Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the Blackpool Fairness Commission?

The Commission will be made up of people representing a range of organisations working in Blackpool, and will look at ways of making Blackpool fairer for everyone.

Who will be part of the Commission?

Anyone who lives or works in Blackpool can be a part of the commission.

There are two main types of role within the Commission:

Commissioners – We expect there to be 40-60 Commissioners, although there is no upper limit. Commissioners will meet on a regular basis to discuss key fairness issues, with meeting times and frequency to be set to ensure every commissioner has an opportunity to attend as many meetings as possible. Commissioners will hear evidence from local people and will review key sources of data on fairness. Working together, they will produce an annual report containing recommendations to improve the quality of life for everyone in the town.

You can apply to be a Commissioner by filling in an application form. The main requirement is that commissioners are part of a business, voluntary/community group, or public sector organisation working in Blackpool – and are able to commit to implementing or promoting the recommendations of the Fairness Commission within these organisations.

You can fill in an application form by obtaining a printed form. Please email fairness@blackpool.gov.uk or call 01253 477477.

If large numbers apply to be Commissioners, a small executive to make the process more manageable, may be formed. Details of this will be made available to commissioners if this is required.

Members– Membership of the Commission is open to anyone who lives or works in Blackpool. Being a member of the Commission means you can participate as much or as little as you wish. They may get involved in surveys, consultation activities, attending fairness meetings or themed events. However, members could just follow the progress on the Commission online, contributing their views through message boards, Twitter, Facebook or email.

There are no other requirements, but we’d really like members to talk to people they know about fairness and what could be done to make things fairer. More information about how to become a member of the commission will be uploaded onto the website in the next few months. however, if you are keen to show your interest and which to be kept up to date of progress in the meantime email fairness@blackpool.gov.uk

When can I join the Commission?

Anyone can apply to be a Commissioner or join as a member at any time.

Who is setting up the Commission?

Blackpool Council has established the Commission, with the intention of involving as many local people, groups and organisations as possible. We believe that the more people and groups which are involved the better the recommendations and decisions will be. In choosing this model, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Simon Blackburn, has taken advice from Professor Richard Wilkinson about how the approach could work in Blackpool. Professor Wilkinson co-authored a book, The Spirit Level, which has inspired the work of other Commissions set up in Islington, Oxford, York, Nottingham and Liverpool. Professor Wilkinson himself co-chaired the Islington Fairness Commission.

Why is it being set up?

Academic research suggests that differences in income levels between people leads to everyone experiencing more social issues. Blackpool is the 6th most deprived borough in theUK, and some parts ofBlackpool are more deprived than others. So, the Commission will consider ways of reducing income inequality. At the same time, it will address other social inequalities – this might include the health problems people have, or children achieving less at school.

But with all the funding cuts going on, how is this going to make a difference?

It’s true that a lot of the things which could make a difference require help and money from central government. But part of the Commission’s work is about “leading by example”, and making sure we’re doing all we can to make Blackpool a fairer place. The Commission will identify radical but practical ways of reducing inequality in Blackpool. Once it’s done this, it will make a series of recommendations to be adopted by those taking part, and then support organisations to do something about them. It will also lobby the government about issues we can’t overcome locally.

What will the Commission do?

It will:

  • Listen to the views of the residents and organisations on what is fair and unfair
  • Look at evidence on the main things which are unequal
  • Agree recommendations / actions for those participating in the Commission to take back to their organisations.

When will it start work?

There is lots of work for the Commission to do so we want to get started as soon as possible. Appointing the Commissioners is the first important part of this process. The Commission is likely to be formed and hold its first discussions in May 2012.

Are its meetings open to the public?

The Commission will hold public meetings, as part of its approach to involving as many people in the process as possible.

How will this be any different from what the Council and its partners are doing anyway?

It’s a new way of working for the Council, where we try to influence groups, individuals and organisations to take joint action to address fairness for themselves. The Commission will make sure that actions to address the inequalities between groups of people and different areas are considered before everything else. This means that our work will fit with everyone’s individual needs better, and contribute to a more equal society.

How will the Commission know what to do to make things more equal?

The Commission will base its work on evidence from communities and experts.

Can residents give evidence to the Blackpool Fairness Commission?

Yes – this is at the heart of the Fairness Commission process and is essential if it is to make a real difference.

The Commission will need to make sure that ‘hidden voices’ are listened to – not just those who shout the loudest – so we can improve the lives of everyone inBlackpool.

There will be a range of ways for individuals and organisations to submit their views and evidence on the issues which need to be addressed. More information on this will be available once the Commission has been established.

What will happen with its findings – how will it make a difference?

The Commission will consider the evidence, and issue annual reports making recommendations and describing the progress which has been made. Part of the criteria for joining the Commission will involve demonstrating a commitment to implementing the Commissions’ recommendations. Implementing the recommendations will make sure fairness is central to the work of any organisations taking part.

What kinds of things might it suggest?

The Islington Fairness Commission made suggestions such as:

  • Major employers to publish the difference between their most and least paid staff
  • Employers should take legitimate positive action to ensure local people have the best chance of getting jobs in the area
  • The establishment of a community collaboration to improve literacy
  • The establishment of a single contact number to report Anti Social Behaviour

These were identified as issues which were particularly important in Islington. By involving local people and organisations and seeking their views, the Blackpool Fairness Commission hopes to get suggestions which are directly relevant toBlackpool.

How can I find out more?

We are in the process of developing a range of different ways in which members of the public, Commissioners and Members of the Commission can contact and share their views. In the meantime, you can send your views or request more information by emailing fairness@blackpool.gov.uk

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