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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequalities Commission

Launch of the Commission report

The report was launched on Thursday 18 March.

You can view the event on the council’s webcast library BAME Inequalities Comission logo



The shocking and public killing of George Floyd, and subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the world has brought the subject of racial inequality to the forefront of personal and political discussions.

The council is committed to creating cohesive communities that are strong, fair and equal. We recognise that we can only do this by working in partnership with our communities to advance equality, promote good relations and tackle discrimination.

Equality is embedded in our major partnership plans so that addressing inequalities is a core part of our outlook and the way we deliver public services. Tower Hamlets is a place that has for generations welcomed people from all over the world, and at times has come together in solidarity to stand up to racist attacks from those who wish to divide local people.

However, we understand that for all our of success and progress there remains much room for improvement to achieve greater equality in the borough. We know that racial discrimination means some people have neither had equal access to public services or employment, nor fair treatment and life chances.

In addition to the Black Lives Matter movement, the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population has served to expose the severe consequences of the structural disadvantages and discrimination faced by these communities. Public Health England’s review of disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19 found that imbedded inequality means that the likelihood of testing positive and dying with Covid-19 is higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups.

In recognition of the high level of concern raised about the longstanding levels of racial inequality in the borough, Mayor John Biggs announced that Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor for Community Safety, Youth and Equalities would lead a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequality Commission. The Commission is tasked to deliver tangible and practical actions which will deliver real change to the lives of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and allow the council and its partners to champion the enormous impact these communities can contribute to the borough.

Key aims

The key aims of the Commission are:

  1. Engage and operate at the heart of Tower Hamlets’ communities to hear about people’s lived experience and solutions, specifically Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women and young people who experience higher levels of inequality.
  2. Work with institutions to advance and prioritise race equality to achieve an inclusive, cohesive, thriving and representative Tower Hamlets. 
  3. Influence local, sub-regional and regional leaders who have significant influence on Tower Hamlets, particularly in the development of policy and strategy practices and the allocation of resources.

It will be based on evidence, with these areas of focus:

  1. Community leadership
  2. Health
  3. Education
  4. Employment

The Commission will listen to the views of residents and organisations to understand how the lived experience and chances for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in Tower Hamlets differ significantly and detrimentally from those of White people. The Commission will deliver tangible and practical actions which address the systemic discrimination and disadvantages experienced by Tower Hamlets residents because of their race or ethnicity and ensure they feel valued and empowered to fulfil their potential.  It will use existing data, commission new research where needed and invite responses from individuals and businesses through the submission of written evidence or attendance at the Commission’s formal meetings.

Full list of Commissioners

  • Cllr Asma Begum, Chair (Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Youth and Equalities)
  • Cllr Mufeedah Bustin (Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion)
  • Lord Simon Woolley (Director of Operation Black Vote)
  • Safia Jama (Director of Womens Inclusive Team)
  • Dr Kambiz Boomla (Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Population Health Sciences at Queen Mary University of London)
  • Ian Parkes (Chief Executive, East London Business Alliance )
  • Vivian Akinremi (Deputy Young Mayor Tower Hamlets)
  • Edwin Ndlovu (Director of Operations for East London NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Pam Bhamra (Chair of the Tower Hamlets Housing Forum)
  • Graeme McDonald (Managing Director of Solace and Solace in Business)

The Commission will aim to report its findings on the priority areas of employment, health and community leadership by January 2021.

Your experiences and ideas

Ways to get involved

We really want to hear about your own lived experiences, thoughts and ideas about how we can work towards tackling racial inequalities affecting people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in the borough.

We have created a dedicated page on our Let’s Talk Tower Hamlets consultation platform where you can feedback on different aspects of the Commission’s work.

You can also contact the commissioners’ support team and invite them to meet your local organisation.

You can give your experiences and ideas on how to make positive changes.

Email: raceinequalities@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Commission Meetings

The Commission will be holding a number of meetings focusing on the specific areas of investigation, and you will be able to follow them online.

The first meeting takes place at 11am on 8 October and will focus on Community Leadership.

You can:

  • share your ideas and lived experiences with commissioners on the subject
  • say what community leadership means to you
  • discuss how more people can be supported to take up positive leadership roles in their communities.


The second meeting at 11am on November focuses on health inequalities.

It will discuss:

  • barriers of access to good quality health services.
  • the impact of this on health outcomes


The third meeting at 11am on 18 November focuses on Education. It will discuss:

  • the challenges Black, Asian and minority ethnic school, college or university leavers face in gaining good employment
  • the impact of this on career development
  • what practical changes can help to tackle the issues preventing people from reaching their full career potential.


The fourth meeting at 10am on 2 December focuses on Employment. It will discuss:

  • the barriers that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people face in achieving good career opportunities
  • how significant under-representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees at senior management and leadership levels can be tackled
  • what businesses and organisations can do to share best practice and make lasting changes to remove the barriers that hold people back from reaching their full potential.


Details will be provided ahead of each meeting on our social media channels on how to follow the meetings and how you can submit your evidence on each area of focus.

Meeting dates
 Date Time Focus
Thursday 8 October 2020  11am - 2pm. Watch a recording of the meeting  Community Leadership
 Tuesday 3 November 2020  11am - 2pm Watch a recording of the meeting  Health
 Wednesday 18 November 2020  11am - 2pm Watch a recording of the meeting
 Wednesday 2 December 2020   10am – 1pm Watch a recording of the meeting  Employment


You can also contact us to give your views on any of these subjects.

Get in touch



How else can I stay up-to-date?

Keep checking this page for the latest news and information, follow our social media channels and sign up to the residents’ e-newsletter.

Commission Report and Recommendations 2021

The Commission’s report and recommendations follows several months of detailed research and evidence from expert witnesses, and members of various professions, young people and community groups. Through smaller private meetings and online consultation people have also been encouraged to share their lived experiences and their ideas for making positive and lasting changes. Many thanks to all those who took the time to share their experiences, the feedback the Commission has received has really helped to shape the findings and recommendations.

Further work will take place in the weeks and months ahead, working with our local partners to set out and deliver on a practical action plan for change.

BAME inequalities Commission Report and Recommendations 2021

Message from the Chair of the Commission, Councillor Asma Begum