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Developing Race Forward

Read the Race Forward report

Click here to read Race Forward, the Taskforce's plan for change.

Download the report.

The Taskforce was set up in Spring 2022. It spent its first year bringing partners together to develop a plan for change.  The result was Race Forward, the Taskforce’s independent strategy.

Race Forward sets out the changes the Taskforce want to see across a wide range of priorities.  It also explains how the Taskforce will work with partners to make these changes possible.

Yetunde Dania, the inaugural chair of the Taskforce, presented Race Forward to the WMCA Board in March 2023.  It was fully endorsed by the region's political leaders, who all shared their support.

Our journey: a timeline for developing Race Forward

May 2021 - Andy Street re-elected as Mayor of the West Midlands.

Andy Street was re-elected as Mayor of the West Midlands. One of his manifesto commitments was to set up an equalities taskforce, to make sure that all communities can share in the region’s success.

July 2021 - Taskforce approved.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board agreed to launch a new Race Equalities Taskforce to improve opportunities for all of our communities. It will focus on the issues where the WMCA can make the most impact, such as transport, skills, jobs and housing.

December 2021 - Independent Chair appointed.

Yetunde Dania was confirmed as the Independent Chair of the Taskforce. Yetunde is a practicing lawyer, partner and Head of the Birmingham Office at international law firm Trowers & Hamlins LLP, and is a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion.

February 2022 – the Taskforce launched.

Independent members of the Taskforce were appointed through a competitive recruitment campaign, which looked for strategic leaders with the passion and expertise to tackle race inequality on a regional scale. These members were joined by senior leaders from public bodies to make up the full Taskforce steering group (around 30 people). The Taskforce held its first workshop in April 2023.

May 2022 - Evidence base reviewed.

During the Spring, the Taskforce reviewed the independent baseline report on race inequalities that was produced by The Equal Group. The report evidenced significant disparities across the West Midlands and highlighted the need for more granular and intersectional data.

July 2022 - Trailblazer Devolution Deal influenced.

Building on our response to Levelling Up, the Taskforce challenged the WMCA to make sure that the region’s Trailblazer Devolution Deal proposals will actively tackle race inequality. The WMCA policy leads coordinating proposals for culture, crime, finance, health, housing, skills, social capital and transport have all committed to prioritising inclusion and community engagement should the proposals progress to design stage.

September 2022 - Action groups launched.

Five workshops were delivered to launch the Taskforce’s thematic action groups. These groups will drive forward the Taskforces work across: Jobs, Living Standards, Skills and Education; Health and Wellbeing; Housing and Homelessness; Transport; and Criminal Justice.

October 2022 - Collaborated with the Mental Health Commission.

Members of the Taskforce also worked with the West Midlands Mental Health Commission to find recommendations for addressing race inequality in Mental Health.

November 2022 - Community Listening Exercise delivered.

The Taskforce held our first community event on 11 November, which saw more than 70 people take part in conversations about jobs, skills, housing and transport in the West Midlands. These insights and lived experiences have shaped this strategy. The event was delivered in partnership with Alleyne& and hosted by NatWest. You can read the insights in the Listening Together report.

November 2022 - Strategy developed.

Taskforce members gathered with senior public service leaders and local authority ‘subject matter experts’ to develop a 3-5 year strategy for tackling race inequality across the region. This included identifying actions that can show progress within the first 12 months.

January 2023 - Finalised the strategy.

The Taskforce finalised its strategy in early 2023, ready to be shared with the region’s decision makers at the WMCA Board. The draft strategy was used to deliver an action planning workshop with senior officers across the WMCA in February 2023.

March 2023 – Race Forward was endorsed.

Yetunde Dania presented the Taskforce's independent strategy to the WMCA Board in March 2023.  It received full endorsement from the region's political leaders.