Addressing Roma, Gypsy and Traveller exclusion

Submitting Institution

University of Salford

Unit of Assessment

Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration, Sociology

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Summary of the impact

Addressing Roma, Gypsy and Traveller exclusion is focused on working in partnership with local authorities and Gypsy and Traveller communities to support improvements in the development of infrastructure to enhance wellbeing and quality of life for migrant and mobile groups, demonstrating the following impact:

  • Supporting Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities in enhancing their agency in respect of their accommodation and related needs;
  • Engaging stakeholders and communities to co-develop mutual understanding;
  • Developing the collaborative capacity of researchers to work with Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities;
  • Supporting public sector, private sector and third sector to address Roma, Gypsy and Traveller exclusion;
  • Reducing exclusion, improving community cohesion and improving life chances.

Underpinning research

The key researchers and positions they held at the institution at the time of the research are as follows: Dr Philip Brown, (from 2006) Director of the Salford Housing & Urban Studies Unit, Dr Lisa Scullion (from 2008), School of Environment & Life Sciences, (submitting to UoA22). Salford Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) is a leading multi- disciplinary applied social science research and consultancy unit in the fields of diversity and inclusion, sustainable consumption and fuel poverty, and community resources. The unit focuses on research which:

  • Shines a light on the lives of those most vulnerable in our society;
  • Helps to understand and navigate through complex social issues within the built and human environment; and
  • Informs evidence-based policy making.

The impact of this case study is underpinned by the following research:

  • Context: The legislative and policy shift relating to Gypsy-Traveller accommodation in England from 2004-2007 emerged from an acknowledgement that Gypsy-Travellers were often excluded from `mainstream' Housing Needs Assessments, conferring a duty on English local authorities to carry out specific Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs). Brown et al (2009) explored how evidence was created, made sense of, integrated and validated in order to achieve evidence-based planning policy. [1]
  • 2010: The communities which live under the generic terms of Gypsies, Travellers or Roma, remain some of the most excluded in the world. Increased research with Gypsy- Travellers in England has highlighted crucial issues to consider when researching groups which are often suspicious of the purpose of research. Based on a reflective process, Brown et al elucidate the complexities involved in working with Gypsy-Traveller communities in the research process, the conclusions of which include:
    • Researchers need to consider how broader disempowerment impacts upon the research process and how the research process can serve as an agent of community development and social justice.
    • `Doing research' with Gypsy-Traveller communities must be a responsible and adapted process in order for the experience and resulting findings to be meaningful for Gypsy-Traveller communities.
    • Methodological approaches need careful consideration in order to facilitate the most meaningful and ethical contact as possible. [2]
  • 2011: The linear technical-rational model in evidence-based decision making has been heavily criticised as theoretically, politically and practically inadequate. Brown et al concluded, however, in The evidence base for Gypsy and Traveller site planning: a story of complexity and tension, that by drawing upon:
    • An analysis of all available Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs;
    • Assessments and other documents indicating the number of pitches required for local authorities;
    • An analysis of the 2006-08 Caravan Count data;
    • A detailed questionnaire sent to all 354 local authorities in England, resulting in 185 responses:

    A technical-rational approach offers value in this field in coping with the many competing pressures involved complexity and tension. [5]

  • 2010-2013: The Roma SOURCE project involved 8 organisations from 6 European Member States. Migration Yorkshire (Leeds City Council) was lead partner. The partnership was made up of regional and local governments, Roma-led NGOs (non- governmental organisations), the University of Salford and a private sector training provider. Brown et al carried out research to consider:
    • Roma experiences of social inclusion/exclusion;
    • The extent to which Roma and majority communities lead integrated lives.
  • Fieldwork was conducted in six European Member States with Roma and non-Roma populations. The research offers important and unique insights into the experiences and expectations of both Roma and non-Roma people in respect of social exclusion, community relations, work and welfare. [10]
  • 2012: Historically, Travelling Showpeople have sought to distance themselves from the wider Gypsy and Traveller population, on the basis of their unique occupation and travelling patterns, but also based on a discourse around self-sufficiency. Brown et al explore how this distinction has been influenced by, and has influenced, policy developments relating to accommodation. It focuses on how this distinction has created a degree of exclusion in terms of accommodation needs, and the impact on the position of contemporary Travelling Showpeople. [6]

