Last updated: 25 February 2023
NIROMP actions, learning and support resources can be accessed: HERE
Position statements and learning resources are provided in this latest briefing as is our continuing call for more action. Scroll down to access a range of learning resources and to make your promise. To quote the words of @NimalJude, ”The best time to change was years ago. The next best time is now!”
Niromp POSITION statements
NIROMP has an important role to play in advocating for anti-oppressive and anti-racist practice. From policies that reinforce racism towards minoritised people and communities of colour to racist propaganda in the media, we recognise that there are various and often intersecting factors at play, often entrenched in policy, culture, behaviours, and institutions that continue to result in human rights abuses. Our work, and the ways we engage with allyship, must reflect a human rights agenda and as a result, we must continually strive to create the capacity and agency of all people to challenge racism, social injustices and inequity wherever and however they show up.
If we are truly committed to promoting social justice, in society and in relation to the people, families and communities we work with, then we must address racial discrimination. We must show commitment in our every day actions, in our thinking, in our conversations – with family, friends, and colleagues. This includes reporting racist incidents when they occur; calling out racist propaganda and forging alliances to tackle key issues; raising awareness and making suggestions for positive reform.
Our work continues …
NATIONALITY AND BORDERS ACT
Structural racism can be seen in the way historic white supremacy is reflected in today’s wealth and health disparities, employment patterns, concentrations of poverty, unequal educational opportunity and inclusion, unequal policing, and white narratives based on white normativity. We may all be unequal inheritors of structural racism, but we shouldn’t use this as a reason to normalise the presence of racism and its impact on our lives through legislation that reinforces hostility. Policy makers and politicians have the power to challenge, change, and organise against structural racism and a white supremacy narrative.
Download NIROMP position statement on the Nationality and Borders Bill: HERE
On 28 April 2022, the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill (‘the Bill’) received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament. Download: What is the Nationality and Borders Act
NIROMP SUBMISSION TO THE SOCIAL CARE REVIEW IN ENGLAND
Explicitly address Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Professional institutions cannot maximise social justice and human wellbeing without advocating to reform the racist and oppressive systems that social workers still work within and beside (9). The Social Care Review should fully consider the role of racism and ethnic disparities within institutions and systems that have affected social care for generations.
Explicit attention should be given to anti-discriminatory, anti-oppressive
and anti-racist practice in the Social Work England Education and Training Standards. The review should consider why social work institutions have continued to regulate Black, Brown, and ethnic minoritised social workers more rigorously (10).
IROs and their managers have an ethical duty to oppose racism, both personally and professionally, and to demonstrate what it means to be anti-racist along with wider public servants; directly confronting racism at the individual, agency, and institutional levels. We should be held accountable to this anti-racist mandate (11).
NIROMP rejects the conclusion of the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred) (12). The Cred report denies the extent and effects of institutional racism in the UK. In contrast to the landmark inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence (13); the Lammy Review (14); the McGregor-Smith Review (15), the Cred report was not peer reviewed and has been extensively discredited by health professionals (16), academics (17), business chiefs (18) and criminal justice experts (19).
There exists a plethora of quantitative and qualitative data evidencing institutional racism. The evidences includes but is not exhaustive to the Covid-19 Marmot Review (20), the Runnymede Trust (21), the Resolution Foundation (22), and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (23) documenting the existence of ‘lived’ racisms and racialisations endured by individuals in the UK today across most sectors of industry as well as academia, education, the healthcare system and the criminal justice system.
NIROMP could document many more examples of credible evidence. The knowledge base that exists on the extent and effects of racism and the impact in the UK, particularly on the educational outcomes and life chances of young people from racial / ethnic minoritised backgrounds which includes children currently living in the care system and those with experience of living in the care system is undeniable.
