Call for evidence

The Fairness Commission is keen to hear from as many local people and organisations as possible. On the day of the launch the Chair, Dr Giles Fraser, issued a call for evidence, inviting people to submit views, ideas and information for consideration by the Fairness Commission. His open letter is provided below.

Dr Giles Fraser, Monday 5th November 2012

This is a call to people who live, work, and contribute to life in Tower Hamlets. I’d like you to be part of a new project for the borough. The Tower Hamlets Fairness Commission is an independent body which has been set up to consider issues of fairness in today’s challenging economic climate and come up with new ideas of how life can be made fairer for everyone in Tower Hamlets. I hope you’ll be excited by the Commission’s objectives and get involved.

Tower Hamlets and many areas like it are at a crossroads. A decade of considerable public investment has led to real improvements in the life chances of many residents but it remains a place of stark inequality. The current political and financial climate and a rapidly changing policy landscape mean that public services can no longer be delivered in the same way. Important questions are being asked about the responsibility of big business to society and the communities they’re based in. The borough’s population is growing and the demography changing. Technological advances are fundamentally changing the way organisations operate and the way people interact. Community and voluntary sector organisations, and individual residents themselves, might have the ideas for change but not necessarily the resources. Where do we go from here?

Today I will be launching the Tower Hamlets Fairness Commission, established by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, to start trying to answer this question and many others being asked at the moment.

  • What is fair and unfair about life Tower Hamlets at the moment?
  • What does the current debate about fairness mean for Tower Hamlets – a place of such stark income inequality?
  • How does the relationship between the public sector and residents change in a time of shrinking budgets?
  • How can businesses contribute and become closer connected to the communities in which they are based?
  • What more can we all do to make Tower Hamlets a fairer place?

To understand these issues and begin to answer such big questions, we will need your help, ideas and information.

The Commission is made up of 13 Commissioners drawn from business, local community organisations, research and social action groups. Between now and February 2013 we will gather evidence from a range of local, regional and national sources. We will publish our final report in Spring 2013.

Key to the success of the Commission is the involvement of as broad a range of people and organisations as possible - the people who live and work in Tower Hamlets, local community organisations, charities, businesses and faith organisations as well as public services and our political leaders. We need everyone to tell us what they think, share their experience and ideas and join in the fairness conversation. This will be done through a programme of engagement events around the borough, the public meetings of the Commission, social media and other communication channels and by people and organisations speaking out. We are beginning this process today with this call for evidence. We hope you’ll take up this invitation and get involved.

What do we want from you?

We want to build up a picture of fairness and equality, and what that means to local people, across three main themes, which can best be described with three big questions:

  • Who lives here and where do they live? What are local people's hopes and dreams for Tower Hamlets? (communities and housing)
  • Is Tower Hamlets rich or poor? (poverty, income, employment and the role of business in the community)
  • How can we look out for each other? (safety nets and mutual responsibility)

We really want to know what you think. What would your top 3 fairness questions be for Tower Hamlets? What are the big issues that need to be addressed by the Fairness Commission? Have you had conversations in your organisation, or done some research, on these issues which you could share with us? Do you have any of the answers, or ideas that we should consider? These could be completely new or something you’ve seen elsewhere. Do you have employees, members or service users with stories to tell who you think the Commissioners should hear from?

How to get involved

If you have views, ideas, stories, data or any other evidence you’d like to send us, please email to You can also tweet us using @thfairness or #tellgiles.