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Equal Opportunities Committee

1st Report 2001

Inquiry into Gypsy Travellers and Public Sector Policies

Volume 1
 

 
      
SP Paper 356

Session 1 (2001)

 

Equal Opportunities Committee

Remit and Membership

Remit:

As one of the eight mandatory committees of the Scottish Parliament, the remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee is set out in Standing Orders. Rule 6.9 states:

1. The remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee is to consider and report on matters relating to equal opportunities and upon the observance of equal opportunities within the Parliament.

2. In these Rules, "equal opportunities" includes the prevention, elimination or regulation of discrimination between persons on grounds of sex or marital status, on racial grounds, or on grounds of disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin, or of other personal attributes, including beliefs or opinions, such as religious beliefs or political opinions.

Membership:

Malcolm Chisholm1

Linda Fabiani2

Johann Lamont3

Marilyn Livingstone4

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Tricia Marwick5

Jamie McGrigor

Irene McGugan6

Michael McMahon

John Munro7

Cathy Peattie8

Nora Radcliffe9

Shona Robison10

Tommy Sheridan11

Elaine Smith

Margaret Smith12

Jamie Stone13

Kay Ullrich (Deputy Convener)14

Committee Clerking Team:

Lee Bridges (from 12 September 2000)

Martin Verity (until 4 July 2000)

Richard Walsh (from 5 December 2000)

Roy McMahon (from 16 January 2001)

Alison Campbell (until 19 December 2000)

Craig Bryson

 

1 Resigned from the Committee on 2 November 2000

2 Appointed to the Committee on 7 November 2000

3 Resigned from the Committee on 8 January 2001

4 Resigned from the Committee on 8 January 2001

5 Resigned from the Committee on 1 November 2000

6 Resigned from the Committee on 18 December 2000

7 Resigned from the Committee on 8 January 2001

8 Appointed to the Committee on 16 January 2001

9 Resigned from the Committee on 8 January 2001

10 Deputy Convener, resigned from the Committee on 1 November 2000

11 Resigned from the Committee on 15 February 2001

12 Resigned from the Committee on 2 May 2001

13 Appointed to the Committee on 8 May 2001

14 Appointed to the Committee on 7 November 2000

 

 

 

Equal Opportunities Committee

1st Report 2001

Inquiry into Gypsy Travellers and Public Sector Policies

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows -

FOREWORD

"We have a traditional culture, our own beliefs and language - we are proud of this, it has survived for generations being passed on from family to family. At the heart of our culture is a nomadic lifestyle. Sometimes people say `how can you be a Traveller (or a Gypsy) if you've been in a house (or on a site) for years?', but for us `travelling' is not just physically moving, it is a state of mind, we often say `it's in our blood'. There is much more to being a Traveller than just moving." (Written evidence submitted by Nadia Foy)

This report is the result of many months of careful deliberation by the Equal Opportunities Committee. The detailed oral and written evidence we have received is contained in volume two of the report, whilst this volume contains the findings and recommendations of the inquiry.

This volume has been published separately to minimise the cost and thus maximise availability while volume 2 represents a comprehensive and detailed "snapshot" of issues affecting Gypsy Travellers in Scotland as we enter the 21st century.

The Committee wishes to pay tribute to its adviser, Delia Lomax, who assisted throughout the inquiry and made a substantial contribution to this report. In addition, the Committee greatly appreciates the assistance of the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) both in the formative stages and throughout the inquiry.

Naturally, the findings and recommendations are entirely the responsibility of the Committee.

Our inquiry has produced a thorough and solidly grounded analysis of Scotland's Gypsy Travellers and the issues that have an impact on them. The Committee considers that the inquiry has shown the absence of information on this community to date, adds to that body of knowledge and is demonstrative of the key principles of the Scottish Parliament by improving openness, accessibility and accountability under an overarching commitment to equality for all.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Introduction

1. The Inquiry into Gypsy Travellers and Public Sector Policies was carried out by the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee between October 2000 and June 2001. Written submissions were invited and oral evidence taken at meetings of the Committee, from local authorities, other agencies, Gypsy Travellers and Ministers. Committee members also undertook visits to local authority Gypsy Traveller sites.

2. The Committee accepted evidence of a preferred terminology and agreed that this report of the inquiry should refer to Gypsy Travellers rather than Travelling People. The Committee agreed that, until such time as a court decision is made on recognition of Gypsy Travellers as a racial group under the Race Relations Act 1976, they should be regarded as an ethnic group in framing legislation and policies relating to public services.

3. Consultation and partnership working with Gypsy Travellers should underpin service developments, research on needs, monitoring, evaluation and development of policies, strategies, procedures and services. To support this, Gypsy Travellers and their representative organisations should be included in the provision of funding and other resources for community development and capacity building.

Accommodation

4. The Committee accepted the importance of a place to stay as a basis of service provision, that having no address (or an address identified as Gypsy Traveller site accommodation) may lead to subsequent refusal or difficulties in accessing service provision and a general disenfranchisement from the democratic process.

5. New provision or site improvement programmes should be developed in consultation with Gypsy Travellers and representative organisations, on issues of location, design, facilities and services. Scottish Homes as the new Executive Agency will have responsibility for the regulation of local authority services for Gypsy Travellers. This role should include local needs assessment for accommodation, for sites and housing, as a component of the local housing strategy, the provision of development funding, guidance on improving site management standards, housing management policy and procedures, particularly those relating to racial harassment, allocations and homelessness.

6. The definition of "home" for the purposes of future amendments to housing legislation should be reconsidered to include sites, to facilitate a review of alternative management and ownership arrangements for local authority sites and the development of a model tenancy agreement for Gypsy Traveller sites managed by local authorities and RSLs. There should be a review of the key role of site managers in providing support and information services for site residents.

7. Private sites should be subject to the regulations and standards applicable to local authority sites and local planning authorities should be required to identify the need for Gypsy Traveller site provision and land for sites in statutory plans, using the Community Planning frameworks.

8. National good practice guidance for local authorities and police forces on the management of unauthorised camping should be developed, based on a clearly articulated national policy.

Education

9. In addition to difficulties experienced in accessing education services when travelling and managing interrupted learning, particular problems were identified with school education, especially bullying. Other service policy issues raised related to alternatives to school-based learning, lifelong learning and training for employment, strategic planning and resources.

10. Bullying was reported as a common experience for Gypsy Traveller children, as is the lack of support from some schools when incidents do occur, resulting in parental reluctance to send children to school. Evidence indicated that a lack of cultural awareness of Gypsy Traveller lifestyles is reflected in school policies, materials and teacher training. Schools also have a role to play in developing cultural awareness and promoting good relations between Gypsy Travellers and the settled community.

11. The Committee noted that there were difficulties in obtaining accurate information about access to education services and the educational attainment of Gypsy Traveller children. Gypsy Travellers should be included as a separate ethnic group in all systematic ethnic monitoring of education services to measure progress in meeting targets, for the educational inclusion of Gypsy Traveller children and improvements in their educational attainment. Performance indicators for school inspections should include specific reference to Gypsy Travellers.

Health

12. The Committee noted the lack of data on the health of Gypsy Travellers in Scotland and agreed that establishing information on the health and health needs of Gypsy Travellers was a priority. Local GP information and data from elsewhere in the UK indicated low life expectancy, more accidents, suicides and health problems generally than for non-Gypsy Travellers. Continuity of care, low rates of immunisation, transfer of records, lack of access to health education and school based health programmes were identified as key issues in the provision of health care services.

13. Institutional discrimination was identified in health service provision, with examples of poor staff attitudes, GP practices refusing to register Gypsy Travellers and refusal of treatment. The funding system of remuneration, related to target payment for immunisation and other services and performance indicators, was also identified as a problem.

Personal social services

14. Delays in community care assessment and service provision were identified as a problem for Gypsy Travellers with older or physically disabled family members. Families provide support in so far as they are able but information and advice was needed on access to services.

15. The Committee agreed that local authorities should be encouraged to appoint a designated Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer to take a proactive role in the provision of information and support to families in accessing services. Also, Gypsy Travellers should be included in the strategic planning of personal social services, including community care, and the impact of their participation monitored to ensure that their views are considered and listened to.

