoulders to the wheel these inequalities are going to grow.

  From the literature From Ealing Data
Age and Sex The largest disparity was age. ≥ 80 year olds were 70 times more likely to die than ≤ 40 year olds. Young people may suffer the most from the economic impact of the pandemic. Working age adults most affected by infection, vast majority of those admitted and who died were in the older age groups; 78.6% of Ealing of residents who died were over the age of 65 years; Much greater proportion of deaths in hospital from COVID in hospital in men than in women
Long term health conditions People living with health conditions were more likely to die of COVID 91.4% of Ealing residents admitted to hospital with COVID also had one or more long term conditions.
Deprivation People who live in deprived areas have higher diagnosis rates and death rates Highest infection concentrated in the west of the borough, and both hospital admissions and deaths distributed in a gradient across MSOA’s likely attributable to a broad societal factor such as deprivation.
Ethnicity Exacerbated longstanding inequalities affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic groups- structural racism. Wards with higher proportion of residents identifying as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic, had higher total infection rates. Asian and Asian British groups disproportionately affected by COVID hospital admissions.
Urban Living Highest diagnosis and death rates in urban areas – overcrowding, substandard housing, income and expenditure poverty. In Ealing, 14% of households overcrowded – 8th highest in London. Also, a lot of families living in multi-generational households.
Front line occupations ONS reported men in specific occupations had significantly higher COVID death rates Ealing has a high (relative to London and England) proportion of people employed in low skilled, elementary occupations – frontline exposure.

'Understanding and Tackling Inequalities, Covid-19 Integrated Impact Assessment'
Sources: Spiegelhalter2020; PHE COVID:19 Review of disparities in risks and outcomes’, 2020
Ealing Public Health

As you would expect in the middle of a pandemic, when we met to discuss health in February, we were focussed on how we could ensure high take up of coronavirus vaccines in the face of vaccine hesitancy. We heard that vaccine hesitancy is more widespread in the black community and it’s not because of fear, it’s about lack of trust, and this will need long term sustained action to reverse. 

There have been significant lessons to learn from how communities have been engaged. Unless we’re honest about the lessons learnt, the risk is that the same people could be vulnerable again. We heard from Kevin Fenton about the need for health services to understand the communities they are seeking to serve and acknowledged the risks in talking about all Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people as one group. We need to understand the differences between groups; this is harder work but pays off in the longer term. We heard about the need to talk to communities in the languages they understand and through the channels they use, and that there has been frustration from some community leaders that they have not been able to see the full picture of the impact of coronavirus on different communities. It has been a common theme across our conversations that we need better data and to be able to share data more widely with people in our communities. 

Health programme design needs to move from rhetoric about community involvement to concrete actions with communities at the centre. This requires harder graft, deeper meaningful engagement, and better conversations with residents to plan services

  • 1
    For the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as the commissioners of services to draw up a clear strategic plan for greater representation in both health service provision and leadership positions in health services of the communities in Ealing, particularly the African and Caribbean communities.

    We have found across all of our work that representation is really important in building trust and providing insight, but there is a specific problem for health services. There needs to be a clear voice within services from our communities and health leaders who are representative of the community. We talk about the black community and trust, but there is a woeful absence of visible black leaders and health professionals who understand and reflect the communities they serve, both those people who provide services and the leaders who direct these services. There are large numbers of Asian GPs, but not Somali or Afro Caribbean GPs and this has an impact on how people identify with, trust and engage with the services that are there to support them.

    We must learn the lessons of the pandemic – the tragedy is that communities who are already disadvantaged are disproportionally affected when it comes to health outcomes. We therefore demand that the Health and Well-Being Board (the most senior people with collective responsibility for health and wellbeing in the borough) carry out a review of how Ealing dealt with the pandemic and ensure that the lessons learned are made public and acted upon.

    The analysis of health inequalities that the Council has carried out is strong and sets out a clear picture of the challenge ahead. We heard that racism is a public health issue and needs a public health response. We want to see the strategy that provides a laser focus on addressing race inequality in health terms.

  • 2
    The local authority and health agencies should carry out a review of priorities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, particularly African and Caribbean communities, who have been disproportionately left behind in health structures and services.

    We believe that there is a need to carry out a more thorough review of the data on health outcomes, which the Commission has not been able to do. From our conversations we think there is a case for change in how primary care funding is directed to the most diverse parts of the borough with the highest level of need, rather than by population numbers. We heard that there appears to be a lack of adequate investment in primary care in Southall, and services are struggling to meet diverse needs. Health services are of course universal but should be provided at a scale and intensity that is proportionate to the level of disadvantage. There are communities in Ealing who feel under-served.

Priority 3 - Participation and Democracy

Increasing representation

The Challenge

There's a crisis of confidence and trust because Ealing’s democratic processes for some communities are not fit for purpose. This Commission demands urgent action to build trust and to ensure that we have participatory and representative democracy in Ealing in all areas and at all levels that meet the needs of everyone who lives here. There has been scant regard for a lack of representation from some communities. As a matter of urgency the council need to address lack of representation and participation in civic society at all levels and develop an action plan that promotes the diversity, skills and voices of the whole borough.

  Commissioners' Visit to Bollo Brook Youth Centre

  Commissioners' visit to Young Adults centre (YAC)

  Commissioners' visit to Brentford football club community sports trust


In 2015 the Greater London Authority (GLA) projections for Black, Asian and minority Ethnic (BAME) population was 54.4% by 2021, 55.4% by 206 and 57.6% by 2050

Political Representation

While a high proportion of councillors are identifiable as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, many of Ealing’s different black communities are not represented on the council. It is central to the well-being of communities that they are represented. Unless you have people round the decision-making table, at best the decision-makers don’t understand your needs, but at worst they keep you out. We did not doubt the good intentions of the politicians we heard from, but we were dismayed by the lack of a concrete plan to do something about it. The selection of candidates in advance of elections this year provides an opportunity for the local political parties to report on who applied, and who was successful, by ethnic group, and to use this information to set out where more progress needs to be made.

Ethnic Group  % of Ealing Population 
White British  24.4 
Other White  18.4 
 Indian  13.8 
Other Asian  12.1 
Black African  4.9 
Pakistani  4.1 
Arab  3.6 
Black Caribbean  3.4 
Other Ethnic Group  3.3 
White Irish  2.8 
Other Black  2.4 
Other Mixed  1.5 
Chinese  1.5 
White Asian  1.4 
White & Black Caribbean  1.2 
White & Black African  0.8 
Bangladeshi  0.6 

GLA's (2015) Round Ethnic Group Population projections for Ealing in 2021

Engagement with Communities

When Commissioners talked to individuals and groups about their experiences, people reported that they did not feel treated with respect by public services. This was corroborated in the casework that councillors reported in our focus group discussions, and in the research commissioned by the Ealing Community Network into the experience of Black and Minority Ethnic-led voluntary sector groups. Commissioners want to see this tackled head on as a pre-condition for building the trust that everyone says is needed in areas such as health and policing.  The Council needs to overhaul the way it involves the community in decision-making, including for regeneration and development schemes, and experiment with new ways of decision-making, such as citizens’ assemblies, to deal with tough challenges.

Many of the people we heard from felt that the Council’s priorities for regeneration and development were skewed towards building new housing and working with developers at the expense of other potential benefits of change in the area. We acknowledge the extent of the housing crisis, but there doesn’t appear to be a vision for the future for the different parts of Ealing that acknowledges the diversity and needs of existing residents, something the Leader of the Council acknowledged to us needs to change.

We heard that people feel that development is “done to” them, that there is a lack of a shared vision for how change will benefit everyone in the area, and a lack of transparency about potential benefits to the existing community, including what happens with section 106 funds, the money spent to mitigate the impact of new development in an area. How investment in each area can bring positive change is not discussed in a way that makes the community feel involved. 

There needs to be significant effort put into making existing mechanisms for engagement and holding to account work well rather than creating something new alongside them. More needs to be done to empower people so that they know their rights and feel able to speak out.

  • 1
    Local political leaders should take responsibility for a plan to dramatically improve diversity in political representation.

    Without conscious efforts the situation will stay as it is. While individuals need to have agency to join a political party before they even consider standing in elections there are many points at which a difference can be made, starting with recruiting party members, retaining them and developing their skills. There will be vacancies as people resign before the next full elections in 2026 and we expect changes to be made when seats become available not just every 4 years.

    We urge the three main political parties under their current groupings to have public action plans by the end of 2022 that highlight the greatest gaps apparent after the 2022 elections and consist of concrete actions that meet clear targets, and take active steps to ensure diversity in candidates for selection that translate into election by ensuring diversity in safer seats e.g. allocating one such candidate to wards where there is under-representation. We see no reason why Ealing Council should not be broadly representative of the communities it serves by 2026.

  • 2
    The Council should take the lead in mentoring people from under-represented communities.

    There are schemes (such as the one run by Operation Black Vote) that the council can use to develop people’s skills and interest in participation and standing for public roles as the next generation of civic and political leaders, as magistrates, school governors, or on NHS trust boards. We will have the 2021 census data in the next couple of months, which we can use to set targets for progress in participation, recruitment and retention.

