The Director of Health and Community presented the above report, previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was to seek Members’ approval for the procurement of a supplier to design and deliver the Post Primary Anti-Prejudice Initiative which is included in the bid to The Executive Office (TEO) which was approved at Committee on 14 March 2019.
Councillor Farrell stated that in his opinion, people were not born sectarian, racist or homophobic and those were traits that were developed over time. He stated that early intervention and education were the key to prevention and that SDLP were fully supportive any programme that worked towards the promotion of a more tolerant society. He noted that post-primary year 3 students would be participating in the programme and that the report had stated that the programme had been amended and evolved over time. He asked for feedback on any similar programmes that had been delivered throughout the City and District.
In response, the Director of Health and Community stated that she would look at the evaluation of previous initiatives that had taken place throughout post-primary schools and provide Members with the required information.
Councillor Mellon welcomed that report and stated that it was refreshing that those particular issues were still continuing to be challenged. She enquired if the programme was scheduled during school hours. She referred to the lack of integrated schools throughout the City and District and enquired how those particular groups would be brought together. She further stated that, in her opinion, when programmes such as this were developed to tackle issues such as racism and sectarianism, from a youth workers perspective, she found that it had created more division by attempting to categorise them into a particular background and religion.
In response the Director of Health and Community advised that those wishing to become involved would be responsible for the design the programme. She advised that officers had significant experience in working with those particular groups. She agreed that in taking such projects forward there should be innovative gateways to allow schools to work together. She added that she would forward Members’ comments and feedback to officers involved in the design of the forthcoming programme.
Councillor Mellon thanked the Director for her response and asked if the strategy was already prepared or would it be a completely new design.
In response the Director of Health and Community advised that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) would have to show evidence of delivery against those indicators. She agreed that more creativity was required in terms of ensuring that delivery was about demand and how those issues were addressed as opposed to being focused on KPI’s.
Recommended That Members approve procurement of a service provider to design and deliver the Post Primary Anti-Prejudice Initiative