In the first in a series of blog posts, Lorraine Barrie, Manager of Glasgow Equality Forum, talks about how you can get involved in influencing public sector reforms in Glasgow.
Who we are
Glasgow Equality Forum brings together representatives of voluntary sector equality networks in Glasgow to encourage better co-operation and cross-sector engagement on equality issues. Our members include Glasgow LGBTI Voluntary Sector Network, Glasgow Disability Alliance, Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Sector Network, Glasgow Voluntary Sector Race Equality Network, Faith in Community Scotland and Interfaith Glasgow.
What we do
The Equality Act 2010 states that public bodies must work to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity for people with protected characteristics.
At Glasgow Equality Forum, we work to support public sector organisations that are members of Glasgow Community Planning Partnership (CPP) to embed good equalities practice in their services and policies.
CPP members include Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow Life, Police Scotland, Strathclyde Passenger Transport, Jobcentre Plus and Glasgow Housing Association (full list of members). The impact of these organisations on our daily lives cannot be overestimated.
Glasgow Equality Forum aims to raise issues that concern our members within CPP structures. Our members consistently report that they experience barriers to having their voices heard by those in power. These barriers include complex decision-making structures, lack of accessible opportunities to be heard or even an awareness that their views count.
In May 2018 Glasgow City Council produced its first Citizen’s Charter. The Council says it will “be accountable to you and involve you in the formulation of policy, services and decisions about how council money is spent and the city’s spending priorities”, with citizens being responsible for becoming “more engaged within the city, by voting in elections, participating in public life and hold[ing] us to account.” We see this City Charter as an invitation for involvement – our members are certainly up for the challenge and I’m sure many of you are too!
Programme of reform in Glasgow
Glasgow City Council has embarked on an ambitious programme of reform this year. This includes a consultation on whether community planning structures should be reformed (see GEF’s Response) and the introduction of participatory budgeting projects in local areas such as Calton and Pollokshields, where the local community will decide how budgets are spent. One of the biggest potential impacts is the review of the Integrated Grants Fund. This is a multi-million pound funding stream that funds hundreds of projects across the city including youth clubs, community health and wellbeing projects, law and money advice centres, organisations challenging discrimination and providing training… and the list goes on. These reforms could have a massive impact on services in your local community.
By writing this blog, I hope to demystify some of the public sector structures within the city, and open up opportunities for citizens of Glasgow to contribute to decision-making processes and have their concerns heard, just as the Citizen’s Charter envisages. Information is power after all!
As well as sharing GEF’s work on social media and our website, I will share the dates and agendas for public sector meetings that are open to the public.
Future blog posts will be on:
– Glasgow City Council committees
– Participatory Budgeting
– the Integrated Joint Board
– community planning governance
I will be inviting my colleagues who work for equality networks to tell you about their work too.
How to get involved
- Like our Facebook and Twitter pages, where you will find information about consultation events and opportunities to participate. Retweet and share our posts, and let us know about any similar events you are involved in, so we can spread the word.
- Subscribe to the Equality Updates emails. These emails are an invaluable resource for equality information, funding sources and jobs.
- Find out more about our member organisations : Glasgow LGBTI Voluntary Sector Network, Glasgow Disability Alliance, Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Sector Network, Glasgow Voluntary Sector Race Equality Network, Faith in Community Scotland and Interfaith Glasgow.
- We encourage you to respond to any consultations we share, either in your own name or as part of a group or organisation. If you are experiencing barriers to doing this, or have any questions please get in touch. I will try to answer your question or point you to someone who can.