Introduce a more inclusive education system
There must be effective measures to end the systematic exclusions and inequalities in secondary and higher education. Digital poverty must be addressed (1) (24) and more must be done to address what campaigners are referring to as the ‘PRU-to-prison’ pipeline (25). Financial and pastoral resources should support everyone to reach their potential. The creation of a tertiary education system that enables all learners to access different types of learning throughout their lives is needed.
Return to the principles of the Equality Act 2010
Recent review carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol (26) found that there are some protected characteristics that are associated with an increased risk of poverty in the UK: race, sex (in the case of single mothers), and disability. In relation to age, younger workers are much more likely to be in poverty than other age groups. They also found that intersectionality plays a large role; the more protected characteristics a person has, the more risk they bear including increased likelihood of incurring poverty premiums, even compared with low-income households as a whole.
There should be a commitment across all public bodies to attend to the socio- economic inequalities as much as personal ones. Considering the inequality laid bare by Covid, this should be the opportunity to start taking measures to address the social determinants of poverty on an intersectoral basis (27) (20). Action should therefore attend to the original intention of the Equality Act 2010 (28), recognising intersectional disadvantage, would help to address prevailing inequalities.
NIROMP urges the review to consider the need for a national equity-based plan and long-term investment to address the range of complex, health and welfare disparities demands the building of partnerships across sectors, industries, communities, and institutions to allow all forms of knowledge and social value to flourish.
Download: NIROMP RESPONSE TO SOCIAL CARE REVIEW IN ENGLAND
THE BIG PROMISE
The National IRO Managers Partnership (NIROMP) stands by our statement of June 2020. As Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs), managers and leaders of IRO services, we have voiced our condemnation of continued racial injustices. We must all take active steps to combat racism wherever we find it.
In May 2021 we revisited our statement, rallied IROs and asked what has changed? What actions have we taken towards becoming anti-racist. Actions definitely speak louder than words. What next we asked?
We are calling on all IROs, their leaders and wider colleagues to publicly announce their Big Promise. Watch our five minute video and then register your promise.
PROMOTING LEARNING & INFORMATION SHARING – HELPFUL resources
Advice for being an ally
This great open source starter guide is shared here thanks to Amélie Lamont. It is a resource to help anyone considering allyship better to understand the pros and cons of what being an ally entails. Allies understand their role in collaboration with people whose lives are affected daily by systemic oppression. Being an ally is not to be taken lightly. Read this helpful starter guide at source: HERE
BAMEed is a grassroots network aimed at ensuring our diverse communities are represented as a substantive part of the education workforce. More information: HERE
WhiteAccomplices.org have developed a website to support white people wanting to act for racial justice. It draws from ideas and resources developed mostly by Black, Brown and People of Color, and has been edited by Black, Brown, and People of Color. More information: HERE
‘Ally – Being an ally is a verb, it is active. Most importantly, ally is not a title you can give to yourself, you may be regarded as an ally by others through your actions at times.’ Good read: The white ally and the fight for racial justice by tenpencemore
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad uses a step-by-step reflection process, to encourage people with white privilege to examine their racist thoughts and behaviours. Various versions of the book are available to purchase: HERE
The Black Care Experience
During Lockdown in 2020, The Black Care Experience was established because of a concern about the Care, Outcomes and Life Chances of those of us who are Black and In Care, along with concerns about how the ‘VOICE’ of the Black Care Experienced would be presented and represented at England’s Independent Children’s Social Care Review.
More information: HERE
Download: The Black Care Experience Charter
Understanding the lived experiences of black and ethnic minority children and families By Dr Claudia Bernard
This excellent Knowledge Briefing briefing by @DrCBernard is for social workers and supervisors about understanding the lived experience of Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic children & families and is FREE to access via the Research in Practice website. A central aim of the briefing is to focus on black and ethnic minoritised children as these groups of children are over-represented in children’s social work, but have unique issues as a result of various marginalised identities. It provides summaries of research exploring salient factors affecting children and families’ day-to-day realities, thus deepening practice supervisors’ knowledge of how poverty and systemic inequalities affect families’ social conditions.
