BRADICAL was originally an acronym for Birmingham Race Discrimination Casework Agency Ltd. It began life at a meeting in July 1998 at the offices of the Commission for Racial Equality in Alpha Tower, Birmingham. After years as an unincorporated association, it became “BRADICAL Community Interest Company” in 2011 and then a charity, “BRADICAL Employment Rights CIO” in April 2016.
The initial meeting in 1998 was attended by representatives of various ethnic minority and community organisations, Aston Legal Centre, CAB, West Midlands Low Pay Unit, the TUC Centre and UNISON. While the CRE’s office in Birmingham provided a casework service for the Midlands and Wales, it was recognised that they could only deal with 120 of the estimated 350 race discrimination cases occurring in the city every year. (Birmingham Race Equality Council also handled a small number of cases). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to provide representation for more victims of race discrimination. A steering group was set up, including Karl Damian, Jim Denham, Usha Khera, Andrew Lee and Keith Morrison.
Plans were made to obtain funds to support a caseworker but these did not materialise. However, Northern Complainant Aid Federation with funding from the CRE provided an advice service on race discrimination from 2000 to 2003 from an office on Villa Rd, Handsworth.
Later in 2003 BRADICAL set up a weekly advice surgery on Thursday afternoons at the offices of the Sikh Community and Youth Service (SCYS) on Soho Rd, Handsworth. Various people offered to help as volunteers, BCU supplied law students and SCYS provided free office space and insurance cover. It soon became clear that clients needed advice on other aspects of discrimination: it was also common for cases to involve unfair dismissal or unpaid wages. BRADICAL therefore adapted to meet these needs. Settlements and awards for one year came to £190,000
In 2011 Birmingham CAB approached BRADICAL for assistance with employment enquiries and a regular session was held at the CAB offices on Corporation St on Wednesday afternoons. Volunteer advisors included David Rahanu, Gurpreet Rheel, Charanjit Lyall and Andrew Lee
In 2012 Birmingham Law Centre asked for assistance with 10 live cases after the departure of a caseworker. Sandwell REC also requested help with advocacy. Around this time, BRADICAL managed to obtain enough funding to employ David Rahanu for a few months as a casework supervisor. He further developed the service, adding another session at the CAB. Gurpreet Rheel, Kaust Raman, Richard Evans and Daniel Godfrey all took on the supervisory role for periods of 4 to 6 months, as funding allowed.
BRADICAL has become established as one of the two agencies in Birmingham which handle a range of employment problems from an initial grievance letter to a 7-day Employment Tribunal hearing.