In a paper published today on the Equality and Diversity Forum the researchers found the government's GRT policy does not engage with or adequately promote community groups and opposes forms of positive action.
The paper analyses a Progress report by the ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, published in April 2012, and its integration strategy Creating the conditions for integration, published in February 2012.
Whilst concerns and commitments expressed by the government to reduce inequalities are welcomed by the academic researchers, the paper makes a number of proposals to ensure GRT community equality:
- to enable the state to ensure equality rather than acting as a passive spectator, some form of positive action mechanism may be required to counter institutional racism as well as overt, race based opposition to the delivery of tailored services and particularly, Traveller sites.
- a return to a statutory obligation or duty on local authorities to provide sites, as well as formal recognition of the disadvantages experienced by vulnerable groups (such as former prisoners in bail hostels, learning disabled adults or residents of social housing).
- to bring about change, there is a clear need for representation and open access to policy makers by GRT communities.