  • 3
    The Council must develop a plan for improvement in community engagement and share measures of success with the Commissioners and its successor body.

    Trust is a pre-cursor to successful engagement, and good engagement enables better decisions to be made that are more likely to address the inequalities we describe here.

Priority 4 - Policing

Build trust and end the disproportionate rate of stop and search that is harming our young people.

The Challenge

In Ealing in 2021, a black person was almost five times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterpart. This is of course not a new issue or unique to Ealing. Twenty-two years ago, the McPherson Report criticised the use of stop and search powers saying, “Attempts to justify the disparities through the identification of other factors, whilst not being seen vigorously to address the discrimination, which is evident, simply exacerbates the climate of distrust.” We remain unconvinced that progress has been made.

  Comissioners’ visit to Metropolitan Police Service

of people stopped and searched were Black
of people stopped and searched were Asian
of people stopped and searched were White

In the last two years 40% of People Stopped and Searched were Black, 28% were Asian, 26% were White and 6% were categorised as other ethnic appearance. Black people make up only 12.85% of Ealing' population but 40% of the searches.

Source: Metropolitan Police Service Data

We heard about the impact on the mental health of young people who had been subject to stop and search, but further than this, the way in which the Metropolitan Police currently conducts stop and search is not effective policing.

  A group of us, on an evening out were stopped and had the car searched by the police. My popcorn was emptied onto the floor, again despite us being university students, just going home from the cinema. My self-confidence was affected. I've seen provocation of my ex-partner by the police. I don't trust them to be transparent in their dealings with black people.
Black British female
45-54 years old, Hanwell
  • 1
    The Metropolitan Police Service should critically review the effectiveness of its approach to stop and search for drugs offences and provide a clear action plan for how a new approach can both deliver more effective outcomes and increase trust among residents. Ealing should not be afraid of being at the vanguard for new and innovative policing techniques.

    We questioned the police’s use of stop and search for possession of drugs based on a belief in a causal relationship between possession of drugs and involvement in violence. More than three quarters of all stops are on suspicion of drugs offences. The number of black people searched is disproportionately high. The ‘positive outcome’ rate is significantly lower than for white people who are stopped.

    We were told that the trade and supply of drugs is “intrinsically linked to violence”, and we therefore asked, why not take a more intelligence-led approach to policing the drug trade rather than a ‘dragnet’ approach? We note the recently announced proposals from the Mayor of London on decriminalising low level drugs offences, which would only go part of the way, but support these as a step towards taking a more progressive path and encourage their trial and evaluation in Ealing.

    Number of Stop and Searches carried out in Ealing under Section.23 Drug Misuse Act per ethnic group and resulting outcome, carried out in the period between November 2019 and August 2020.

    Stop and Search Dashboard – Metropolitan Police Service

  • 2
    The Metropolitan Police Service must better co-ordinate the use of Section 60 powers between local and regional policing.

    We heard from young people about their experience of the police use of Section 60 powers, which allow a ‘no suspicion’ search in a specific area designated by a senior police officer. We heard of good work locally to build trust and understanding with young people and communities; however, this can be undermined by the involvement of officers from outside the borough attending for policing operations.

  • 3
    The Metropolitan Police Service must urgently address the perceived culture of ‘them and us’ through recruitment, training and retention. We ask for the swift and full implementation of the pilot of unconscious bias training for front line policing and welcome an opportunity to be involved in the evaluation of its impact.

    We observed new police training that is being tested in northwest London as part of a randomised control trial. This training addressed some of the issues that had been raised with the Commission on the confrontational and discriminatory approach to policing and how it makes people feel. We therefore encourage both upscaling and acceleration of this work as we feel that can improve outcomes and understanding. We recognise how valuable this may be, and offer to support any evaluation to ensure this makes a real difference. For some of the young people we talked to the main issue is the perceived culture of the police force, “the colour that matters is blue” - and diversity in recruitment is not necessarily where we should start as the potential solution. But we concluded, as in other sectors, that improving diversity in recruitment at all levels, plus retention, alongside training that addresses discrimination, is essential to culture change and would want to see a target for when local policing will fully represent the borough they serve. By presenting local plans and increasing the openness and transparency about workforce information both to highlight what is being achieved and to help guide a more diverse and representative police force that works alongside our communities.

  • 4
    The Metropolitan Police Service and the Council should present a plan for building trust through engagement that has been produced with local people – a plan that builds trust, gives people a voice and helps people to understand their rights.