Policing and criminal justice

16. The Committee noted concerns about frequent site visits by police for checks on vehicles and property, lack of awareness of Gypsy Traveller lifestyles and culture and complaints of intimidation and threatening attitudes during evictions. The Committee agreed that racial diversity strategies and training materials should include reference to Gypsy Travellers as a separate ethnic group.

17. Police liaison with local authorities was identified as a key issue for community planning, with police forces working with councils on developing policies and procedures. Schemes should also be developed to promote the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in the police, whether contact relates to experiences as victims of crime, racial harassment or as suspected offenders.

Promoting good relations

18. The Committee noted evidence of the hostility of the settled community towards Gypsy Travellers, lack of awareness of lifestyle and culture and discrimination in public services provision, by individuals and institutionally. There was a need for an anti-racism campaign and other initiatives to promote good relations between public services providers, the settled community and Gypsy Travellers.

INTRODUCTION

Terms of reference

19. The Inquiry into Gypsy Travellers and Public Sector Policies was carried out by the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee between October 2000 and June 2001.

20. The terms of reference for the inquiry were as follows:

· to examine how public sector policies relate to the minority group of travelling people, in particular services provided by local authorities (site management, social work services, and educational support) and others (health boards and the police);

· to hear evidence from the travelling people community and from the agencies who interact with them;

· to report and make recommendations as appropriate following the inquiry.

"The aim of the Inquiry is to provide the basis of practical proposals and examples of best practice which could be adopted by local authorities and other relevant agencies throughout Scotland and could contribute to cultural and social attitudinal changes toward travellers." (Equal Opportunities Committee News Release, 3 October 2000, CEQL 019/2000)

Evidence

21. Written submissions were invited and oral evidence taken at meetings of the Committee, from local authorities, other agencies, Gypsy Travellers and Ministers. Committee members also undertook visits to local authority Gypsy Traveller sites.

Written evidence

22. Written submissions were made in response to the Equal Opportunities Committee press announcement on 3 October 2000 and a letter of 10 October 2000, sent to statutory bodies and voluntary organisations. The initial closing date for submissions was 13 November 2000, although a number of submissions were received after that date. There were a total of 75 written submissions from Gypsy Travellers, Gypsy Traveller associations, local authorities, statutory bodies, professional associations, voluntary organisations, and other interested parties.

23. Eleven submissions were made directly by Gypsy Travellers, 13 sent in indirectly, through voluntary organisations working with Gypsy Travellers and two made by associations of site residents. In addition to these submissions, the views of 135 young people were researched specifically by a voluntary organisation for a report included with their response. A further 11 statements were collected from one local authority Gypsy Traveller site concerning the costs of electricity and enclosed with the submission of another agency. The submissions covered a wide range of issues relating to personal experience and in many cases providing recommendations, relating in particular to provision of accommodation including sites and unauthorised camping, site management, location and design, education and discrimination. There is clearly an important role undertaken by voluntary organisations in facilitating the participation of Gypsy Travellers in the Inquiry.

24. There were 25 responses from local authorities, with 21 submissions from 17 areas and COSLA. Three further submissions from local authorities were indicated but not received. The majority of these submissions provided a general descriptive overview of local services, relating primarily to site provision, unauthorised camping, education and health services. Nine submissions were received from public health services: five health boards, two NHS trusts and two health councils. There were two submissions from professional associations: the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and the Travellers Site Managers Association.

25. Fourteen submissions were received from nine voluntary organisations providing advice and support to Gypsy Travellers. These submissions were mostly very detailed and provided:

    · representative examples and case studies concerning the experience of Gypsy Travellers in relation to accessing public services and of harassment and discrimination more generally;

    · research undertaken by two organisations, on the views of young people and on learning and education;

    · copies of earlier submissions to the Scottish Executive, relating to the Housing (Scotland) Bill and health issues for Gypsy Travellers.

26. Submissions from other interested parties included academics from two institutions of higher education, relating to education, institutional racism, racial discrimination and social inclusion and from an individual submitting personal views.

Oral evidence

27. Oral evidence was taken over five meetings between March and June 2001, from a total of 39 witnesses from 17 organisations, including statutory and voluntary organisations, professional associations and higher education, and five young Gypsy Travellers. The Minister for Social Justice submitted a Memorandum to the Committee (11 April 2001) and Ministers (Social Justice and Health and Community Care) attended a meeting of the Committee on 5 June 2001, to provide further evidence.

Local authority Gypsy Traveller site visits

28. Members of the Committee visited nine individual local authority sites during February and March 2001, taking evidence from site residents, local authority officers and voluntary organisations.

Principles

Terminology

29. There was considerable evidence, in both written and oral submissions from Gypsy Traveller organisations and individuals, that the terminology used for the inquiry should refer to Gypsy Travellers rather than Travelling People. In accepting this preference, it is appropriate for the term Gypsy Traveller to be adopted in the report of the inquiry.

Recommendation 1

Capitalisation of the term Gypsy Traveller, or Gypsy and Traveller where used separately, should be adopted in all official minutes and reports by the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Executive, local authorities and other public bodies.

Ethnic minority status

30. Arguments have been put forward that Gypsy Travellers should be considered as an ethnic group under the Race Relations Act 1976, by Gypsy Travellers, Race Equality Councils, statutory and voluntary agencies. The Advisory Committee on Scotland's Travelling People in its Ninth Term Report decided not to adopt any stance on the issue of ethnic status as there were different views in discussions and from Gypsy Traveller members of the Committee.

31. The Minister for Social Justice, in a Memorandum (11 April 2001) submitted to the Committee, referred to the challenge made in 1998 by the, then, Minister of Health to the NHS, and repeated in 1999, to:

    "live by the spirit and not just the letter of existing legislation and to act on current research, policy and practice on minority ethnic health" (Achieving Better Services for Patients, letter 28 April 1999, para 11).

32. The Committee also heard evidence from the Minister for Social Justice on the current legal position within Scotland, in respect of the status of Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic minority:

    "Elaine Smith (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab):.... You seemed to be saying that the courts would determine whether Gypsy Travellers in Scotland were an ethnic group. Are you saying that they could be an ethnic group in law, but that a test case would be needed to ascertain that?

    Jackie Baillie: That is exactly what I am saying. The Race Relations Act 1976, as far as I am aware, does not specify particular groups but talks about race relations in general and ethnic groupings. Test cases have been taken to the courts-by the CRE in one case, if not in both-to request that Irish Travellers and Gypsies be considered as racial groups under the terms of the 1976 act.

    Elaine Smith: So we are talking not about a change in the law, but about a case to test the law.

    Jackie Baillie: Yes. The legislation is quite general. It is a matter for the courts to determine the interpretation of the law and that might be a helpful way in which to proceed." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col. 1250)

With this in mind, the following recommendation is made:

Recommendation 2

All legislation and policies should be framed on the understanding that Gypsy Travellers have distinct ethnic characteristics and should therefore be regarded as an ethnic group, until such time as a court decision is made on recognition as a racial group under the Race Relations Act 1976.

Consultation and partnership working

33. The Scottish Executive's Equality Strategy provides a framework for consultation with and participation by specific communities on issues of concern, within a broad definition of equal opportunities, as stated by the Minister for Social Justice:

    "As part of our overarching equality strategy, we are considering a number of different strands of work that will impact on travelling people. We intend to consider a series of general awareness-raising campaigns and we are in discussion with the Commission for Racial Equality about the possibility of running a campaign to tackle racism in Scotland. That campaign will take many different forms, but it is about promoting better understanding between different groups, communities and ethnic groupings. We are about to act on that and will work on it over the summer with a view to producing something in the autumn.

    The equality strategy is specific about the need to engage not just the Executive but all service providers in the public sector, non-departmental public bodies and beyond. Equality will become a reality only if everyone is working towards the same objective. We intend to underpin a lot of that work through the best-value framework in local government to ensure that people are focused on the needs of different groups in society." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col. 1249).

Consultation and partnership working with Gypsy Travellers must form the basis of service developments, research on needs, monitoring, evaluation and development of policies, strategies, procedures and services. In working to achieve this principle, the following recommendations are made:

Recommendation 3

Gypsy Travellers should be clearly identified as a specific community of interest in the implementation of the Equality Strategy, following which, it is recommended that:

· there must be consultation with and participation in decision making by Gypsy Travellers, through their representation on working groups within the local authority area on public service provision and policy and their inclusion as service users in the monitoring and evaluation of policy and practice, and this must be monitored;

.

