Monday, February 23, 2015

Redbridge Council & The Spirit Level

Recently Redbridge Council set up a ‘Fairness Commission’ to investigate poverty and inequality within the borough and make recommendations on how these issues should be tackled by the council and its partners.

Inequalities and lack of opportunities can affect people in negative ways across the whole of their lives. Research shows that at school, children from more affluent families will overtake children from poorer families by the age of seven. Precarious and low paid employment has deep impacts on a working adult’s physical and mental health while isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack among the elderly. At a time of severe financial challenges it is important that the Council takes a leading role in making sure that resources are being used as effectively as possible to support local communities.

The Redbridge Fairness Commission will examine different aspects of life in the Borough and ask how local public, private and third sectors can contribute to ensuring that everyone has access to the opportunities they need to meet their aspirations.
The Commission is a panel of representatives from the community and voluntary sector, business, councillors, academia etc. They will look at ways to help tackle inequality and poverty in Redbridge and make it a fairer place for everyone.

The Commission will be running throughout 2015 and will discuss fairness in relation to a different theme at each of its monthly public meetings (see schedule here). Evidence is being collected now for the March meeting when the theme will be ‘Living in Redbridge’ which will have its focus on housing and environmental issues.

At the end of this year, the Commission will have identified, and will make recommendations for addressing, different types of inequality in Redbridge. This will influence how the Council should spend money and on what. But to do this the Commissioners need to know what the Community thinks about Fairness in Redbridge.

As well as the monthly meetings there will also be a variety of outreach and engagement activities with community groups, which we pre-empted by inviting the co-Chair, Mark Santos, to come and speak at our June coffee morning. There is also an on-line facility to take the views of the public click here.

The title of this post is derived from the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.


  1. (said with sarcasm) makes you wonder how we all made it through the centuries eh?

  2. An unwise choice of title for this post given the controversy surrounding the statistics in "The Spirit Level". For instance, see: