The Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) is a national charity delivering programmes for young black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people aged 11-30 years. We conduct action research, operate as a learning partner for funders and provide a voice to government for BAME organisations.
BTEG started out as a project within National Council for Voluntary Organisations in 1991 and registered as a charity in 1996. BTEG is a networking organisation supporting over 1200 voluntary groups and community businesses in England. BTEG now provides programmes for young people, national policy development and action research. The organisation continues to collaborate with mainstream and other race equality organisations and has now established itself as an important voice on young BAME people and the criminal justice system (CJS).
BTEG’s mission is to end racial inequality. We believe that the contribution of all communities makes a nation, builds dynamic local communities, generates wealth and improves well-being. We champion fairness, challenge discrimination and pioneer innovative solutions to empower BAME communities through education, employment and enterprise. Our activities involve working with Government, business, public services, BAME organisations and the media.
Aims and activities of the organisation
BTEG has five core aims:
- Employment: to increase employment rates for young BAME people to the national average.
- Social and Economic Regeneration: to ensure that BAME communities contribute to the social and economic regeneration of their communities.
- Education: to raise the attainment levels of BAME pupils in education to the national average.
- Strong Communities: to work with individuals and communities to improve integration and cohesion through developing shared values and aspirations for the whole community.
- Entrepreneurship: to motivate and inspire individuals to act on their ideas and to realise their enterprise potential.
Since 2011 BTEG has been developing a strand of work around ethnic disproportionality in the criminal justice system. For the past three years our focus in this area has been providing the secretariat and policy support for the Young Review Independent Advisory Group and this work has been kindly funded by Lankelly Chase, Barrow Cadbury and Esmee Fairburn.
The Advisory Group was established following the launch of the Young Review report in December 2014. It has provided an interface with government on this agenda and worked closely with David Lammy through the consultation phase of his review.
The YRIAG is currently going through a repositioning process which has been instigated by the ending of the current funding period from our three funders and responding to the new policy context created by the Lammy Review and Race Disparity Audit. The repositioning process includes:
- Widening the remit (to include children and young people up to the age of 30, Muslim offenders and BAME women). We will maintain a strong focus on the Offender management/ rehabilitation process but there will be a more honed interest in outcomes for BAME children in terms of preventing entry, diversion and exiting the youth justice system.
- Appointment of a new advisory group Chair and Members
- Reviewing our strategic plan to reflect the wider remit
- A name change for the Advisory Group
We are clear the Advisory Group (and in its future form) will continue to make a major contribution.
Methodologies being used
Our work has involved a range of methods:
- Influencing and relationship building with government- This has been at the forefront of our approach. The Advisory Group has established itself as a key reference point for government in addressing ethnic inequalities in the justice system
- Partnership with civil society- The Young Review report was a partnership between civil society groups BTEG ad Clinks and the Advisory Group is made up by 80% of civil society partners. But we have also built thematic partnerships for example we recently held a roundtable with the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies on the Metropolitan Police’s Gangs Matrix (a database of over 3500 suspected gang involved individuals across London 90% of whom are black young men) with more than 20 civil society and academic partners. We reported back to MOPAC (Mayors office for Police and Crime) who are reviewing the matrix. We supported Amnesty International in the launch of their recent report Inside the Gangs Matrix which was highly critical of the Met Police’s use of this database.
- Research- We have a number of academics who have actively participated on our advisory group and we inputted into the production of last years Government report into race and the criminal justice system. Last December we launched our race equality audit report of the 43 Police and Crime Pans across England and Wales. This has led to a productive dialogue with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
- Developing operational tools- One of our Advisory Group members has led on the development of an organisational charter scheme with a focus on improving BAME outcomes in the CJS. We will be launching the Young Review charter scheme with probation service providers later this year.
Some examples below of recent activities/blogs/reports over the past four months:
- We presented on ethnic disproportionality in the youth justice system at the beyond youth custody practitioners conference in March 2018
- Lankelly “Twitter Takeover” day
Recent developments such as the Lammy Review have resulted in greater dialogue and institutional action in addressing ethnic inequalities. However what has been missing in the process has been any recognition in the need for cultural change and for institutions to recognise that certain behaviours, practices and attitudes may be contributing factors to discrimination. More emphasis needs to be put on changing culture and hearts and minds.
Some of the tensions for the project moving forward are:
- Improving our communications and external focus of the work (we are recruiting a Communications Officer)
- Involving service users much more in our work giving them a voice
- Balancing our role of working with government while still holding it to account and challenging injustices.
- Addressing our wider remit moving forward and adjusting to a new chair following the departure of Baroness Lola Young our first chair