Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard
Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard is a Policy and Research Manager at Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She attended a Women and Equalities Committee's evidence session on the Race Disparity Audit.
How were you contacted to give oral evidence?
I sent in a written submission on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) to the Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into the Government's Race Disparity Audit and think that I was contacted on the basis of some of the issues raised in that document.
I received an email from one of the Inquiry managers asking about my availability and I was happy to participate.
How did you prepare for the session?
I drew on the written submission I’d sent in earlier but also had a very helpful chat with one of the Inquiry Managers in order to find out more about the information Committee members would be interested in hearing from us. I also consulted other key colleagues in JRF as while I lead our work on ethnicity, education and child poverty , there were other areas I wanted to be able to draw on during the oral submission for example, knowing about the other sorts of datasets that colleagues use and what kind of ethnicity data would be useful for them.
How did you feel the session went?
I felt the session went well and that the Committee members asked interesting, quite searching questions to try to find out what we thought about the usefulness of the Race Disparity Audit.
There wasn’t a great deal of time to spend with the members so while I was able to get some of my main points across, there were a few others that I unfortunately wasn’t able to refer to.
Have you gained anything from the experience of giving evidence?
Yes. Making links with the Women and Equalities Select Committee is important for my work on race, ethnicity and poverty – I’m hopeful that I will be able to work with the Committee again with regards to our aim to address some of the enormous challenges that vulnerable groups from minority ethnic and migrant backgrounds face in the labour market and beyond and that they may be interested in our work going forward as we try to develop solutions to breaking the persistent link between poverty and ethnicity.
I think though that overall it was a useful session and making the recording available has meant that I’ve been able to share the discussion with others.
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