    Levels of trust in the Police are declining. Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters, told us that one problem is inconsistent implementation of the law. “The problem is how do you achieve consistency in the standard that needs to be reached [in policing] and the standard must be based on a respect for human rights.” We heard that the local dynamic matters; local authorities and localities can show leadership and bring about a different climate at a local level to buck the trend at national levels.

    The Borough Commander at the time told us that police/community liaison mechanisms are not effective. We recognise that the people the police want to talk to, and hear from, are not the people who are open to talking to the police. We have thought hard about how we can we bring serving frontline officers and young people together in different settings, including in primary schools, to promote trust so that the ambition for policing by consent can be modelled here in Ealing. The council and the police should continue to work with the youth service and young people but must establish what might work better in terms of liaison and trust building so that this only gets better. The council is in a unique position to help people in Ealing understand better how things work so that they know how they can hold people to account and put the case for change.

Priority 5 - Income and Employment

Build Back Fairer

The Challenge

When we listened in the spring to people describing the impact of the pandemic, levels of unemployment and people on furlough were at their peak. We heard that Ealing was one of the worst affected parts of London.

The biggest factor has been the impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector with the proximity of Heathrow, and the high levels of local employment in business linked to the airport, and in hospitality. At the time we heard from senior people at the airport that more than 30,000 jobs had been lost at Heathrow itself, 17,000 of these from people living in Ealing.

Nearly half of employees at Heathrow are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, predominantly in lower paid roles. We were concerned that the impact would not just be on young people, but also on older workers who might find it particularly difficult to re-skill and find different kinds of work.

Top five London boroughs with the highest benefit claimant count numbers - February 2021

Income and Employment May 2021, Ealing Council

Addressing race inequality is not only a social imperative, but also an economic one. As our country emerges from the pandemic Ealing should seize this opportunity to show London and the rest of the UK how our society and economy can be different and better for those of our neighbours who have felt ignored and left behind. We should not waste this chance to reset differently.

  • 1
    The Council should lead a co-ordinated response to the immediate situation, ensuring people in crisis are not falling off the radar.

    In the short term we ask the Council to run an anti-poverty campaign across different agencies and the community to ensure take up of hardship funds that are available, and to provide a network of support, and to plug gaps where they emerge, whether that’s through small pots of money to help people out of emergency, advice, clothes, or food banks.

  • 2
    That business commit to a pledge that shares the responsibility for reducing inequality, including on ethnic minority pay gap reporting: we call on employers across Ealing with 100+ staff to bring in reporting on the ethnicity pay gap in their workforce.

    We heard about high levels of in-work poverty in Ealing and welcome Council’s Plan for Good Jobs with its emphasis on paying the London Living Wage and on retraining and acquiring the skills that will mean people can progress in careers. There is legislation on the shelf that has not been enacted to require action on the gap in pay between different ethnic groups. We want to be bold and call on any organisation with 100 or more employees to start tackling this by setting targets and reporting on progress in the same way that employers are required by law to report on the gap in pay on average between men and women.

  • 3
    Let’s reset differently: Council, local colleges and businesses to co-ordinate re-training programme that addresses the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on older people.

    We felt that the largest employers had a moral obligation to support those people who had been made redundant and liked the notion of large employers as “anchor institutions” with a long-term stake in the prosperity of the place. We heard about the work of the new Southall Jobs Partnership and liked the area-based, community-led, rather than top-down approach. When we talked to community leaders in Southall, we heard that there was lots of untapped potential in locally based businesses who wanted to contribute to making the community prosper. We recommend that the Council adopts the approach to community wealth building that’s gaining ground in different parts of the country, which in Ealing, uniquely, has a commitment to race equality at its heart.

  • 4
    Community buildings: the Council should ensure local communities can make use of public and community buildings by working with local organisations to bring them back into use whether as temporary or permanent facilities.

    We heard from people who were angry that community facilities had been sold or neglected. The refurbished but empty Southall Manor House has been a symbol of this neglect. There is a strong feeling that there is a lack of civic spaces where people can come together, whether that’s to offer practical support such as training, advice, or as part of building a more connected community. The Commission encourages all custodians of space - school, leisure, Council or college - to find a way to unlock buildings and give communities access.

Priority 6 - Housing

Respect and Empowerment

The Challenge

There are 11,000 families currently on Ealing’s housing waiting list, but in the last year only around 800 properties were let. Ealing Council has made a pledge to be “the most ambitious council house building council in London”, with the target to build 2,500 “genuinely affordable” new homes by 2022. We heard that people in need of help with housing felt that they had nowhere to turn to and that services were difficult to deal with. There is a high proportion of people in this situation who don’t have English as a first language, and we heard from the councillor focus groups that language problems are a major barrier for their constituents.

