Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University are working together to support the Fairness Commission, which met for the first time in October 2011. The Council provides all administrative support for the meetings of the Commission, as well as staff time to support the gathering of evidence needed to feed into the process.
There have been two further full meetings of the Commission in December 2011 and March 2012. To date it has developed a strong set of 'principles of fairness' and agreed to take its work forward through four working groups:
- citizenship and fairness working group is looking at the possibility of developing a ‘civic contract’ for Newcastle
- public attitudes to fairness working group will make recommendations about how we can promote consensus and deal with conflict around fairness in decision making and the allocation of resources
- wealth and income working group is examining the potential and challenges for economic growth in Newcastle and the implications for fairness and bring the views of the private sector into the work of the Commission
- fairness in public services working group will identify specific examples of how local powers, duties, levers and resources could be used to secure fairer outcomes for citizens through the delivery of public services
The working groups expect to meet around four times before the end of May 2012. They will draw on existing data and information held by the City Council as well as considering evidence from stakeholders and expert witnesses. They will also look at the work and findings of Fairness Commissions held in other cities, including Islington and York. Newcastle City Councillors are also participating in the working groups.
On 11 January 2012, we held two ‘Let’s Talk Newcastle’ focus groups with local stakeholders that looked at definitions and experiences of fairness and how we might apply the concept to the big issues facing the city. On the same day, an open meeting of the Newcastle City Council Policy Cabinet discussed ‘Creating a Fairer City.’ The working groups are drawing on the information gathered at these events.
The commission will use the working group conclusions and recommendations in its final report to the City Council in early summer 2012. You can download copies of all of the Fairness Commission papers.