Liverpool Fairness Commission

By David Bartlett on Jun 19, 12 11:57 AM in Liverpool City Council

I'm in the procsess of putting together a story about the Liverpool Fairness Commission for tomorrow's paper.

I've been sent an interesting FAQ document, which I thought worth sharing.

Here it is:

Why was The Fairness Commission set up?

The Liverpool Fairness Commission was established in April 2011 by the City Council as an independent body. Liverpool is the most deprived local authority in England and is also having to implement bigger cuts than any other council. The Commission's job was to look at practical ways of improving the lives of people living in the city against a background of economic recession and massive spending constraints. Crucially the Commission was concerned with ensuring that the impact of recession, austerity and cuts did not create further hardship for those who are already disadvantaged.

Who are The Commission's members?

The Fairness Commission is Chaired by Claire Dove MBE DL, Chief Executive of Blackburne House, Women's Technology and Education Centre. Other members of the Commission were drawn from every sector within the City of Liverpool, reflecting a broad range of experience and expertise from business, education, public service and the voluntary sector. They are:
Gideon Ben-Tovim Chair, Liverpool PCT Board
Elaine Bowker, Principal, Liverpool Community College
Dr Martin Carey, Chief Executive, Business Gateway and Urban Hope Liverpool Hope University
Lesley Dixon, Chief Executive, Liverpool PSS
John Flamson ,Director of Partnerships and Innovation, University of Liverpool
Frank Hont, Regional Secretary, UNISON North West
Jane Kennedy, Former Liverpool MP
Steve Parry, Managing Director, Neptune Developments
Max Steinberg, Chief Executive, Liverpool Vision

What was is looking to achieve?

Its task has been to examine the issues and evidence surrounding Liverpool's social and economic inequalities; to provide examples of good practice and develop a set of recommendations to help inform and shape public, private and voluntary sector strategy to achieve greater fairness. The Fairness Commission also has a longer term and broader set of objectives. It wants to see radical and sustainable change. It wants to put fairness at the heart of a more diverse and prosperous local economy. It wants to increase opportunities for local people and businesses through education and enlightened procurement and promote entrepreneurialism. The Commission aims to make Liverpool the UK's fairest city.

Why does fairness matter?

International evidence shows that there are clear links between levels of inequality and the prevalence of issues such as mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, limited life expectancy, infant mortality, obesity, and children's educational performance amongst others. Tackling these issues is shown to be beneficial to society as a whole and not just those who are disadvantaged. Liverpool has a proud history for pioneering social, educational and health reform. The Fairness Commission was keen to build on that tradition and provide genuinely innovative approaches to reduce inequality and create a fairer and more inclusive city for all its citizens.

Who presented evidence to the Commission?

The Commission received evidence from a whole host of sources. These included Professor Richard Wilkinson, author of the influential book "The Spirit Level", Ceri Jones of the Social Enterprise Coalition, Ged Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, Lynne Carey of Kensington Children's Centre, plus social housing providers, trade unions, businesses, Liverpool Schools' Parliament members, MPs and members of the public.

What are The Commission's key recommendations?

The Commission has set out a series of radical recommendations covering a very broad range of policy areas, including health, housing, employment and education. These include the implementation of a Living Wage for Liverpool, and other measures to promote fairness and equality of opportunity in the labour market.

The Commission wants to reduce the city's dependency on public sector employment by setting measurable targets for the creation of new businesses, especially SME's and social businesses. It wants a concerted initiative by the City and its partners to build on the success of the recent Global Entrepreneurship Congress, to promote enterprise and entrepreneurialism and also make Liverpool an exemplar city for fair trade and investment.

The Commission recognises the crucial importance of education and proposes measures, including financial assistance, to ensure that those from disadvantaged backgrounds can access the education and skills they need.

The Commission wants to ensure that its recommendations are implemented and that it has a sustainable legacy. It is therefore proposing an Annual Fairness Review led by the Mayor of Liverpool, to monitor progress with implementation.

The Commission believes that Liverpool must act collectively and regroup around shared goals and values if it is going to become a fairer city for all its citizens. It is therefore launching a major civic campaign, Come2gether.

What difference would the adoption of a Living Wage for Liverpool make?

There is evidence that payment of a Living Wage improves recruitment and retention of staff, reduces absenteeism and sick leave, enhances productivity and the quality of work, is good for staff morale and motivation, helps business reputation and provides financial and welfare benefits to employees.

Would its introduction harm businesses?

An independent study of the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage in London found that although there are costs to businesses, no major employer reported any change in sales or turnover as a result of introducing the Living Wage and half saw no change in their profits.

Why Come2gether?

The Fairness Commission alone will not make Liverpool a fairer city, but all its major public institutions, businesses, community groups and citizens working together around common goals and shared values.

One of our recommendations is that the City and its partners encourage all civic stakeholders to affirm their commitment to the Principles of Fairness by adopting the Liverpool Fairness Charter through the Come2gether campaign.

The Principles and Charter have already been embraced by a number of major organisations in the City including Liverpool City Council, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool PCT, Liverpool Vision and Liverpool Community College. The Charter outlines ten key steps towards achieving greater fairness. They are:

1.We will ensure the principles of fairness are at the heart of all our decision-making including the setting of budgets, the allocating of resources and strategic planning
2.We will set measurable and realistic targets for achieving greater fairness across all areas of our organisation's activity, with progress monitored and reported annually
3.We will ensure that when working with partners we make best use of combined resources to target inequality, so as to maximise impact
4.We will support, and where possible, will develop initiatives that address the education, training and employment needs of young people
5.We will target resources and opportunities at those in greatest need
6.We will support the growth of local business and social enterprises, as well as inward investment as the key to increasing prosperity and improving employment opportunities for Liverpool people
7.We will support the use of increased wealth generated through economic growth to reduce income differentials, and will support the city's work towards the introduction of a Living Wage for Liverpool
8.We will apply social value criteria to all our procurement and contracting practices
9.We will commission services on the basis of who is best able to meet the needs of service users
10.We will actively encourage and support both employers and employees to gain the skills and qualifications needed to improve the competitiveness of local businesses, the prospects of local people and the prosperity of Liverpool's economy

What are the Charter's key points?

• A City that respects and cherishes all its citizens and people, and where no-one experiences discrimination as a result of their ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, belief or disability.

• A City that directs its resources to overcome and minimise inequality and disadvantage.

• A City where every person is valued and where every voice is heard.

• A City where no child grows up in poverty

• A City in which every young person receives the best education and training
they need to gain worthwhile and fulfilling employment

• A City that provides the best opportunity to work for everyone

• A City where pay differentials and rewards are proportionate and reasonable to reflect
work and responsibility and where everyone can receive a Living Wage

• A City where every citizen will enjoy good health and life expectancy at least on a par
with anywhere else in the UK

• A City where people care for each other and their neighbourhood

• A City where no one fears growing old because of lack of care or insufficient income

• A City where everyone has access to safe, decent and affordable housing

• A City with a clean, green, safe and healthy environment for all those who live and work here

• A City that will be an energetic advocate for fairness will use its economic and moral influence to promote fairness and respect for human rights

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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