More than 80 Lambeth residents came to Streatham Library to discuss ways to get more people involved in decision-making in the borough. The event, on leadership, participation & representation, was the third of four public evidence-gathering sessions for the Equality Commission, which will produce its report later this year.
Mr Umunna opened the meeting by pointing out that deprivation and inequality are long-term issues in Lambeth.
He said: “Lambeth is the 8th most deprived borough in London, and the 22nd most deprived borough in England. So these issues of equality are very present in this borough and have been for decades.
“One of the primary drivers of why I put myself forward to do this job was that I grew up in lambeth when those inequalities really widened, in the Eighties and the Nineties, and I wanted to do something about it.”
The people attending the meeting were divided into 12 groups and asked to tackle three key questions: how can we encourage more diverse representation and leadership in public life?; how can the council and other large public and private sector employers ensure we attain a diverse workforce at all levels?; and What three things do you think would have the greatest impact on increasing representation and leadership in public life?
Mr Umunna said: “Let’s approach this in a grown-up manner. Let’s leave our rights, our personal agendas at the door and try and come at the end of this meeting having looked dispassionately and objectively at these issues, to think about what we can do locally, in spite of the obstacles that central government puts in our way, to reduce these inequalities in the borough of Lambeth.
“How do we make sure that every single person in this borough has a voice?”
The findings of each group were read out at the end of the meeting and will be presented as evidence to the Equality Commission while it is preparing its report.
If you’d like to contribute your own thoughts on any or all of the questions, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take part in a future discussion
The Equality Commission will hold one more evidence-gathering session at the end of this month. Further information and registration details are as follows:
- Saturday 28 January, 2017 – Crime and justice discussion