How NPC is considering race and ethnicity in its policy influencing work

By Leah Davis 13 May 2022 3 minute read

At NPC, we aim to influence policy to create an environment where charities and funders can have the greatest impact for the people and communities they serve. And we, like everyone else, have a role to play in calling for policy change that actively considers diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Ensuring that DEI principles are considered in policymaking is, rightly, a very broad aim, concerning a wide range of people and issues. From how people from different social groups and classes are included in policymaking decisions, to how economic policies ensure people with disabilities can access and keep good jobs.

One important area of DEI is how government policy affects people from minority ethnic communities, because people from these communities are more likely to experience a range of disadvantages in the UK, highlighted only too well by the statistics on people contracting and dying from Covid-19. Funding and policies introduced, particularly at the national level, can have a significant impact on reducing these inequalities.

At NPC, we’ve been taking steps to make sure that our analysis, research and advocacy considers and makes the case for equity for people from minority ethnic communities.

Our analysis work

NPC is known for its trusted analysis, so we have recently focused on ensuring that we include how policies affect different ethnic minority groups in our analysis work, and have been highlighting these findings with national policymakers and MPs. For example, last year we published a series of analysis papers on where the government’s ‘levelling up’ funds will be spent, and what they will be spent on. We compared how different parts of the country were prioritised for funding against a number of social indicators, such as crime and homelessness, to understand if the ‘levelling up’ funds were prioritised in areas with high social needs. We also analysed the funding priorities to understand if they were being targeted at areas with high levels of minority ethnic communities. Our initial analysis found that funding was not being consistently prioritised in areas with high levels of minority ethnic communities.

Following the publication of the analysis, we spoke to a number of racial justice organisations to share the findings of our work and to get feedback on how it could be improved. We learned more about how to better communicate some quite large differences the data was showing between ethnic minority groups. The Race Equality Foundation also advised that the data we were using from the 2011 census, although the most up to date data from government, could be unhelpful as there have been significant shifts in populations in different places in the UK over the past decade.

So for our next analysis paper, we worked with the Race Equality Foundation to analyse how targeted ‘levelling up’ funding has been allocated to date, compared to concentrations of different minority ethnic groups. We highlighted in our report that areas with high levels of Black communities had not been prioritised with targeted ‘levelling up’ funding so far.

This finding was recently quoted by the Shadow Levelling Up Minister, Alex Norris, in Parliament in his questions to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. We hope that this analysis and future NPC analysis helps to put this issue higher up the agenda in the policymaking community and ultimately bring about change in government policy.

Using our platform with funders and charities

NPC has good relationships and reach into the charity and funder sectors, which other racial justice groups may not have access to. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we invite people from diverse backgrounds to speak at NPC events, and we provide payment if a lack of it would be a barrier to them speaking.

But we are also using our platform to raise awareness of policy issues that affect minority ethnic communities among charities and funders, who may not otherwise easily access this information. For example, Alba Kapoor from the Runnymede Trust recently wrote a blog on the policy implications of the government’s Inclusive Britain report, and what this means for charities and funders.

What next?

We hope that these steps help to ensure that the policy needs of different ethnic minority groups are championed in NPC’s policy influencing work. And we want to continue to take steps and be more effective at this.

For example, we are currently developing a project with the Race Equality Foundation to help increase the voice of minority ethnic communities in policy decisions related to the climate and nature crises. This would support organisations across the UK to build up knowledge on what these crises mean for different minority ethnic communities, and to increase capacity to advocate for better policy for these communities. This is part of a wider project that NPC is developing with partners from social charities, environmental charities and think tanks, to accelerate action on climate change in the social sector, which we are actively fundraising for.

We are being proactive in ensuring that we share the findings of our research and analysis with racial justice groups, so they can use it to support their advocacy work. We’re also making sure that we offer opportunities for racial justice groups to provide feedback and help shape NPC’s policy work, through project advisory groups, and meetings. However, we want to expand this further and find more ways to ensure that NPC is using its policy knowledge and networks to better support racial justice organisations and to reflect the policy needs of minority ethnic communities. If you would like our support, or want to be involved in influencing NPC’s work, please do get in touch.

The steps that we are taking in our policy work are part of our broader efforts to incorporate DEI into everything we do at NPC, including our events, our consultancy work and our recruitment policy.

We know that these are steps, and that we need to continue to take more. We also know that racial equity is just one of the issues that makes up the DEI umbrella. So, we will be expanding our approach to policy work to include broader diversity, such as considering disabilities and class more, and we will always be open to new ideas and ways achieve these goals. If you have those ideas, please do get in touch.