The Commission wants to highlight the lessons to be learnt from the Grenfell Tower tragedy - an abject failure to listen to people. The Council, as a landlord, and housing associations, should put empowered tenant bodies at the heart of developments and sign up to a joint protocol on how to engage with tenants. We discussed how the Council should tackle problems in the Private Rented Sector, starting with a protocol on zero tolerance for landlords who discriminate again black and other minorities that agents could sign up to. We asked, what’s the mechanism to fix housing problems from a minority perspective?

  Commissioners’ visit with GOS&D

BAME households are 4 x more likely to be overcrowded
Private Renters are 6 x more likely to be overcrowded
Social Renters are 8 x more likely to be overcrowded

Rough Sleeping

We heard about the work of the Council during the pandemic to ensure that all of Ealing’s rough sleepers, over 500 people, were found somewhere to live. More than half were permanently resettled in private sector or supported housing. The rest of those found accommodation under these emergency powers were not eligible for help for the longer term from public funds due to their immigration status. Many of these were of Indian nationality.

The Council has been helping with immigration applications and a big proportion of these people are now close to getting a successful outcome after decades of life on the streets. But at the end of April nearly 70 people with no recourse to public funds will have no alternative other than to return to the streets, jeopardising the life changing progress that has been made over the last 18 months. The commissioners were concerned about the impossible position that the Council is in, which means that the only ways in which these most vulnerable people could continue to be helped would either be through a change in the law or through funding from voluntary contributions.

  • 1
    The Council should empower tenant groups and place them at the heart of both new and existing developments

    We were concerned about the high numbers of households in social and private rented accommodation that do not have structures that allow their collective voices and experiences to be heard in policy and neighbourhood regeneration.

  • 2
    The Council should run a campaign with tenants in the private sector to promote a greater awareness of their rights, where to go for support and advice, and how to hold bad landlords to account

    With more and more people in the private rented sector than ever before, and with poor housing being recognised as a significant detriment to health, it is imperative that individuals are empowered to take action with the support and back up of statutory agencies as appropriate.

  • 3
    The Council should establish hubs accessible to people in each ward where people can go to get advice and support specifically for housing queries.

    One of the issues mentioned repeatedly to commissioners was digital poverty and lack of access to online resources. The council is moving many of its services online and therefore people struggle. These hubs should have digital resources and people should be offered support there with using services that are accessed online. It is important that such services are wider than Council housing, and must address the breadth of need.

  • 4
    We urge the Government to change the law to allow councils to continue the work started during the pandemic to end rough sleeping.

    The Government has made a new “everyone in” pledge and we ask that Ealing Council sign up to this to continue the good work. Commissioners will work with the Council, and with other councils with the same problem, to make the case to Government and demand that we don’t go back to where we started but are able to find a funding solution to ending rough sleeping.

Priority 7 - Keeping Feet to the Flames

What happens next?

The Challenge

This Commission is independent, but was set up by Ealing Council, and while the recommendations are aimed at everyone who lives and works in Ealing, the Council has the leading role in ensuring they are implemented. We are launching these recommendations shortly before the local elections of May 2022. We are concerned that any change in political or council leadership will lead to a loss of momentum for this work. We are concerned that we will lose the moment for change. Everyone is very aware of previous reports up and down the country that are gathering dust on shelves – and we do not want that to happen with this report.

The Commission’s independence and its collegiate working style has allowed for broad conversations, and while everyone on the Commission has not always got their way, this non-confrontational way of working, has some positive lessons for how to address difficult issues head on. We stand united in our demands and our commitment to their success.

  Summary of demands and priorities

  Contributors to the commission


We propose that are three stages to our next steps:

  • 1
    We will present our findings in public for all to hear and will share and discuss these with stakeholders, community groups and businesses in advance of the May 2022 elections, starting the work to develop the response immediately.
  • 2
    We will follow up on commitments and progress after the elections in May 2022 including proposals for the independent body that will drive implementation and oversee progress.
  • 3
    The Council should commit to establishing an independent body that will hold the next Ealing administration to account for progress. The Leader of the Council should report on progress annually from 2023.

    This body will work with the Council over the next year to bring together Ealing’s public agencies, business, voluntary and community sectors to explore what works elsewhere, to look at the data and opportunities for change, and keep up the pressure. This group should be representative of the diversity of people who live in the borough and be supported by the Council and the Local Strategic Partnership. We ask that Council provide the secretariat support that this body will need.