What is the Fairness Commission?

The Fairness Commission was launched in July 2011 as an independent advisory body to City of York Council on ways to increase fairness and reduce inequality in York.  

Archbishop of York's launch speech and  Cllr James Alexander speaking on the BBC 

The Council and the Commission agreed Terms of Reference saying what they would do.

Vision Statement

The York Fairness Commission was set up to look into how to make the city a fairer and more equal place to live and work.  Its aim was to set forward a vision for York that could inform, influence and inspire the Council and others, including the public and local employers, to lead by example and work for change that will improve the quality of life in York for us all.

The Commission’s focus was on social and economic inequalities of income, education and occupation that create divides between citizens, and which are harmful to everybody’s health and wellbeing.  The Commission recognized that some groups suffer particular discrimination, prejudice and limited opportunities, including young people, elderly people, women, ethnic minorities and those living with disabilities.  These inequalities are magnified by the social and economic inequalities, which are the primary focus of the Commission’s work.

What did the Fairness Commission do? 

The Commission listened to groups and individuals, gathering written evidence through invited submissions and engagement in public meetings, and debated issues such as health, housing, family, community, social care, education, skills and training, employment, crime and safety, democracy, sustainability, environment and economy. 

Phase 1 from July to November 2011 included:

  • a multi-channel open public consultation with residents and groups about  inequality issues in the city
  • an analysis of independent research evidence about inequality in the city 
  • a review of City of York Council’s budget, strategies and priorities

This work resulted in the publication of the Commission’s Interim report: A Fairer York, a Better York on 28th November 2011. It contained 10 Fairness Principles and 30 Recommendations to help City of York Council make its budget decisions in a way which would be fair and protect services for vulnerable people.

Phase 2 from January to September 2012 looked at how all the key partners in the city could work together with residents to adopt the Fairness Principles and make York a fairer place. 

This second phase of work focused on a series of themed 'select committee' style meetings that took place in March and April 2012.  The themes chosen reflected the most significant areas that emerged from the first phase of work:

  1. Health and wellbeing
  2. Incomes, economy and jobs
  3. Education and training
  4. Housing and homelessness
  5. Communities of Interest
  6. Community / volunteering

To find out more about the evidence presented and what was said in these meetings follow the Themes link.

The Commission’s final report A better York for everyone bringing together all their findings was published in September 2012 and presented to the Leader of City of York Council.

Ruth Redfern, John Kennedy, John Lister, Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson talk about the report findings on inequality.

The Archbishop of York, the Commissioners and Cllr James Alexander speak at the final report publication event on 27th September 2012.

Next Steps

City of York Council is leading the response to the Commission’s recommendations in the city. The Council’s response is published with our reports on this website.  







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York Fairness Commission

What the Commission is doing now

The Commission formally completed its work in September 2012 with the publication of its final report: A better York for everyone. City of York Council has taken lead responsibility for delivering our recommendations.

York Fairness Commission