Report on the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities leading to change in Wales

A Cardiff University academic has welcomed the Welsh Government’s response to a report on the impact of Covid-19 on Wales’ black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Cardiff University reports Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna is chair of the BAME Covid-19 Advisory Socio-economic Sub-group, which was set up by First Minister Mark Drakeford in response to the pandemic. Their report into the socio-economic and environmental factors behind why BAME communities are at higher risk from the virus made more than thirty recommendations.

In its response to the findings, the Welsh Government said it had begun a number of actions. These include:

  • The BAME Covid-19 Welsh Workforce Risk Assessment Tool, which was rolled out initially to health and social care settings. A version has been adapted for education settings, and a more general workplace version has been made available.
  • Covid-19 “Keep Wales Safe” communications have been translated into thirty six languages to be easily accessible to diverse communities.
  • The Race Equality Action Plan is being developed to take forward further actions on inequality and will be rolled out by the end of this Senedd term.
  • The Welsh Government is scoping a Race Disparity Unit for Wales to press forward race equality.
  • A new BAME curriculum working group has been set up to advise on and improve the teaching of themes relating to black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and experiences across all parts of the school curriculum.
  • A Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for Public Appointments to improve representation of BAME and disabled people.
  • A BAME advice helpline, initially as a six month pilot project.

Emmanuel Ogbonna, based at Cardiff Business School, said “We are pleased with the comprehensive nature of the Welsh Government’s response to our report and we commend it for the initiatives that have been implemented so far.

“We hope we can work with the Welsh Government to implement our recommendations in full so that we can make Wales a shining example of ethnic diversity and inclusion.”

The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt said “The report from the First Minister’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) COVID-19 Socio-economic Sub-group placed race inequality in Wales in the context of Covid-19. The report clearly sets out many of the issues we need to address, and forms an important foundation for the Race Equality Action Plan for Wales, which I will lead.

“Our initial response to the report is not an exhaustive list of actions being undertaken, but captures our progress so far against its recommendations. Progress will be revisited regularly as the Socio-economic Sub-group continues to meet, and as many of the recommendations become further developed and embedded in the Race Equality Action Plan.”

Mark Drakeford, said “I am very grateful for the hard work and recommendations of Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna’s BAME Covid-19 Advisory Socio-economic Sub-group. Their report is a sobering and powerful one, which highlights the entrenched inequalities experienced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in Wales. Major change is needed throughout society to address these inequalities.

“The Welsh Government has already taken several steps along the road, but we recognise that there is a long way to go. We have to look carefully and honestly at the structures and systems in society and consider where and how to bring about change that benefits everyone.

“Now is a time for action, and this government is committed to creating a lasting legacy for Wales, where there is fair treatment and advancement for all.”

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