Read the Knowledge Briefing at source: HERE
Knowledge briefing – Addressing barriers to the progression of black and minority ethnic social workers to senior leadership roles BY DR CLAUDIA BERNARD
This knowledge briefing is written specifically for managers of practice supervisors. It focuses on how they can proactively support the progression of black and minority ethnic social workers into management positions and senior leadership roles.
It contains the following key messages from research and practice evidence about:
- The career advancement of black and minority ethnic social workers.
- How structural factors that play out within organisations affect the progression of black and minority ethnic social workers.
- How managers can identify and remove organisational barriers that block the progression for black and minority ethnic social workers.
Challenge questions and reflective prompts are included to help you consider how you might use these ideas in your role as middle leader.
Read the Knowledge Briefing at source: HERE
COVID-19 (coronavirus): accelerating learning and development
With a social work career spanning over 24 years, Rashida Baig specialises in child protection and complex issues impacting ethnic minorities. She recently celebrated being made an MBE for her work with vulnerable children and their families. Here she gives her advice on getting ahead by leading from the front and advocating better practice.
Read at source: HERE
Thinking about the impact of racism
The killing of George Floyd in the United States in 2020 and its galvanising impact on the Black Lives Matter movement sharpened global attention on the issue of racism. We have collaborated with three practice leaders who have experience of working in children’s social care, to explore how racism has affected their professional lives, and what needs to change.
Rashida Baig MBE (Head of Service) and Brian Amos (Service Manager) from the London Borough of Croydon met with Nimal Jude (Practice Development Manager) from SCIE and reflected together as part of an unscripted discussion which was filmed. Three short films reflect the themes they explored, which you can access below.
View at source: HERE
anti-racist social work – the theory and practice
It’s time for all well-intentioned platitudes and recycled rhetoric to be converted into meaningful activism and root and branch reform, says local social worker and activist Wayne Reid.
Read at source: BLACK LIVES MATTER: THEN, NOW & ALWAYS
Have a watch of this Social work student connect webinar 6:
Please see this article, which may be of interest: The art of becoming a social work practice educator by Shabnam Ahmed i
Hair and skin are important to a black child’s identity – but many social workers don’t understand this by Zoe Thomas
Skin and hair can be integral to a young black person’s sense of self. Yet in the UK, black children and young people face discrimination about their bodies. It’s not just schools sending black children home because their hair is deemed contrary to uniform codes. The importance of hair and skin to black children is also overlooked in social work.
Read the full piece by Zoe Thomas, Lecturer in Social Work: HERE
We also recommend r’eading this piece by written by a Cafcass Service Manager, North West England: The importance of physical appearance to the identity of Black children
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri: HERE
Author Emma Dabiri says the stigma around Afro-textured hair is a construct. Here’s where the myth comes from:
A collection of great talks, videos and resources by and for children and young people
What’s it like growing up with mixed heritage? HERE
What is racism – and what can be done about it? A collection of really helpful, informative videos by young people: HERE
‘It All Adds Up’ is an animation created by the Student Commission on Racial Justice a partnership of Leaders Unlocked and 10 leading colleges in England. More: HERE
PODCASTS & TED TALKS ON RACISM & ANTI-RACIST ACTIVISM IN THE UK TODAY:
- Ellis Fearon (aged 14) explains Black Lives Matter
- Nova Reid describes microaggressions
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
- Akala: race and class in the ruins of empire
- June Sarpong talks diversity and the British class system
- ‘Ways To Change The World’
- Ghetts on black British artists, gang violence & the evolution of grime
- George The Poet on youth violence, representations and limitations of government
- Munroe Bergdorf on racism, trans activism and acceptance
- Nova Reid Podcast
- Afua Hirsch with David Olusoga
Visit HERE for articles and other resources.
