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Today's Citizens Jury on Respect

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Polly BillingtonPolly Billington reports
Can citizens solve the problems that politicians can't?
Today is setting up a Citizens Jury to find out and provide an opportunity for people to tackle some of the problems politicians struggle with daily.


LISTEN
The citizens' jury met with the Home Office Minister Hazel Blears to discuss respect in British society. LISTEN TO THE FULL VERSION.
LISTEN
Listen to Polly Billington's full interview with the leader of Reading Borough Council, Councillor David Sutton, after his meeting with the Citizen's Jury to respond to their recommendations.
LISTEN
Can citizens solve the problems that politicians can't ? The Today programme is setting up a "Citizens Jury" to find out.
LISTEN
Is Our Citizens' Jury process an authentic way to reconnect people with power? We ask Dr Tom Wakeford of Newcastle University and Dr Alison Pollock of University College, London.
LISTEN
We speak to Home Office minister Hazel Blears about a set of reccommendations drawn up by Our Citizens' Jury after deliberating for nearly a month.
LISTEN
Richard Wilkinson

Eighth Witness, Professor Richard Wilkinson, author of The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier.
LISTEN
Nick Harbourne's question and answer session.
LISTEN
Nick Harbourne

Seventh Witness, Nick Harbourne from Reading Single Homeless Project.
LISTEN
Sixth witness, Gary French, night-shelter worker in Oxford - against Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.
LISTEN
Fifth witness, Bill Pitt - Nuisance Strategy Group Manchester City Council - pro-Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.
LISTEN
Fourth witness, Gill Strachan , from the Dundee parenting project, which is run by the NCH charity.
LISTEN
Third witnesses, Arlene Vetere and Jan Cooper, Reading family conflict workers.
LISTEN
Is Our Citizens' Jury process an authentic way to reconnect people with power? We ask Dr Tom Wakeford of Newcastle University and Dr Alison Pollock of University College, London (08/10/05).
LISTEN
Gita Sahgalis

Second witness, Gita Sahgalis is a documentary film maker and writer. Her work includes films such as "Love Snatched: Forced Marriage and Multiculturalism."
LISTEN
Hear the round up of the week from the citizen jury.  (Week ending 01/10/05)
LISTEN
Hear Today's Citizens Jury debate parenting, family violence and anti-social behaviour orders (14/09/05).
LISTEN
Listen to the Q&A session with first witness, Darren Way.
LISTEN
Darren Way

First witness Darren Way who is a transition worker in the East End of London and founder of "Streets of Growth" talks to our citizen jury
Reading

This is part of a national conversation, but like any conversation it has to take place somewhere.
We chose Reading.

USEFUL LINKS

Reading Borough Council
 
Institute for Policy and Practice

TOGETHER: tackling anti-social behaviour

Citizens Juries
 
National Children's Bureau


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Tom: Weblogger

Tom, a member of the citizen jury writes a WEBLOG of the experience.
Preeti: Weblogger

Preeti is the youngest member of the citizen jury.
David: Weblogger

David is a member of the citizen jury and talks about his experiences of being a juror.
Instead of just being asked their opinion the jurors were asked to come up with some recommendations, after listening to evidence from experts and weighing up different arguments.

The jury will met over a month - ahead of the government's expected White Paper on the "respect" agenda. Their advice might only apply to government but they may have policies for other agencies to implement that might help instil a culture of respect in our society.


THE FINDINGS:

READING COMMUNITY JURY

In our hearings and in the discussions that led to the following provisional recommendations, we, the jury have decided which issues are of most concern to us. However, we also acknowledged the opportunity that the BBC Today Programme would give us to highlight recommendations that related to the current debate on "respect" initiated by the government earlier this year.

Notes from the facilitators:
The following document contains three different elements - the jury's provisional recommendations, explanations of these recommendations and requests from the jury for further information so that they can improve their recommendations. Each recommendation and associated explanation is followed by an indication of whether it received unanimous, strong or weak support, which was indicated by a show of hands. Jurors who were unsure whether or not they supported a particular recommendation, including those who felt they required more information before coming to a decision, sometimes abstained from voting.

Process sponsored by: Newcastle University and BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.


YOUNG PEOPLE

Scope: Local and national.

Provisional recommendation:
Counsellors should be appointed to schools who can both teach respect and support children on a daily basis - helping them break the cycle of bad parenting that leads to many of the problems about which we have heard during the jury. They would show respect for the issues that children are facing.

Strong support

Request for additional information from oversight panel:

Is, and if so what, is the local authority in Reading doing about parenting classes for young people (years 10 and 11) and adults? Request for additional information from oversight panel:

What can we learn from successes with parenting classes elsewhere in the UK or abroad?