· to support consultation and partnership working, Gypsy Travellers and their representative organisations should be included in the provision of funding and other resources for community development and capacity building;

.

· the employment of Gypsy Travellers in public services should be promoted and encouraged through education, training and recruitment strategies.

ACCOMMODATION

34. Accommodation is here used to include the range of places to stay that are available to or used by Gypsy Travellers, from official, authorised sites through to housing or unauthorised camping. Gypsy Travellers expressed strongly the importance of a place to stay as a basis of service provision, a view supported by a range of public agencies particularly those providing health and education services. Evidence indicated that having no address (or an address identified as Gypsy Traveller site accommodation) may lead to subsequent refusal or difficulties in accessing service provision and a general disenfranchisement from the democratic process.

Local authority sites

35. There are currently over 30 local authority managed Gypsy Traveller sites in Scotland. A number of issues were identified relating to the provision and management of these sites.

Location

36. Written and oral evidence and site visits identified the poor location of many local authority sites and the consequent impact on health and access to services:

· sites may be located on the outskirts of towns or in remote rural areas, away from shops, schools and other services and with poor access to public transport. Proximity to landfill sites, electricity sub-stations and power lines, railway stations and commercial and industrial premises raised particular concerns about the impact on the health of residents;

· sites were said by some respondents to have been built in locations that would be considered inappropriate for housing, in one case, a disused quarry;

· concerns were expressed about pressure on local authorities from local residents and objections raised to change the plans for location of sites to other areas. It was stated that local authorities needed to be robust in their approach to site location.

Design of sites and amenity chalets

37. Residents of sites and site visits raised concerns about the poor design of some sites. Amenity chalets were frequently used for by residents for cooking, with caravans seen as either inappropriate or lacking alternative facilities. Shelving and power sockets were used to accommodate cooking facilities, and consequently inappropriately located next to toilet and washing fittings. The Minister for Social Justice stated that amenity units were not intended to be used for cooking but recognised that alternative provision might be needed (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col.1258).

38. Amenity chalets were described by some respondents as inadequately insulated and too cold in which to bathe or shower children in the winter months. The accessibility of sites and amenity chalets were a problem for older and physically disabled residents.

39. Comments were made on the lack of community services and facilities on most sites, such as play areas and community meeting places. Site roads lacked pavements for pedestrians, particularly children, using the site. On some sites drainage problems were evident following heavy rain.

Site management

40. Evidence indicated that good practice in site management varied between local authorities and that there was a lack of effective consultation with, and participation of Gypsy Travellers, on site management issues. Greater involvement with site residents is necessary for effective consultation.

41. Pitch rents are generally high compared with socially rented housing in the same area, particularly as residents were required to provide their own trailer accommodation. Approaches to setting rents varied across local authorities, with some calculating the pitch rent on the full-cost of site management, including resident site managers. Utility costs are high and electric meter cards may only be available from the site manager or council offices during working hours.

42. Some rules and regulations were considered by some respondents to be inappropriately restrictive of residents' needs and lifestyle, such as for additional trailers for larger families and visitors, the keeping of dogs and other animals. There were limits on time away from the site, which restricted travelling and, to keep a pitch available for winter months, residents were required to pay a pitch retainer fee, which appeared disproportionately high. Barriers across some site entrances caused concerns about access to and from sites for residents' vehicles and emergency services.

43. Long-stay site residents have fewer and less secure rights than tenants of socially rented housing and were not always clear about the rights that they did have. The Minister for Social Justice reported that the case for giving site residents a Scottish Secure Tenancy, with regard to the specific issue of a Right To Buy, had been considered but was not thought to be suitable (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col.1251). The Committee is concerned that this does not facilitate accrual of discount on settled housing through payment of rent to the local authority. It also apparently fails to extend such rights as the right of of cconsultation with relevant associations and and other tenant issues, such as tthe right to succeed to a particular pitch.

44. Some concerns were raised about the role, appointment and training of site managers. Site managers had a unique and complex job requiring planned induction and ongoing training. The Chartered Institute of Housing and the Travellers Site Managers Association provided training, professional courses and conferences. Some local authorities, such as North Lanarkshire Council, were considering alternative arrangements for the management of the local authority sites, through private or voluntary sector managing agents. Concerns were raised about the selection of appropriate agents and the training of site managers. Scottish Homes as the new Executive Agency will have responsibility for the regulation of local authority services for Gypsy Travellers (Scottish Homes, 2001, p.34), including site management.

New Site Provision

45. Gypsy Travellers identified the need for new site provision both permanent (long-stay sites) and transit (short-stay sites). Funding for new sites and refurbishment was now an issue as grants were no longer available in Scotland for new sites or site improvements. Opposition from the settled community and difficulties in obtaining planning permission for Gypsy Traveller sites was seen as a barrier to future site development.

46. Recommendations on local authority site provision follow:

Recommendation 4

New provision or site improvement programmes should be developed in consultation with Gypsy Travellers and representative organisations, on issues of location, design, facilities and services:

· the design of amenity chalets should conform to both the Below Tolerable Standards and Standard Amenity standards for housing, such as space standards, heating, energy, insulation, kitchen and W.C. facilities;

· the provision of community services and facilities on sites, such as community meeting places, play facilities, barrier-free and adapted amenity chalets, should be included;

· tThat once the Housing (Scotland) Act has passed onto the statute books the Scottish Ministers should further explore (for the purpose of future amendments to housing legislation) the issues of accrual of discount for settled housing, consultation with relevant associations and tenants rights to succession etc.

Recommendation 5

Scottish Homes as the new Executive Agency will have responsibility for the regulation of local authority services for Gypsy Travellers. This role should include:

· local needs assessment for Gypsy Traveller accommodation, including residential and short-stay sites, as a component of the local housing strategy;

· the provision of development funding for improvements to current sites and new site provision, where needs are identified;

· guidance on improving site management standards, policy and procedures which are appropriate to Gypsy Travellers' lifestyles and needs, to include consideration of socially affordable rents, equitable fuel costs and reasonable pitch retainer fees.

Recommendation 6

The definition of "home" for the purposes of future amendments to housing legislation should be reconsidered to include sites, which are homes to Gypsy Travellers. Such recognition and redefinition would facilitate:

· a review of alternative management and ownership arrangements for local authority sites, which should include options for community ownership, tenant management co-operatives and registered social landlords (RSLs);

· the development of a model tenancy agreement for Gypsy Traveller sites managed by local authorities and RSLs.

Recommendation 7

A review should be undertaken by local authorities and the Executive Agency of the key role of site managers in providing support and information services for site residents, including job description, person specification, recruitment and training.

Recommendation 8

Appointment by local authorities of a designated Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer (GTLO) (a role separate from but requiring close working with site managers) is recommended. The role of the GTLO would be to develop information and support services for Gypsy Travellers in the local area and appropriate mechanisms for consultation.

Private Sites

47. The term private sites here includes all private provision. This may include Gypsy Traveller owned sites, which may be larger sites or extended family sites, sites owned by non-Gypsy Travellers, which may provide for Gypsy Travellers or provide tourist or holiday sites for the population generally. Gypsy Travellers experienced difficulties accessing private sites, including holiday or tourist sites, when travelling during the summer. A lack of regulation of private sites and poor standards on some private sites were identified as issues. Gypsy Travellers had experienced considerable difficulties in obtaining planning permission for sites, including small, family plots.

Recommendation 9

Private sites should be subject to the regulations and standards applicable to local authority sites. The monitoring and enforcement of these standards by local authorities should include consultation with and participation by site users.

Recommendation 10

Local planning authorities should be required to identify the need for Gypsy Traveller site provision and land for sites in statutory plans, using Community Planning frameworks, which include Gypsy Travellers.

Unauthorised camping

48. Particular issues identified by Gypsy Travellers and others included:

    · the blocking off of traditional stopping places and the lack of short-term or transit sites when travelling;

    · lack of services such as toilet facilities, water, skips and rubbish collection on unauthorised camps;

    · lack of consistency in enforcement by local authorities and the police;

    · the sometimes swift, hostile and threatening evictions from land when camping in unauthorised locations.

49. The Executive policy of using pitch targets and toleration and non-harassment of Gypsy Travellers has recently changed. Some local authorities referred to a policy of co-operation but overall there was confusion on the current policy towards unauthorised camping.

50. Some local authorities were currently developing guidelines on procedures for managing unauthorised camping. National guidance was suggested by a number of agencies. Guidance provided for England and Wales published jointly by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Home Office in 1998, Managing Unauthorised Camping - A Good Practice Guide, was referred to by some agencies as an example of an approach which could be adopted. The Committee noted that rents from local authority sites appeared to be paid into the Housing Revenue Account. This appears to be consistent with the approach to settled socially rented housing, allowing cross-subsidisation of corporate provision of services.

Recommendation 11

National good practice guidance for local authorities and police forces on the management of unauthorised camping should be developed, based on a clearly articulated national policy taking into account the Scottish legislative context and in consultation with all stakeholders. Guidance should include:

    · the provision of facilities by local authorities, such as water, toilets, skips and rubbish collection, where requested by the Gypsy Travellers using the camp;

    · the need for strategic planning by the local authority, including local protocols and agreements with other agencies and Gypsy Travellers to develop consistent approaches to the management of unauthorised camping.

Housing

51. Gypsy Travellers and several agencies, both statutory and voluntary gave examples of harassment by neighbours of Gypsy Travellers in social housing and in some cases a poor response from local authorities in tackling this problem. Gypsy Travellers may be housed through homelessness procedures and end up in low demand housing or temporary accommodation.

52. Settled housing could be a negative and forced choice for some Gypsy Travellers, used for the purpose of ensuring continuity of education and health care. The lack of good alternative accommodation or poor provision on sites for residents, for example older or disabled people, was also a problem.

Recommendation 12

Gypsy Travellers should be identified as an ethnic group in policies on racial harassment and be included in related training and awareness raising for all those involved in the provision of housing.

Recommendation 13

The impact of allocation policies on the needs and lifestyle of Gypsy Travellers applying for social housing should be reviewed. Specific issues relating to Gypsies and Travellers should be included in local homelessness strategies

Recommendation 14

The aims and objectives of the single regulatory framework for Scottish Homes, as the new Executive Agency, should include working with:

· the local authority to assess the needs of Gypsy Travellers, including those who wish to travel, for accommodation (sites and housing) for the local housing strategy;

· social housing providers to develop innovative models of housing provision (such as group or extended family housing).

This should be undertaken in consultation with Gypsy Travellers, with reference to innovative developments elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

EDUCATION

53. In addition to difficulties experienced in accessing education services when travelling and managing interrupted learning, particular problems were identified with school education, in particular bullying. Other service policy issues raised related to alternatives to school-based learning, lifelong learning and training for employment, strategic planning and resources.

School education

54. Pre-school and special education were identified as services not well provided for Gypsy Travellers. As for other children, pre-school was argued to support the primary school experience.

55. Problems were experienced by Gypsy Travellers with school catchment areas and acceptance into particular schools. Transport services for children from sites and unauthorised camps can encourage school attendance.

56. The transition from primary to secondary school was identified as a key point when school attendance reduced substantially. The relevance of the school curriculum, the need for more flexible education services as an alternative to school, building bridges between families and school and later, education and employment, were identified as key areas for policy development.

57. There were differing views amongst witnesses about whether education services should be delivered on-site or off-site, through segregated or mainstream provision. It was generally accepted that a range of alternative provision to mainstream school based education was needed, to establish links between home/site and school and to support transfer into school education.

58. The use of laptop computers for home education, or whilst travelling, to maintain contact with base schools was identified as an innovative approach to support learning. However, the Scottish Executive Education Department noted that:

    "At present the legal position is that home education is available to parents as an option. It is then up to education authorities to assess the provision that is being made for the individual pupil.....There is no legal provision for direct support for home education. The local authorities have power to make support available if they choose, but they have no obligation to do so." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col.1262).

Recommendation 15

Existing funding arrangements should be reviewed to support school and pre-school by providing additional resources where Gypsy Travellers access school education, such as:

    · education support for teachers;

    · additional grant when Gypsy Traveller children enter the school part-way through the school year;

    · provision of transport between sites and schools through the use of school buses and schemes such as voluntary drivers;

    · assistance with school uniforms.

Recommendation 16

Whilst access to the core curriculum and the development of literacy and numeracy skills remains essential at the secondary level, more flexible provision in relation to vocational and work based learning should be considered for older children and young people, in consultation with Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 17

Alternative approaches to school education should be explored, where needs are identified in consultation with Gypsy Travellers, including:

· the development of innovative projects in delivering education services, such as distance learning and the use of computers in conjunction with outreach support, and dissemination of good practice;

· encouraging education authorities to support families providing home education;

· community rooms or portacabins provided on sites to facilitate education provision, outreach support and to build links between schools and Gypsy Traveller families;

· pre-school provision should be promoted and on site alternatives to school based services provided;

●the development of special education services, which are relevant and sensitive to the lifestyle and cultural values of Gypsy Travellers.;

rarent Teacher sociations

Recommendation 18

Research should be undertaken on how schools engage with parents and welcome them into schools (for example through direct teacher contact, through Parent Teacher Associations and Governing Boards) and how the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in their use of education services could be developed through targeted projects.

59. Evidence indicated that a lack of cultural awareness of Gypsy Traveller lifestyles is reflected in school policies, materials and teacher training. Schools also have a role to play in developing cultural awareness and promoting good relations between Gypsy Travellers and the settled community. A number of Gypsy Travellers, both adults and young people, reported that they had visited schools to give presentations and discuss their experience as Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 19

The role of the education system in promoting good relations between the Gypsy Traveller and settled communities should be acknowledged and supported by education authorities and by the Scottish Executive Education Department. Guidelines on initial teacher training and Continuing Professional Development should clearly identify Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic group in relation to training on equality, social justice and anti-discriminatory practice.

Bullying

60. Bullying was reported, by witnesses and through written evidence, as a common experience for Gypsy Traveller children, as is the lack of support from some schools when incidents do occur. The experience is compounded by responses that appear to support the bully when they are challenged and exclude Gypsy Traveller children without adequate investigation of the circumstances. Children are discouraged from attending school and later, as parents, from sending their own children to school.

61. In submitting oral evidence to the Committee, young people described their and others' experiences of bullying in schools:

    "Kids come home every day saying that they are being bullied, but they must attend school to get an education. Therefore, parents tell their kids that they have to stick up for themselves...

    ...I can say honestly that my school days were the worst days of my life-I would never put my kids through that experience.

    Convener: I am not sure whether any of the witnesses have kids, but when you have them, will you send them to school?

    ...No, I would send them to school only if I knew that the school would not allow them to be bullied. If I thought that they would get a proper education, then yes, by all means, I would send them to school. I would even go as far as to get them a private tutor to have them taught properly, but I would not have them go through what I went through" (Official Report, 01 May 2001, cols.1194/1200/1201).

Recommendation 20

Monitoring of anti-bullying strategies, use of the anti-bullying network and Childline, should include Gypsy Travellers as a separate ethnic group. Practical guidance on good practice and training to support schools and teachers should include specific reference to issues relating to Gypsy Traveller children.

 

Lifelong learning, training and employment

62. Evidence from education authorities and others indicated that Community Education has a role to play in developing Gypsy Traveller confidence in the school system and supporting access to the education system. Although in some areas schemes have been developed for adults and young people to address particular needs for literacy and work-related skills training for self-employment, it was argued that stronger links need to be made with further education institutions to develop appropriate qualifications and training for young people and adults.

Recommendation 21

Evaluation of pilot projects and examples of good practice relating to adult learning, access to vocational qualifications through community and further education, should be disseminated and further developed in consultation with Gypsy Travellers.

Strategic planning and resources

63. Evidence indicated that there were difficulties in obtaining accurate information about access to education services and the educational attainment of Gypsy Traveller children. The Scottish Executive Education Department accepted that:

    "Information generally on ethnicity and community status throughout the school population is poor. We are reviewing the information that becomes available from the questions that are asked in the annual school census with a view to seeking to improve the information base.....There are about 500 Traveller children in school education at present, but I am afraid that the information is insecure" (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col.1259).