References to the research

Key outputs

1. Niner, P & Brown, P (2009), 'First steps towards regional planning for Gypsy and Traveller sites in England: Evidence based planning in practice', Town Planning Review, 80(6), pp.627-646. (DOI) (REF2)


2. Brown, P & Scullion, L (2010), `Doing research with Gypsy Travellers in England: reflections on experience and practice', Community Development Journal and Oxford University Press. (DOI) (REF2)


3. Brown, P., Niner, P. and Lomax, D. (2010) Assessing local authorities' progress in meeting the accommodation needs of Gypsy and Traveller communities in Scotland, Equality and Human Rights Commission.

4. Brown, P., Henning, S. and Niner, P (2010) Assessing local housing authorities' progress in meeting the accommodation needs of Gypsy and Traveller communities in England and Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission. ISBN 978 1 84206 332 3

5. Niner, P & Brown, P (2011), 'The evidence base for Gypsy and Traveller site planning: a story of complexity and tension', Evidence & Policy, 7(3), pp.359-377. (DOI) (REF2)


6. Scullion, L & Brown, P & Niner, P 2012, 'Accommodating Travelling Showpeople in England', Social Policy & Society, 11(2), pp.197-210. (DOI)


Key grants

7. 2013: Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme - Roma MATRIX EC (Non- Framework), £154.850 Principal Investigator: P Brown (75%). Co-Investigators: L Scullion (25%).

8. 2013: Health status of the Roma population in the EU and the monitoring of the data collection in the area of Roma health in Member States. EC (Non-Framework), £1,687.00. Principal Investigator: P Brown (100%).

9. 2012: JRCT National Roma research and network Joseph Rowntree Foundation, £23,023.00. Principal Investigator: P Brown (50%). Co-Investigator: L Scullion (50%).

10. 2010: Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme - Roma Source EC (Non- Framework), £74,719.00. Principal Investigator: P Dwyer (34%). Co-Investigators: P Brown (33%), L Scullion (33%).

Details of the impact

'We are one community - the Travellers and our settled neighbours. We've all got something in common: we want our children to be healthy and educated." Gloria Buckley MBE, Romany Gypsy and manager of three authorised sites. EHRC Report

