Foreword from the Chair
Last summer, the Prime Minister asked if I would be willing to chair a Commission to investigate race and ethnic disparities in the UK. He felt that the UK needed to consider important questions about the state of race relations today, and that there needed to be a thorough examination of why so many disparities persist. We needed to work out what can be done to eliminate or mitigate them. I readily agreed: I have spent all my working life as an educationalist, dedicated to this cause.
The Commission was established with 10 of us drawn from a variety of fields spanning science, education, economics, broadcasting, medicine, and policing. And, with one exception, all from ethnic minority backgrounds. Tasked to look at race and ethnic disparities in education, employment, crime and policing and health, we first met virtually in July. Like so many of you in your own family and work situations during this time of COVID-19, the Commission has never met face to face.
Our diverse group, with our different areas of expertise, enabled us to challenge conventional approaches. The debates around the table were invigorating and led to stimulating discussion. Collectively, over the past few months, we have put our shoulders to the wheel and pushed this endeavour forward.
All the while we have been supported by the Cabinet Office’s Race and Disparity Unit (RDU) which was set up in 2016. It has accumulated all the important data on race and ethnicity, in one database.