64. Where proactive, flexible approaches had been developed in some areas, it was argued in evidence that these were often the result of committed individuals rather than strategic planning and policy development by the local authority. Ring-fenced resources for Gypsy Traveller education were recommended by some agencies, at least initially, to develop schemes before mainstreaming services.

Recommendation 22

Gypsy Travellers should be included as a separate ethnic group in all systematic ethnic monitoring of education services to measure progress in meeting targets, for the educational inclusion of Gypsy Traveller children and improvements in their educational attainment. Performance indicators for school inspections should include specific reference to Gypsy Travellers. The recent HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) report "Alternatives to School Exclusion" could have provided an opportunity to identify such an approach.

Recommendation 23

Further work is required on developing the information base on Gypsy Traveller children throughout the education system, clearly identified as an ethnic group, so that their needs can be included in strategic planning and policy development.

Recommendation 24

Consideration should be given by local authorities to ring-fencing or top-slicing resources for specific initiatives and interventions for education provision for Gypsy Travellers, for alternatives to school education and to encourage and support school attendance.

Recommendation 25

Gypsy Travellers should be included in the strategic planning of education services and the impact of their participation monitored to ensure that their views are considered and listened to.

HEALTH

Information on health and health needs

65. Evidence indicated a lack of data on the health of Gypsy Travellers in Scotland, although some local GP information and data from elsewhere in the UK indicated low life expectancy, more accidents, suicides and health problems generally than non-Travellers. Current models of health research were argued to be inappropriate for a geographically mobile group such as Gypsy Travellers. The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care acknowledged that there is problem with lack of information:

    "We know in general that there is a great deal of inequality, but we lack detailed information. Assessing needs will be an important part of our initiative on ethnic minority health." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col.1255).

66. Referring to a large extended family of Gypsy Travellers, a GP (Highland Health Board) raised the issues of appalling health problems and low life expectancy:

    "Its members have a life expectancy of about 55 years. Life expectancy in the settled community in north Argyll is one of the highest in Scotland, so for an extended family to have a life expectancy of 55 years is particularly appalling.....

    The Convener: In your presentation, Dr McNicol, you said that the average life expectancy was 55 for Gypsy Travellers, which strikes me as being very low. I imagine, although I do not know, that that figure will be lower than the life expectancy in even the most deprived settled communities.

    Dr McNicol: Yes.

    The Convener: To put that figure of 55 into perspective, what is the average Scottish life expectancy? Do you know of any other country or community where life expectancy is 55?

    Dr McNicol: To answer the second question first, life expectancy in the Indian subcontinent, with all its problems, is slightly lower than 55; I think that it is around 49. In Scotland as a whole women live, on average, into their early 80s, and men until they are about 75. In the settled community of north Argyll, women live into their mid or late 80s, and men are living into their early 80s. There is, therefore, a vast contrast between the travelling community and other people who live in the same environment." (Official Report, 24 April 2001 cols.1140/1146).

67. World Health Organisation information for 1999 (obtained via SPICe) shows average male life expectancy in the UK of 74.7 years: 55 years falls between the current life expectancy indicated for Gambia and Gabon. The last time average male life expectancy was 55 years in Scotland, was 1932.

68. Evidence submitted argued that Gypsy Travellers experienced health problems arising from the physical hazards of site location and design and poor environments in unauthorised camps, related to illness, child development and accidents. Mental health problems, related to experiences of restriction and containment on sites and the stresses of being on the road, the pressures to move on and evictions, was also raised as an issue for health of Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 26

Research should be commissioned by the Scottish Executive to establish the health and health needs of Gypsy Travellers in Scotland, including specific research on health issues arising from environmental factors relating to accommodation.

Institutional discrimination

69. Institutional discrimination was identified as an issue in health service provision, with examples of poor staff attitudes, GP practices refusing to register Gypsy Travellers and refusal of treatment. A GP (Highland Health Board) referred to discrimination in oral evidence:

    "We are aware that Travellers find it difficult to register with primary care and with general medical practitioners. Some surgeries openly discriminate against them and say that they do not want Travellers to register. That is partly because Travellers are considered to create an excessive work load.....That attitude also comes partly from the system of remuneration of general practitioners. Much weight is given to achieving targets, including those for immunisation and cervical cytology. If a woman registers with a practice but.....then disappears, and the practice cannot prove that she has had a smear test, the practice's percentage up take drops, and so its income drops. Much subtle discrimination is happening for various reasons, but in primary care, much of the explanation is financial." (Official Report, 24 April 2001, col.1143).

70. Although evidence indicated a lack of cultural awareness, the funding system of remuneration, related to target payment for immunisation and other services and performance indicators, was also identified in evidence as a problem. The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care pointed out that:

    "As for the financial situation, temporary residents are not included in the calculations for target payments for immunisations and some other services, so there is no financial disincentive for GPs in taking on travelling people as temporary residents and that should not be a major factor. I suspect that the more general issue of discrimination may apply in some cases.....However, we should make it clear that there are no financial disincentives to registering temporary residents." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col.1256).

Recommendation 27

Guidelines on initial training and Continuing Professional Development of NHS staff, including GPs and hospital doctors, should clearly identify Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic group in relation to training on equality, social justice and anti-discriminatory practice and promote awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of Gypsy Travellers in relation to health care.

Recommendation 28

New services and improvements to existing services should be developed in consultation and monitored, to establish whether targets are being met and that the services meet Gypsy Traveller needs

Primary health care services

71. Continuity of care, low rates of immunisation, transfer of records, lack of access to health education and school based health programmes were identified as key issues in the provision of health care services.

72. Examples of good practice included specialist health visitors, on-site GP and dental clinics. The Deputy Minister for Health noted that hand-held patient records had been piloted but the system needed to be rolled out across Health Boards to be effective for those who wished to travel.

    "Kay Ullrich: The idea of hand-held patient records kept cropping up-I admit that I found the idea attractive. Pilot schemes on hand-held records have been undertaken in Scotland. What are the plans to evaluate the pilot schemes and roll out the system across Scotland? Such a system would help Gypsy Travellers to access services.

    Malcolm Chisholm: The suggestion about hand-held records is important. As people move around, one problem is continuity of care. Hand-held records would address that problem considerably. I am aware of the pilot schemes in Dumfries and Galloway and Forth Valley, and the issue has also been picked up in the access report that I mentioned in my introduction. The people who are working on the ethnic minority guidance are also interested in the issue. As a result, although announcements have not yet been made, I can confidently predict that it is an important area on which urgent progress should be made." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col. 1256)

73. Incentives for GPs to register Gypsy Travellers, liaison between statutory and voluntary agencies and Gypsy Travellers and elderly care projects were further suggestions for good practice.

Recommendation 29

Funding systems should be reviewed, clearly explained and transparent, to ensure that there are no disincentives for GP practices in registering Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 30

Resources for the maintenance or mainstreaming of pilot projects that develop good practice in the provision of health care for Gypsy Travellers should be made available to Health Boards, with particular reference to the use of patient hand-held records.

Health promotion

74. Examples of good practice included a health education programme targeted at young people. As for other innovative, pilot schemes in primary health care, funding could be obtained for short-term projects but resources for continuing or mainstreaming of projects was a problem.

Recommendation 31

Gypsy Travellers should be targeted for specific health promotion campaigns, such as immunisation, accident prevention, child development, and women's health issues, including screening.

PERSONAL SOCIAL SERVICES

75. There was a limited response in terms of personal social service provision, the issues and examples of good practice:

Community care

76. Access to aids, adaptations, day centres and home support were raised generally as examples of services provided by local authorities. However, delays in community care assessment and service provision were raised by Gypsy Travellers with older or physically disabled family members, through written submission and during site visits.

Advice and information

77. Families provide support, in so far as they are able, but information and advice on access to services was identified as a key issue. An example was provided of a designated Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer based in a Social Work Department, whose work involved taking a proactive role in the provision of information and support to families in accessing services.

Recommendation 32

Where a Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer is appointed their specific responsibilities should include consultation with Gypsy Travellers, promoting appropriate service provision, providing information and support to Gypsy Travellers in accessing public services.