  • Brown et al have been commissioned by local authorities to produce circa one third of all Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments (GTAAs) across England from 2006-2009 and GTAAs for around 20 local authorities from 2012-present. These studies offer estimations of the shortfall in culturally appropriate accommodation units for Gypsies and Travellers in particular localities. Following GTAAs, many local authorities have developed specific targets, embedded with local planning strategies (Local Plans), for the provision of accommodation for members of these communities.
  • As a result of this profile and expertise Brown was commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to assess the progress local authorities had made in meeting these identified needs. The findings were used to inform the report on progress on Gypsy and Traveller accommodation provision produced by central government. Following on from this particular study Brown was commissioned by the EHRC to produce a similar study in Scotland and an annual update study covering both England and Wales.
  • In 2006 Brown had been part of a team (with the Universities of Birmingham and Sheffield Hallam) commissioned by CLG to provide research input into developing good practice guidance for regional planning bodies (RPBs) when preparing reviews of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs) in respect of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs. Since 2008 the guide had influenced local authority policies providing the framework for Gypsy and Traveller provision. In response, however, to the localism and decentralisation agenda, which moved away from regional spatial strategies, and calling on Brown et al's update to the EHRC on local authority progress, the Commons Select Committee - the
  • Communities and Local Government Committee recommended a simplified and centralised national approach to the provision of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation: "There is strong evidence that a localism and decentralisation agenda is limited in its capacity to identify and provide accommodation for the Gypsy and Traveller communities. A simplified and centralised national approach to the provision of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation is essential to overcoming the discrimination Gypsies and Travellers face. The pursuit of a decentralisation and localism agenda - in relation to Gypsy and Traveller accommodation provision - will more than likely lead to an increase in local authorities' expenditure on evictions of Gypsy and Traveller communities. Strong evidence from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and local authorities has shown that once proper Gypsy and Traveller sites are provided, conflict and tension between local settled communities and Gypsies and Travellers is significantly reduced, leading to greater community cohesion." Commons Select Committee Localism - Communities and Local Government Committee June 2011
  • The Homes and Communities Agency's central coordination of site provision through the delivery of the Gypsy and Traveller Sites Grant Programme has seen £16.3m invested in 26 schemes across the country providing 88 new or additional pitches and 179 improved pitches: "Authorised travellers' sites can provide the basis for local authorities to tackle the inequalities experienced by travellers. Increased authorised provision will reduce the number of unauthorised sites and the tensions they can create between travellers and the settled community and reduce the need for costly enforcement action." HCA website
  • Building on their work with UK Gypsies and Travellers (who are seen as `Roma' within a definition from the Council of Europe) Brown et al were invited to be partners on the Roma SOURCE project, which ran between 2011 and 2013. Roma SOURCE explored the social exclusion and community relations of Roma and non Roma in six EU Member States. In partnership with a number of public sector partners Roma SOURCE has combatted discrimination and exclusion of Roma, and improved understanding between Roma and mainstream communities. Based on an evaluation of the Roma SOURCE project there is tangible progression in inclusion of Roma in a number of local areas, greater understanding and demonstrable policy change. The effects of the project went beyond the partner organisations, leaving a legacy of integration. Work on Roma inclusion will continue through Roma MATRIX (running from 2013-2015), a new project with 19 partners in 10 European Member States.
  • Brown et al are also leading pioneering work funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust which aims to enumerate the migrant Roma population in the UK. This work has been cited in policy documents from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as follows "UK efforts to combat the marginalisation of the Roma communities have both a domestic and an international dimension. We seek to share our experience of integration and at the same time to reduce the push factors that force communities which are discriminated against to come to the UK. The Department for Communities and Local Government, which is a member of the network, reports to the European Commission on its activities and on the situation of the Roma community in the UK more widely. The University of Salford is due to issue a report in 2013 which will provide the most accurate picture to date on the number and distribution of the Roma in the UK".

Sources to corroborate the impact

a) Equalities Office, Salford City Council (2011): We asked SHUSU to undertake engagement with three BME communities on a hitherto unprecedented scale, and investigate a wide range of complex subjects from housing to employment. The information that SHUSU collected has enabled us to establish a firm baseline in a number of key service areas, and will allow us to target our resources much better in the future."

b) Planning Policy Manager, Sevenoaks District Council (2012): "The willingness of the team to engage with emerging Gypsy and Traveller policy issues and carry out a robust study that met the requirements of the brief was welcomed. The survey work achieved what we consider to be an excellent response rate. The involvement of community interviewers and the work and guidance of the SHUSU staff, are considered to have been significant reasons for this."

c) Findings from the external evaluation of the Roma SOURCE project relating to the University of Salford (Brown et al) team (2013): According to the Valencia partner: "For us the research has been really impressive. Having this level of insight and analysis of the situation is really useful, especially in this time of crisis when we do not have the resources for analytical actions. Now from the project we have a real and very strong analysis. We will disseminate this information to other branches of the regional administration and to the ministry".

d) From the evaluator's report: "A highlight of the Project that had a very positive local impact was the visit of the Salford University team to the village to carry out focus group research. As one of the local team recalled, "In the life of a small village this is a very big thing - the people feel others are interested and that something is really happening." The Association will continue to use the research beyond the life of the project."

e) e) Assessing local housing authorities' progress in meeting the accommodation needs of Gypsy and Traveller communities in England, Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009

f) f) Assessing local authorities' progress in meeting the accommodation needs of Gypsy and Traveller communities in England and Wales: 2010 update, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Research report 68

g) Commons Select Committee Localism - Communities and Local Government Committee June 2011

h) Human Rights and Democracy, The 2012 Commonwealth Report, p.70

i) The Limits of Inclusion? Exploring the Lives of Roma and Non Roma in six European Union Member States," ROMA Source 2013