Institute for Social Renewal

Fairness Commission

Newcastle Fairness Commission

The Newcastle Fairness Commission was set up by Newcastle City Council in summer 2011.


Fairness Commission Final Report

The Fairness Commission Final Report is now available.

What is the Fairness Commission and why do we need it?

The Council asked how they could take fair decisions about planning and resource allocation in times of austerity, knowing that they would face budget cuts and diminished resources overall, but concerned about inequalities in Newcastle society.

This work takes place in a context of long-standing inequalities and persistent poverty within the city - factors which are likely to be exacerbated by current economic conditions. Poverty damages health, wellbeing and life chances and disparities breed resentment and mistrust. For example we know that:

  • compared with those in the richest areas, women and men in the poorest areas of Newcastle die younger and live a larger proportion of their shorter lives with a disability. There is a difference of some 12.6 years in male life expectancy between South Gosforth and Byker
  • almost one in three children in Newcastle, and over half of the children living in Westgate, Walker, Byker and Elswick, are classed as living in poverty. Also students who receive free school meals and those who live in the most deprived neighbourhoods are less likely to stay on at school beyond year 11.

What does the Fairness Commission do?

The remit of the Fairness Commission is:

  • to set out a strong set of principles about how the concept of fairness can be given practical effect in Newcastle - securing broad endorsement from across the city
  • critically to assess evidence of the degree of fairness, cohesion and equality within Newcastle - informing, and making use of, the proposed Newcastle Future Needs Assessment.
  • identify the critical policies and social contract that would need to be put in place to create and secure a fairer city, and to challenge us all to implement them

Who are the fairness commissioners?

‌The Fairness Commission consists of 18 people drawn from a range of sectors of civil society, such as charities, foundations, health, education, faith groups and business. Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, chairs the commission. See the full list of commission members.

Are the commissioners being paid?

All of the commissioners give their time free of charge.

When will the Fairness Commission complete its work?

Find out more about our process and timescale.

Have other people been involved?

The Fairness Commission is using 'Lets Talk Newcastle' to involve and consult with the city’s people and communities. There have already been a number of Let’s Talk events including a high profile 'Thinkabout' policy cabinet.