Recommendation 33

Gypsy Travellers should be included in the strategic planning of personal social services, including community care, and the impact of their participation monitored to ensure that their views are considered and listened to:

· locally based initiatives and services should be reviewed to ensure that criteria do not disadvantage mobile groups such as Gypsy Travellers;

· consideration should be given to developing the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in their use of social services through targeted projects.

POLICING AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Policing

78. Concerns were expressed by Gypsy Travellers, voluntary and statutory agencies about policing, in particular:

· frequent site visits for checks on vehicles and property;

· lack of awareness of Gypsy Traveller lifestyles and culture;

· complaints of intimidation and threatening attitudes during evictions.

Racial diversity strategies

79. Although the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) explained that racial diversity strategies were being developed, following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report, and Gypsy Travellers were included in diversity training, concerns were raised by Grampian Racial Equality Council that these proposals were insufficient in terms of specific awareness training:

    "We heard from ACPOS that the police have a greater awareness of discriminatory elements that can creep into practice. That is true, but a heightening of that awareness is still required. For instance, an examination of police cultural awareness manuals and documents will show that they contain no references at all to travelling and Gypsy people". (Official Report, 27 March, col.1096).

80. The Scottish Executive Development Department referred to the action plan on the recommendations of the Macpherson report and ACPOS' commitment to taking this forward:

    "ACPOS is committed to developing a national equal opportunities training strategy. It will also take forward the recommendations of the report by Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary in Scotland "Without Prejudice? A thematic inspection of police race relations in Scotland". As ACPOS said in its evidence to the committee, it is willing to learn from the results of the Equal Opportunities Committee's inquiry. ACPOS also sees scope for considerable learning and the development of good policing, which it believes will flow out from the work that is being taken forward under the Stephen Lawrence action plan." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, col. 1249).

Recommendation 34

Racial diversity strategies and training materials for the police and other relevant bodies in the criminal justice system should include reference to Gypsy Travellers as a separate ethnic group.

81. Police liaison with local authorities was identified as a key issue for community planning, with police forces working with councils on developing policies and procedures, not just brought in at the last minute on operational matters. Police forces would welcome national guidance on the management of unauthorised camping to establish consistency of approach across all local authorities. (See Recommendation 11, on national good practice guidance for local authorities and police forces.)

Recommendation 35

Schemes should be developed to promote the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in the police, whether contact relates to experiences as victims of crime, racial harassment or as suspected offenders:

· one of the recommendations of the final report for consultation of the Promoting Social Inclusion (PSI) Working Group on the Needs of Travellers in Northern Ireland (2001) was a pilot scheme for a legal rights worker to be appointed. The role would be to liaise with police, support workers and Travellers, raise awareness of legal rights and advocate on behalf of Travellers. A key feature of the proposed scheme was that a trainee position should be funded for a Traveller to gain appropriate skills and knowledge by shadowing the legal rights worker. A similar project should be considered for Scotland.

Recommendation 36

Policing practices and arrangements should continue to be reviewed and specific monitoring of relations between Police and Gypsy Travellers relations established. Guidance should be provided for use by the Police in working with Gypsy Travellers, as:

· victims of crime, including racist incidents and harassment;

· when evicting Gypsy Travellers from unauthorised camps;

· to ensure that Gypsy Traveller communities are not over-policed.

PROMOTING GOOD RELATIONS

Ethnic status and race relations

82. Evidence submitted during the inquiry referred to the hostility of the settled community towards Gypsy Travellers, lack of awareness of lifestyle and culture and discrimination, by individuals and institutionally. The need for a public awareness campaign and specific staff training was identified by Gypsy Travellers, statutory and voluntary agencies, to promote good relations between public services providers, the settled community and Gypsy Travellers:

Anti-racism or zero-tolerance campaigns

83. There were calls from written submissions for a zero-tolerance campaign to challenge racial discrimination of Gypsy Travellers:

· to raise understanding of the lifestyles and culture of Gypsy Travellers to support the delivery of appropriate and sensitive public services;

· to raise the understanding of the settled community.

84. The Minister for Social Justice commented on work planned to tackle racism in Scotland:

    "As part of our overarching equality strategy, we are considering a number of different strands of work that will impact on travelling people. We intend to consider a series of general awareness-raising campaigns with the Commission for Racial Equality about the possibility of running a campaign to tackle racism in Scotland. The equality strategy is specific about the need to engage not just with the Executive but all service providers in the public sector, non-departmental public bodies and beyond...

    On implementing the provisions of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, we are working with the CRE to ensure that appropriate tools and guidance are in place. We are also working with local authorities and others to ensure that they are aware of their new duties." (Official Report, 5 June 2001, cols.1249/1250).

Recommendation 37

To support the recognition of Gypsy Travellers as a distinct ethnic group and commitment by public services to develop policy and service provision based on such an approach:

· to encourage local authorities and other public bodies to use the opportunity of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 to promote equality of opportunity for Gypsy Travellers in Scotland;

· in consultation with Gypsy Travellers, to develop school based campaigns to raise awareness and resources for use by schools, community and youth groups;

· to include Gypsy Travellers in any anti-racism campaigns aimed at challenging racial discrimination and promoting good relations in Scotland, as a specific ethnic group and to include them at an early stage in consultations on the campaign.

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1

Capitalisation of the term Gypsy Traveller, or Gypsy and Traveller where used separately, should be adopted in all official minutes and reports by the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Executive, local authorities and other public bodies.

Recommendation 2

All legislation and policies should be framed on the understanding that Gypsy Travellers have distinct ethnic characteristics and should therefore be regarded as an ethnic group, until such time as a court decision is made on recognition as a racial group under the Race Relations Act 1976.

Recommendation 3

Gypsy Travellers should be clearly identified as a specific community of interest in the implementation of the Equality Strategy, following which, it is recommended that:

· there must be consultation with and participation in decision making by Gypsy Travellers, through their representation on working groups within the local authority area on public service provision and policy and their inclusion as service users in the monitoring and evaluation of policy and practice, and this must be monitored;

· to support consultation and partnership working, Gypsy Travellers and their representative organisations should be included in the provision of funding and other resources for community development and capacity building;

· the employment of Gypsy Travellers in public services should be promoted and encouraged through education, training and recruitment strategies.

Recommendation 4

New provision or site improvement programmes should be developed in consultation with Gypsy Travellers and representative organisations, on issues of location, design, facilities and services:

· the design of amenity chalets should confiorm to both the Below Tolerable Standards and Standard Amenity for housing, such as space standards, heating, energy, insulation, kitchen and W.C. facilities;

· the provision of community services and facilities on sites, such as community meeting places, play facilities, barrier-free and adapted amenity chalets, should be included;

· tThat once the Housing (Scotland) Act has passed onto the statute books the Scottish Ministers should further explore (for the purpose of future amendments to housing legislation) the issues of accrual of discount for settled housing, consultation with relevant associations and tenants rights to succession etc.

Recommendation 5

Scottish Homes as the new Executive Agency will have responsibility for the regulation of local authority services for Gypsy Travellers. This role should include:

· local needs assessment for Gypsy Traveller accommodation, including residential and short stay sites, as a component of the local housing strategy;

· the provision of development funding for improvements to current sites and new site provision, where needs are identified;

· guidance on improving site management standards, policy and procedures which are appropriate to Gypsy Travellers' lifestyles and needs, to include consideration of socially affordable rents, equitable fuel costs and reasonable pitch retainer fees.

Recommendation 6:

The definition of "home" for the purposes of future amendments to housing legislation should be reconsidered to include sites, which are homes to Gypsy Travellers. Such recognition and redefinition would facilitate:

· a review of alternative management and ownership arrangements for local authority sites, which should include options for community ownership, tenant management co-operatives and registered social landlords (RSLs);

· the development of a model tenancy agreement for Gypsy Traveller sites managed by local authorities and RSLs.

Recommendation 7

A review should be undertaken by local authorities and the Executive Agency of the key role of site managers in providing support and information services for site residents, including job description, person specification, recruitment and training.

Recommendation 8

Appointment by local authorities of a designated Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer (GTLO) (a role separate from but requiring close working with site managers) is recommended. The role of the GTLO would be develop information and support services for Gypsy Travellers in the local area and appropriate mechanisms for consultation.

Recommendation 9

Private sites should be subject to the regulations and standards applicable to local authority sites. The monitoring and enforcement of these standards by local authorities should include consultation with and participation by site users.