Scope: Local

Provisional recommendation:
There is a need for mentoring and peer-support for young people, allowing them to talk about their problems to someone their own age. Mentors could then work with teachers and the headmaster to make a change.

Unanimous

Scope: Local

Schemes such as that in the midlands - where an internet café is run for young people only, by young people, should be rolled out in Reading.

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
What other schemes of this sort already exist or are about to start in Reading?

Unanimous

Scope: Local and national.

Provisional recommendation:
Lack of opportunities and difficulties in employment for young people should be tackled, in part, through real life education such as apprenticeships and better careers services.

Unanimous


CITIZENSHIP

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
Citizenship education needs a complete overhaul to make it relevant to young people's lives and what is going on in their area. External speakers, (e.g. from RSHP in Reading) should be brought into prompt debate about issues that matter to young people. Other issues could include violent football players and supporters, domestic violence and different cultures, ethnicities and traditions.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:

Citizenship classes in schools are wasted at the moment, neither helping those struggling with maths/English, nor developing young people as citizens.

Strong support

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendations:
Schemes should be set up to encourage and allow a greater number of young people to use school and summer holidays to do voluntary work for local charities, which would also be good for many potential careers. These schemes should offer rewards and incentives for the people involved.

Unanimous

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendations:
We acknowledge that awards such as "Duke of Edinburgh" do exist - additional schemes should added with a more modern name.

Strong support


RESPECT

Scope: Local and national.

Provisional recommendation:
There is a need for the teaching of mutual respect, particularly at the level where the problem is. Projects like Streets of Growth a good example.

Explanation in suport of provisional recommendation:
Respect is a two way process. Children and their parents need to respect and understand each other.

Explanation in suport of provisional recommendation:
Some people are judgemental about young people, who may only hang around in groups outside because they want to. It is a matter of perception. There should not automatically be a negative perception of such youths.

Unanimous

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
A major new national initiative (with a branch in Reading) should be set up to show society's respect for those people who are engaged in work aimed at helping those in need.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
Money and people's desire for as much of it as possible is celebrated in our culture, whereas those helping the least well-off in society are not. (This additional explanation received weak support).

Strong support

ASBOS & OTHER PUNISHMENTS

Scope: Local and National

Provisional recommendation:
A comprehensive, independent, national review of ASBO's successes and failures so far should be undertaken immediately.

Provisional recommendation:
Guidelines/regulations for ASBOs then need to be drawn up to make sure they are not to be given to people purely because of the problems they have or the way they choose to live.

Provisional recommendation:
Remedial help should be included in an ASBO so that breaches are less likely.

Information could include:

a) the sort of help they need And;
b) this is how they can go and get it.

Provisional recommendation:
If someone breaches their ASBO while they are making an attempt to be helped, the court could be more lenient than if they have refused the help.

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
How are ASBOs regulated at present, and by who?

Unanimous

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
Parents should continue to be allowed to lightly smack their children.

Some support, but with many against


INEQUALITY

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
The UK government should use the tax system to set a fairer system of incomes, for example a formula that would ensure the lowest paid received a proportional wage to that which is paid to the highest waged person in any organisation.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
If there was a fairer system of wages, both parents may no longer be forced to work. This would allow the non-working parent to spend more time with their children, giving them the time and nourishment they need.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
The gap between the best paid in our society and those paid the minimum wage, or less, is obscene and getting worse.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
We recognise that this jury alone will not be able to change this, but wish to express our opinion.

Strong support

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
Communities in the Third World whose health care systems are weakened because we have imported some of their best doctors should be compensated in some way for their loss of resource.

Some support, but with many unsure or against

Scope: Individuals

Provisional recommendation:
As a step towards respecting the rights of people locally and globally, everyone should take time to support their local shop rather than supermarkets and find produce that has been manufactured respecting people's human rights, often marked with a "fair trade" label.

Strong support

MENTAL IMPAIRMENTS AND VULNERABLE

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
More resources should be provided for health services and social services - to allow them to reach out to people with mental impairments and vulnerable young people. This would allow us to be more caring and attentive to young people and children.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
There is a dramatic lack of respect for people who have mental impairments. This recommendation would allow them to get more respect from society.

Strong support, but with some unsure.

Scope: Local

Provisional recommendation:
More investment and trust in locally controlled charities. E.g. a local charity in nurseries could advise and deal with physical/emotional abuse acting as a bridge with big national charities [e.g. NSPCC] and/or social services.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
Local charities seem far more effective than social services or branches of big national charities.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:

Virtually no-one on the jury had heard of local charities such as RSHP

Strong support, but with some unsure.


LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS/CHARITIES

Scope: Local

Provisional recommendation:
To make people more aware of local community groups/charities, we should convince the Reading Evening Post to cover one charity a week from a positive angle.

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
We'd like someone from the council to come and talk to us and tell us about what funds are available especially for youth groups and how charities/community groups are using them.

Unanimous

Scope: Local

Provisional recommendation:
Resident Associations/Neighbourhood watch schemes should be promoted within the community.

Unanimous

Scope: Local and national

Provisional recommendation:
There needs to be a Dundee type project locally and in other small towns around the country. For local project Nick Harborne from the RSHP should be consulted.

Unanimous

Scope: Local and national.

Provisional recommendation:
More resources for hostels, shelters and housing for the homeless and rehab facilities should be provided so that people can get off dependency. Money should be provided nationally as the regional divide in Britain means that there are more of these types of problems in some places than others.

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
More information is required for us to find out what is happening now

Unanimous

Scope: Local

Provisional recommendation:
There needs to be more funding and other resources for voluntary organisations like the scouts associations, guides and adventure dolphins.

Unanimous

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
There might the funding money come from for these projects?

Scope: Local and national.

Provisional recommendation:
The government and relevant funding bodies should show greater acceptance of the need for imaginative new ways of measuring the success of innovative projects such as Streets of Growth, Reading Single Homeless Project (RSHP) and the family counsellors who were one of our witness.

Explanation in support of provisional recommendation:
The unwillingness to measure intangible successes of some projects make it difficult for voluntary organisations and charities doing excellent work to obtain funding on the basis of their successes.

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
That more help does the local council need to get more RSHP type projects?

Unanimous

Scope: Local

Provisional recommendation:
We accept the offer of the Superintendent of the police in Reading, Mr Dillip Amin, to meet with the jury at a later date to discuss ways of improving the relations between the police and diverse local communities.

Request for additional information from oversight panel:
He might help us examine the impact and scope of multi-cultural events such as the recent "cricket day" in Reading.

Unanimous
_______________________________________________

Tony Blair said that the issue of "respect" kept coming up on the doorstep during the election, and that it would be a key theme for his third term in government. But what does he mean by "respect", and is it the same thing that bothers so many of the country's citizens? What can government do about people being rude to each other? The Prime Minister admitted he can't bring people's children up for them - but is it really all about hooded teenagers and binge drinking? Or has a lack of respect got deeper causes and wider consequences?

Working together with an action-research team from the Institute of Policy and Practice, University of Newcastle,  we decided to find our jurors in a town that could reflect Britain; that doesn't have specific problems but is actually enjoying much of the affluence that comes from new jobs and consumer confidence, and is having to tackle some of the consequences of that; a growing population, housing pressures, more shopping, more nightlife. The exercise is to find solutions that might apply anywhere in Britain, rather than examine a part of the country that might face unique challenges needing tailored policies. This is part of a national conversation, but like any conversation it has to take place somewhere.

We chose Reading.

Our jurors come from all walks of life and all parts of Reading. They're all ages (from fourteen upwards) and have been chosen to reflect and include everyone who might have something to say about "respect".


Meet the Jury

First of all they'll be talking about what it means for them.


**Read some of your EVIDENCE

OR DEBATE the issues that have been raised on the MESSAGE BOARD.

Every Saturday there'll be a report on the programme summing up what they've been discussing that week.

In the final week they'll come up with recommendations.

We plan to put the recommendations to the right authorities live on the programme.

_________________________________________________________

To make sure the process is fair the jury has an Oversight Panel:
 
David Cowling,
Head of BBC Political Research
Louise Casey, Head of the Respect Unit, Home Office
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty 
Beverley Costa, Mother Tongue , Reading .
Tessa Harding, Policy Director, Help the Aged
Barbara Hearn, Director, Policy and Innovation, National Children's Bureau 
John Hannett, USDAW (shop-workers union) 
Jan Berry, Chairwoman of the Police Federation 
Tim Collins formerly a colonel in the British Army 
Richard Layard, London School of Economics
Chris Woodhead, former Chief Inspector of Schools
Arzu Merali, Islamic Human Rights Commission
Rahila Gupta, Southall Black Sisters who wrote:
I agreed to be part of the oversight panel because the debate on 'Respect' had been framed by Tony Blair in a way that did not recognise that in a democracy respect must flow from the powerful to the powerless before they can expect a return on it, that respect implies a mutuality that is difficult to achieve in an unequal society and therefore any debate on it must be informed by marginal voices in our society. As a member of Southall Black Sisters, who campaign against violence against women, I wanted to share my experience of the dire consequences of lack of respect.

_________________________________________________________




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