A WIDE-RANGING series of consultations is being held across York in a bid to improve the lives of gipsies and travellers.

The exercise will look at issues including education, health, accommodation, policing and justice from the point of view of people in the traveller community.

City of York Council has launched the consultations with the community, professional partners and the wider public, to aid work “to improve opportunities and outcomes for this significant and distinct ethnic group”.

The authority has carried out research with the above groups, using evidence from the Equality and Human Rights Commission report 2009, in addition to the findings of the council-driven Fairness Commission, the joint strategic needs assessment and its health and wellbeing strategy.

The research indicates the community’s most pressing needs are to improve:

• the educational outcomes of gipsy Roma and traveller children and young people

• the health and wellbeing of gipsies and travellers

• the standards and supply of accommodation

• the policing and the criminal justice system

• access to employment and financial inclusion services

• the development of partnerships and customer-focused services.

The consultation will seek to confirm these priorities and ask how best to address them in the light of the council’s recently-launched equality scheme.

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, the council’s cabinet member for health, housing and adult social care, said: “Working in partnership with all agencies and communities will help us improve lifelong outcomes and opportunities for York’s gipsies and travellers using a co-ordinated approach.” She urged everyone to contribute constructively to the consultation.

To participate, go to the consultation for gipsies, travellers and the wider public at york.gov.uk/consultation/ and respond before January 11.