Recommendation 10

Local planning authorities should be required to identify the need for Gypsy Traveller site provision and land for sites in statutory plans, using Community Planning frameworks, which include Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 11

National good practice guidance for local authorities and police forces on the management of unauthorised camping should be developed, based on a clearly articulated national policy taking into account the Scottish legislative context and in consultation with all stakeholders. Guidance should include:

· the provision of facilities by local authorities, such as water, toilets, skips and rubbish collection, where requested by the Gypsy Travellers using the camp;

· the need for strategic planning by the local authority, including local protocols and agreements with other agencies and Gypsy Travellers to develop consistent approaches to the management of unauthorised camping.

Recommendation 12

Gypsy Travellers should be as an identified as an ethnic group in policies on racial harassment and be included in related training and awareness raising for all those involved in the provision of housing.

Recommendation 13

The impact of allocation policies on the needs and lifestyle of Gypsy Travellers applying for social housing should be reviewed. Specific issues relating to Gypsies and Travellers should be included in local homelessness strategies

Recommendation 14

The aims and objectives of the single regulatory framework for Scottish Homes, as the new Executive Agency, should include working with:

· the local authority to assess the needs of Gypsy Travellers, including those who wish to travel, for accommodation (sites and housing) for the local housing strategy;

· social housing providers to develop innovative models of housing provision (such as group or extended family housing).

This should be undertaken in consultation with Gypsy Travellers, with reference to innovative developments elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

Recommendation 15

Existing funding arrangements should be reviewed to support school and pre-school by providing additional resources where Gypsy Travellers access school education, such as:

    · education support for teachers;

    · additional grant when Gypsy Traveller children enter the school part- the way through the school year;

    · provision of transport between sites and schools through the use of school buses and schemes such as voluntary drivers;

    · assistance with school uniforms.

Recommendation 16

Whilst access to the core curriculum and the development of literacy and numeracy skills remains essential at the secondary level, more flexible provision in relation to vocational and work based learning should be considered for older children and young people, in consultation with Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 17

Alternative approaches to school education should be explored, where needs are identified in consultation with Gypsy Travellers, including:

· the development of innovative projects in delivering education services, such as distance learning and the use of computers in conjunction with outreach support, and dissemination of good practice;

· encouraging education authorities to support families providing home education;

· community rooms or portacabins provided on sites to facilitate education provision, outreach support and to build links between schools and Gypsy Traveller families;

· pre-school provision should be promoted and on site alternatives to school based services provided;

· the development of special education services, which are relevant and sensitive to the lifestyle and cultural values of Gypsy Travellers;

· research should be undertaken on how schools engage with parents and welcome them into schools (for example through direct teacher contact, through Parent Teacher Associations and Governing Boards) and how the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in their use of education services could be developed through targeted projects.

Recommendation 18

Research and good practice guidance on how schools engage with parents and welcome them into schools, for example through teacher contact, PTAs and Governing Boards.

Recommendation 19

The role of the education system in promoting good relations between the Gypsy Traveller and settled communities should be acknowledged and supported by education authorities by the Scottish Executive Education Department. Guidelines on initial teacher training and Continuing Professional Development should clearly identify Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic group in relation to training on equality, social justice and anti-discriminatory practice.

Recommendation 20

Monitoring of anti-bullying strategies, use of the anti-bullying network and Childline, should include Gypsy Travellers as a separate ethnic group. Practical guidance on good practice and training to support schools and teachers should include specific reference to issues relating to Gypsy Traveller children.

Recommendation 21

Evaluation of pilot projects and examples of good practice relating to adult learning, access to vocational qualifications through community and further education should be disseminated and further developed in consultation with Gypsy Travellers.

Recommendation 22

Gypsy Travellers should be included as a separate ethnic group in all systematic ethnic monitoring of education services to measure progress in meeting targets, for the educational inclusion of Gypsy Traveller children and improvements in their educational attainment. Performance indicators for school inspections should include specific reference to Gypsy Travellers. The recent HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) report "on Alternatives to School Exclusion" could have provided an opportunity to identify such an approach.

Recommendation 23

Further work is required on developing the information base on Gypsy Traveller children throughout the education system, clearly identified as an ethnic group, so that their needs can be included in strategic planning and policy development.

Recommendation 24

Consideration should be given by local authorities to ring-fencing or top-slicing resources for specific initiatives and interventions for education provision for Gypsy Travellers, for alternatives to school education and to encourage and support school attendance.

Recommendation 25

Gypsy Travellers should be included in the strategic planning of education services and the impact of their participation monitored to ensure that their views are considered and listened to.

Recommendation 26

Research should be commissioned by the Scottish Executive to establish the health and health needs of Gypsy Travellers in Scotland, including specific research on health issues arising from environmental factors relating to accommodation.

Recommendation 27

Guidelines on initial training and Continuing Professional Development of NHS staff, including GPs and hospital doctors, should clearly identify Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic group in relation to training on equality, social justice and anti-discriminatory practice and promote awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of Gypsy Travellers in relation to health care.

Recommendation 28

New services and improvements to existing services should be developed in consultation and monitored, to establish whether targets are being met and that the services meet Gypsy Traveller needs

Recommendation 29

Funding systems should be reviewed, clearly explained and transparent, to ensure that there are no disincentives for GP practices in registering Gypsy Travellers. Resources for the maintenance or mainstreaming of pilot projects that develop good practice in the provision of health care for Gypsy Travellers should be made available to Health Boards.

Recommendation 30

Resources for the maintenance or mainstreaming of pilot projects that develop good practice in the provision of health care for Gypsy Travellers should be made available to Health Boards, with particular reference to the use of patient hand-held records.

Recommendation 31

Gypsy Travellers should be targeted for specific health promotion campaigns, such as immunisation, accident prevention, child development, and women's health issues, including screening.

Recommendation 32

Where a Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer is appointed their specific responsibilities should include consultation with Gypsy Travellers, promoting appropriate service provision, providing information and support to Gypsy Travellers in accessing public services.

Recommendation 33

Gypsy Travellers should be included in the strategic planning of personal social services, including community care, and the impact of their participation monitored to ensure that their views are considered and listened to:

· locally based initiatives and services should be reviewed to ensure that criteria do not disadvantage mobile groups such as Gypsy Travellers;

· consideration should be given to developing the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in their use of social services through targeted projects.

Recommendation 34

Racial diversity strategies and training materials for the police and other relevant bodies in the criminal justice system should include reference to Gypsy Travellers as a separate ethnic group.

Recommendation 35

Schemes should be developed to promote the confidence of Gypsy Travellers in the police, whether contact relates to experiences as victims of crime, racial harassment or as suspected offenders:

· one of the recommendations of the final report for consultation of the Promoting Social Inclusion (PSI) Working Group on the Needs of Travellers in Northern Ireland (2001) was a pilot scheme for a legal rights worker to be appointed. The role would be to liaise with police, support workers and Travellers, raise awareness of legal rights and advocate on behalf of Travellers. A key feature of the proposed scheme was that a trainee position should be funded for a Traveller to gain appropriate skills and knowledge by shadowing the legal rights worker. A similar project should be considered for Scotland.

Recommendation 36

Policing practices and arrangements should continue to be reviewed and specific monitoring of relations between Police and Gypsy Travellers relations established. Guidance should be provided for use by the Police in working with Gypsy Travellers, as:

· victims of crime, including racist incidents and harassment;

· when evicting Gypsy Travellers from unauthorised camps;

· to ensure that Gypsy Traveller communities are not over-policed.

Recommendation 37

To support the recognition of Gypsy Travellers as a distinct ethnic group and commitment by public services to develop policy and service provision based on such an approach:

· to encourage local authorities and other public bodies to use the opportunity of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 to promote equality of opportunity for Gypsy Travellers in Scotland;

· in consultation with Gypsy Travellers, to develop school based campaigns to raise awareness and resources for use by schools, community and youth groups;

· to include Gypsy Travellers in any anti-racism campaigns aimed at challenging racial discrimination and promoting good relations in Scotland, as a specific ethnic group and to include them at an early stage in consultations on the campaign.

 

KEY REFERENCES

Publications

Advisory Committee on Scotland's Travelling People (2000) Ninth Term Report 1998-1999, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive

Department of Social Development (2001) Consultation on the Final Report of the PSI Working Group on Travellers, Northern Ireland Office.

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and Home Office (1998) Managing Unauthorised Camping - A Good Practice Guide, London: HMSO

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and Home Office (2000) Managing Unauthorised Camping - A Good Practice Guide, Issued October 1998, Revision of Chapter 5, London: HMSO.

HM Inspectorate of Education (2001) Alternatives to School Exclusion, Scottish Executive Education Department.

Scottish Executive Equality Unit (2000) Equality Strategy: Working Together for Equality.

Scottish Executive Health Department, Achieving Better Services for Patients, letter dated 28 April 1999, from Dr Kevin J. Woods, Director of Strategy and Performance Management.

Scottish Homes (2001) Proposals for the Single Regulatory Framework: Consultation Paper, Edinburgh.

Websites

HMI Scotland http://www.scotland.gov.uk/hmis

New TSN

(Targeting Social Need) http://www.newtsnni.gov.uk

Scottish Health http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk

On the Web

Scottish Homes http://www.scot.homes.gov.uk

Scottish Parliament http://www.scottish.parliament.uk

 

 

ANNEX A : EXTRACTS FROM THE MINUTES

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

13th Meeting, 2000 (Session 1)

Tuesday 23 May 2000

Present:

Malcolm Chisholm

Johann Lamont

Marilyn Livingstone

Jamie McGrigor

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Mr Michael McMahon

John Munro

Nora Radcliffe

Shona Robison (Deputy Convener)

 

Apologies:

Irene McGugan, Tricia Marwick, Elaine Smith

The meeting opened at 1.20pm.

1. Item in private: The Committee agreed that item 3 be taken in private.

2. Issues affecting Scottish Travellers: The Committee heard evidence from the Scottish Gypsy Travellers Association -

    Janet McPhee

    Michelle Lloyd, Save the Children, on behalf of Rachel Hilton

    Cathy McInnes

    Mark Kennedy

3. Issues affecting Scottish Travellers (in private): The Committee heard evidence from -

    Shamus McPhee

    Roseanna McPhee

The meeting closed at 3.20pm.

Simon Watkins

Acting Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

20th Meeting, 2000 (Session 1)

Tuesday 24 October 2000

Present:

Malcolm Chisholm

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Nora Radcliffe

Shona Robison (Deputy Convener)

Elaine Smith

 

The meeting opened at 10.06 am

2. Travelling People and Public Sector Policies Inquiry: The Convener updated the Committee on the progress of the Inquiry and advised that the appointment of an adviser was imminent.

    The meeting closed at 10.50am.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACTS FROM MINUTES

21st Meeting, 2000 (Session 1)

Tuesday 7 November 2000

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Marilyn Livingstone

Jamie McGrigor

Irene McGugan

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Michael McMahon

John Munro

Nora Radcliffe

Elaine Smith

Kay Ullrich (Deputy Convener)

The meeting opened at 10.09am

4. Travelling People and Public Sector Policies Inquiry: The Convener advised the Committee that Delia Lomax had been appointed as adviser to the Committee.

    The meeting closed at 12.07pm.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

6th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 13 March 2001

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

Jamie McGrigor

Michael McMahon

Kay Ullrich

 

Apologies: Margaret Smith

The meeting opened at 10.03 am.

1. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered its lines of questioning for Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Traveller Education Programme (STEP).

3. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies: The Committee took evidence from-

        Diana Dodd and Patrick Chaney - City of Edinburgh Council

        Dr Elizabeth Jordan - Scottish Traveller Education Programme.

The meeting closed at 12.39 pm.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

7th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 27 March 2001

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Jamie McGrigor

Michael McMahon

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

Kay Ullrich

 

Apologies: Margaret Smith

The meeting opened at 10.03 am.

1. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered its lines of questioning for ACPOS, Lanarkshire Health Board, Grampian Racial Equality Council, Edinburgh and Lothians Racial Equality Council, Travellers Site Managers Association, Fife Council, South Lanarkshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council and COSLA.

3. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies: The Committee took evidence from -

        Acting Chief Constable Kenneth McInnes - ACPOS

        Dr John Wrench - Lanarkshire Health Board

        Ms Jeanie Felsinger - Grampian Racial Equality Council

        Ms Nel Whiting - Edinburgh and Lothians Racial Equality Council

        Mr Frazer Campbell - Edinburgh and Lothians Racial Equality Council

        Mr Brian Kane - Travellers Site Managers Association

        Ms Christine Carmichael - Travellers Site Managers Association

        Mrs Jessie Wallace - Travellers Site Managers Association.

The meeting was suspended at 11.57 am and resumed at 12.07 pm.

        Mr John Angus - COSLA

        Mr John Mills - Fife Council

        Mr Eric Marwood - Fife Council

        Mr Lindsay Freeland - South Lanarkshire Council

        Mr Jim Duffin - South Lanarkshire Council

        Mr John Gormley - North Lanarkshire Council

        Mr Kevin McGowan - North Lanarkshire Council.

The meeting closed at 1.25 pm.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

8th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 24 April 2001

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Jamie McGrigor

Michael McMahon

Elaine Smith

 
   

Apologies: Cathy Peattie, Margaret Smith

The meeting opened at 10.07 am.

1. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered its lines of questioning for Highland Health Board, Falkirk Council, Save the Children Fund, the Scottish Gypsy/Traveller Association and the Scottish Travellers Consortium.

4. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies: The Committee took evidence from -

        Moira Paton - Highland Health Board

        Dr Iain McNicol - Highland Health Board

        Janet Williams - Highland Health Board

        Ann Carnachan - Falkirk Council

        Jane Baker - Falkirk Council

        Michelle Lloyd - Save the Children Fund

        Elizabeth Johnstone - Save the Children Fund

        Mark Kennedy - The Scottish Gypsy/Traveller Association

        Margaret Gregg - The Scottish Gypsy/Traveller Association

        Linda Graham -The Scottish Travellers Consortium

        Catriona Young -The Scottish Travellers Consortium

        Rebecca McKinney - The Scottish Travellers Consortium.

The meeting closed at 12.54 pm.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

9th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 1 May 2001

Present:

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Michael McMahon

Cathy Peattie

Kay Ullrich

   
   

Apologies: Linda Fabiani, Elaine Smith

The meeting opened at 10.07 am.

1. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered its lines of questioning for witnesses.

4. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies: The Committee took evidence from -

      Nadia Foy

      Sharon McPhee

      Clementine MacDonald

      Peter McPhee

      Carol O'Halloran.

The meeting closed at 12.26 pm.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

10th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 8 May 2001

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Michael McMahon

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

Jamie Stone

Kay Ullrich

 

Apologies: Jamie McGrigor

The meeting opened at 10.07 am.

5. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered a paper from the adviser. The Committee approved the paper from the adviser as amended.

The meeting closed at 11.33 am.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

12th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 5 June 2001

Present:

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Jamie McGrigor

Michael McMahon

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

Kay Ullrich

   

Apologies: Jamie Stone, Linda Fabiani

The meeting opened at 10.02 am.

1. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered lines of questioning for the Minister for Social Justice and the Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care.

3. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies: The Committee took evidence from -

      Jackie Baillie MSP, Minister for Social Justice

      Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care

      Louise Donnelly, Scottish Executive

      Michael Ewart, Scottish Executive

      Helen Jones, Scottish Executive.

The meeting was adjourned at 11.28 am.

The meeting resumed at 11.41 am.

4. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered the key principles and themes of the inquiry. The private paper from the Adviser, as amended, was agreed.

The meeting closed at 12.53 pm.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM MINUTES

13th Meeting, 2001 (Session 1)

Tuesday 19 June 2001

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Jamie McGrigor

Michael McMahon

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

Jamie Stone

 

Apologies: Kay Ullrich

The meeting opened at 10.00 am.

5. Inquiry into Travelling People and Public Sector Policies (in private): The Committee considered its draft report. The Committee agreed that the report as amended go forward for publication. The Committee approved the proposed handling arrangements for publication of the report.

The meeting adjourned at 11.31 am.

The meeting resumed at 11.39 am.

The meeting closed at 12.20 pm.

Lee Bridges

 

 

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