Black minds matter – therapeutic support
The effects of racial discrimination across this country, for many black people the cases of violence against individuals such as George Floyd in the USA and the many historic incidents in the UK are deeply triggering. Treating mental health must be a priority in the fight for equality and welfare of black people in the UK.
Black Minds Matter is a fantastic organisation on a mission to make mental health topics and support accessible for all black people in the U.K. Understanding that the NHS is currently in crisis and therapy is not always readily available, their aim is to link as many black individuals and families in the UK with certified, professional, black practitioners for sessions as soon as possible.
Learn more about the Black Minds Matter organisation and how to donate. Your support is needed to help bridge the gap so that therapeutic access can be made available. The money raised will be used to pay in full for therapy sessions for those in need. Individuals may choose a practitioner to their liking, keeping confidentiality and dignity as a focus.
Visit the Black Minds website. We have created a website: HERE
HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR or by PARENTS AND CARERS
A Parent’s guide to black lives matter: HERE
Be-Longing is the story of Khoji, a 9-year ‘looked after’ boy living within a foster family. Be-Longing follows Khoji’s progress as he enters ‘care’ and embarks on a journey towards regaining belief in himself and adults. Be-Longing is produced by DrumCamFilms and directed by filmmaker Mike McKenzie. Mike and his wife Carol have been fostering children for over 13 years. Be-Longing has been nominated and won several awards at a number of prestigious international and UK wide film festivals. More information including film viewings: HERE
Black hair and skin care by Adoption Star: HERE
White foster carers need more information about caring for black children. Black children in care must be empowered to become confident adults, and identity and culture are an important part of this. An important read and includes a helpful book recommendation ‘Black Children in Care: Health, Hair and Skin by Denise Lewis and Flo Awolaja.
Inclusive bookshops & reads
Put this hashtag into your twitter search bar to find a range of books for children and adults #ReadTheOnePercent
There’s a small pool of Black-owned bookshops across the UK that have struggling through the pandemic, but are beginning to open up and are taking online orders.
So, swot up on our list of these independent bookshops which either specialise in texts that relate to Black culture, or are owned by a person of colour and spread the word to help them increase their sales and feel your support.
Afori books of black origin: HERE
Children’s books that cover race and racism: HERE
Books of Africa is an bookstore and publishers which works on making a whole range of books on history, literature, science, economics, poetry, fiction and finance available to the masses, written by mainly authors with African descent: HERE
Jacaranda Books is an award winning independent publisher and bookshop which focuses on showcasing diverse authors both online and in store: HERE
No Ordinary Bookshop specialises in children’s books for children of colour, showing a diverse range of characters so that all can recognise themselves in their pages: HERE
Serendipity is a Black-led arts organisation and based in Leicester which also publishes several titles a year focusing on Black arts, heritage and cultural politics, including BlackInk, which is a new magazine of international voices from across the African and African Caribbean Diaspora and indigenous communities: HERE
Book Love is a multicultural travelling book carnival and online bookshop which is run by a collective of educators, creatives and community members: HERE
Imagine Me Stories, a monthly subscription box which seeks to empower children by providing books with Black main characters and Black history/African activities: HERE
Black Cultural Archives is a library, exhibition space, cafe and shop which dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain: HERE
African Books Collective is an online resource which champions African publishers based in Africa, but with a distribution centre in Oxford making it much easier to order their texts if you live in the UK: HERE
The Sevenoaks Bookshop is a charming space, located in leafy greater London, south of the centre. The history of the name dates back to 1948 and since then there’s been four owners, most recently Fleur Sinclair who has been at the helm since 2015: HERE
ROUND TABLE BOOKS exists to celebrate underrepresented children’s books, writers and illustrators. See their last books for children of all ages: HERE
New Beacon Books was actually the UK’s first ever Black publisher, specialist bookshop and international book distributor, after being founded by John La Rose and Sarah White in London in 1966: HERE
Pepukayis Books specialises in African-centred books and fostering a space for learning and celebration of African culture in the UK to support the Black community: HERE
Help diversity-led independent publishers tell more stories! Representative publishing is in crisis, help ensure their future. Watch the video below and read more: HERE
children – our most powerful hope for change
Onjali Q. Raúf is the founder of Making Herstory, an organisation mobilising men, women and children from all walks of life to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. In her spare time she delivers emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk, and supports interfaith projects. Her first novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, won the Waterstone’s Children’s Prize and The Blue Peter Award. Her second book, The Star Outside My Window, published in October 2019 and she has written a 2020 World Book Day title that’s a follow up to The Boy at the Back of the Class called The Day We Met the Queen. Here she reads an extract from ‘Boy at their Back of the Class’.
