Riots Communities and Victims Panel

Listening, learning and understanding

Riots Communities and Victims Panel publishes final report

‘After the riots we must give everyone a stake in society’.

Riots Communities and Victims Panel calls for wide-ranging reforms to prevent future disorder

The independent Panel set up to explore the causes of the riots in England last year has presented its final report to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Official Opposition.

The report makes wide-ranging public policy recommendations which the Panel argue must be enacted together, to ensure the risk of future riots seen on the scale of last August can be significantly reduced.

The cross party Panel’s findings are based on research in communities, and consultation with third sector organisations and social enterprises, local authorities, and private sector employers.

Many people the Panel spoke to shared a concern about a lack of opportunities for young people, poor parenting, a lack of shared values and sense of responsibility among some, an inability of the justice system to prevent re-offending, concerns about brands and materialism and issues relating to confidence in the police.

The wide ranging issues and recommendations tackled in the Panel-s final report include:

  • Families aren’t getting the support they need. The Panel supports the Government’s Troubled Families Programme, but found that the overlap with rioters is limited. Government and local public services should develop a strategy incorporating the principles of the Troubled Families Programme to help 500,000 ‘forgotten families’ turn their lives around.
     
  • Communities told the Panel that young people need to build character to help them realise their potential and to prevent them making poor decisions, like rioting. Schools should assume responsibility for helping children build character.
     
  • Children are leaving school unable to read and write – one fifth of school leavers have the literacy skills of an eleven year old, or younger. Where schools fail to teach children to read and write they should pay a financial penalty, used to help the pupil ‘catch up’.
     
  • Communities and young people told the Panel that having a job is key to people feeling that they have a stake in society. Government and local public services should fund together a ‘Youth Job Promise’ scheme to get young people a job, when they have been unemployed for a year.

Darra Singh Chair of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel said:

“We must give everyone a stake in society. There are people ‘bumping along the bottom’, unable to change their lives. When people don’t feel they have a reason to stay out of trouble, the consequences for communities can be devastating – as we saw last August.
 
“The causes of the riots were complex and there is not one thing that will prevent them from happening again. But enacted together, our recommendations address the underlying reasons why up to 15,000 people across the country became involved in some of the most significant disturbances we have seen.
 
“We urge Party Leaders to consider the importance of all of our recommendations. Should disturbances happen again, victims and communities will ask our Leaders why we failed to respond effectively in 2012.”

The full press notice can be read here: Press notice – After the riots we must give everyone a stake in society.