BAMEed is a grassroots network aimed at ensuring our diverse communities are represented as a substantive part of the education workforce. More information: HERE
No more school exclusions
No More Exclusions is a new UK abolitionist coalition grassroots movement. Their mission is to bring about an end to the persistent race-disparities in school exclusions in the next five years and to affect change at legal, policy, practice and cultural level in education and society as a whole over the next ten years. We want an education system that works for all!
Visit the website: HERE
Watch this short clip from the excellent documentary series on the School that tried to end racism (and then watch the series):
Watch this excellent series ‘The School That Tried to End Racism’. A powerful lesson in white privilege – you can tune in to the series: HERE
‘The need for a more critical engagement with issues around Empire and slavery is essential in understanding Britain’s troubled and oppressive history in its absolute unfiltered entirely’ – The Black Curriculum.
The current History National Curriculum systematically omits the contribution of Black British history in favour of a dominant White, Eurocentric curriculum, one that fails to reflect our multi-ethnic and broadly diverse society. We need a redefined curriculum that aligns to our values and identities, and that is integral to the development of inclusive classrooms that establish belonging and connectedness in the very broadest sense.
Hear from students as to why Black British history is important!
Head over to the Black Curriculum website to develop your knowledge on Black British history: HERE
Read: THE BLACK CURRICULUM BLACK BRITISH HISTORY IN THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM REPORT 2021
The Black Curriculum: Meet the woman bringing black British history to schools: HERE
Read the report by The Black British Curriculum and join the call for changes to children’s education and curriculum: HERE
On racism, structural bias and privilege
Source: Unfiltered with James O’Brien Akala deconstructs race, class, and Britain’s modern myths | Unfiltered with James O’Brien #32
Rapper, poet and scholar Akala joins James O’Brien to discuss race and class.
Akala picks apart many of the modern myths around educational attainment, gangs, street violence and black youth, looking at the ways these are perpetuated in the media and who benefits from perpetuating them, as well as looking back to the Windrush generation and the institutionalised injustices that led to the recent crisis. Read about the interview: HERE
Read ‘Natives’ by Akala. Shortlisted for the James Tait Black prize, the Jhalak prize, the Bread and Roses award and longlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing. More Information: HERE
A shocking drama inspired by the Windrush scandal. After 50 years in the UK, Anthony Bryan is wrongfully detained by the Home Office and threatened with deportation.
According to the show’s epilogue, “the Home Office revealed that by February 2020 there were 1108 applicants to the Windrush Compensation Scheme, of which only 36 had been granted any money. As of May 2020, Anthony has yet to receive any compensation.”
We need to make concerted efforts to learn and to unlearn. It will take time and effort, challenge and continued activism to really address and bring an end to racism and racial discrimination. Sadly we’re a very long way off from where we need to be.
A damning report was also released in March 2020, but – with coronavirus dominating the headlines – it has not received widespread attention. The Windrush Lessons Learned Review reports on the independent inquiry conducted by Wendy Williams (an inspector of constabulary), and it is pretty scathing about the Home Office’s handling of these cases, concluding that the government department showed “ignorance and thoughtlessness”, leading to devastating outcomes that were “foreseeable and avoidable”.
Watch via BBC iPlayer: Sitting in Limbo
THE POWER OF LANGUAGE
We create new acronyms and initialisms on a regular basis, but acronyms and initialisms are not always well thought through. Where we find evidence that they are not widely understood, have negative connotations or are hurtful to people, it is right that we revisit them.
Jahnine Davis and Nick Marsh, PhD researchers have produced a guide exploring issues related to child protection and safeguarding. The guide to Initial meetings with young people: an intersectional and systemic approach. The also provide excellent training and consultancy. Please check out their website here. Also please check out Jahnines work / article around ‘Where are the Black girls in our CSA services, studies and statistics?‘
Law Professor Kimberle Crenshaw founded the Term ‘Intersectionality’. She says: ‘Feminist backtalking confounds patriarchy. Anti-racist questioning confounds white supremacy. Intersectionality is the framework that allows for the “both/and” conversations we most need.’ Please watch:
The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Nova Reid (anti-racism activist, TED speaker, podcast host and author)
Nova uses her professional background in mental well-being to focus on mindset change, working with organisations and individuals to improve diversity and systems of discrimination from the inside out.
WATCH Nova’s TED talk on microaggressions:
Learn about racism beyond an overt act of hate: https://novareid.com/services/anti-racism-course/
Read The Good Ally by Nova Reid: https://www.novareid.com/the-good-ally
Nova Reid and David Harewood in conversation about mental health and racism
Nova Reid (anti-racism activist, TED speaker, podcast host and author) and actor David Harewood (Homeland; Supergirl; Othello, NT) spoke about the systemic racism that impacts the mental health of Black and Brown people. This conversation is for those who want to be a part of change but feel helpless and don’t know how to move forward. David reflects on his personal experience of psychosis, and Nova explains how to become an effective ally against racism. Together, we can change the world for the better.
This talk lasts 60 minutes, and was streamed live from the National Theatre, London. Watch at source: https://bigmarker.com/nationaltheatre/Nova-Reid-and-David-Harewood-in-conversation…
A PERSPECTIVE ON WOKENESS
@Ayishat_Akanbi On radical kindness/understanding/compassion/empathy… about arguing & shaming each other online … Radical or conformist or performatist? Nuance is important to seeing our interconnections… Enlightening, helpful reflections and challenges:
STRUCTURAL RACISM AND POLICE VIOLENCE
“ Social and behavioral science researchers and educators have devoted themselves with passion and rigor to analyzing, explaining, and attempting to dismantle the mechanisms of oppression and discrimination that disfigure our society. At SAGE, our aim is to enable this crucial work and amplify those expert voices, particularly scholars of color, who need to be heard”— Blaise Simqu, President & CEO, SAGE Publishing
Free to access resources: HERE
HOPE 2020 CAMPAIGN
10 year old Damilola Taylor dreamed of being a Doctor. Shortly before his untimely death on 27th November 2000 he wrote of his hope to change the World. The 20th anniversary campaign is dedicated to young people and their aspirational stories of ambition and hope. The kind of young person Damilola was turning into.
Hope 2020 is a campaign shining light on the positive contributions of young people. Inspired by the philosophy of the public health approach to reducing violence affecting young people. Hope is a vital ingredient especially in our most socially challenged communities. Relationships are key to supporting young people and we are delighted to have such a broad church of contributing partners supporting the campaign.
Read more: HOPE 2020
The lie that invented racism | John Biewen
To understand and eradicate racist thinking, start at the beginning. That’s what journalist and documentarian John Biewen did, leading to a trove of surprising and thought-provoking information on the “origins” of race. He shares his findings, supplying answers to fundamental questions about racism — and lays out an exemplary path for practicing effective allyship. The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know.
Resources for advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in your workplace
Here are some resources for advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in your workplace: HERE