In 1964, the Commonwealth Immigrants Advisory Council (CIAC), which had advised the Home Secretary on matters relating to the welfare of Commonwealth immigrants since 1962, recommended that an advisory officer be appointed to collect and circulate information and to advise local authorities and other bodies which had hitherto worked quite independently.
The National Advisory Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants (NACCI) was established in March 1964, with representatives of the CIAC, the National Council of Social Service and the Institute of Race Relations, to appoint and supervise the advisory officer. Miss Nadine Peppard was appointed to this post in April 1964. Her work included the encouragement of the establishment of voluntary liaison committees in areas where immigrants had settled, which received both local and central funding. The main areas of activity were the dissemination of information, welfare, public relations and the fight against discrimination.
The 1965 White Paper Immigration from the Commonwealth (Cmnd 2739) was developed at the short-lived department for Integration of Commonwealth Immigrants in the Department of Economic Affairs. It proposed the replacement of both the Commonwealth Immigrants Advisory Council and the National Advisory Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants by a National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants (NCCI). The new committee was established in September with the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman, and the aims of promoting goodwill and of integrating Commonwealth immigrants into the community. It was not its brief, however, to enquire into cases of discrimination which was the duty of the new Race Relations Board. The voluntary liaison committees continued to work locally with the support of the National Committee which provided information, training and research. It also became the channel for government grants to help finance full time liaison officers who acted as the professional agents of the voluntary committees.
Following the White paper the Race Relations Act 1965 made it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of race or colour in any place of public resort such as hotels and cinemas. It was also unlawful to select a tenant for a property on racial or colour grounds unless facilities in the property were to be shared with the landlord. The prohibition of discrimination was extended to the supply of goods and facilities, membership of trades unions and similar organisations, employment, and the purchase of housing and business premises.
The Act also created a new criminal offence of incitement to racial hatred by inflammatory publications or speeches, for which offenders could be prosecuted under the Public Order Act 1936.
The Race Relations Act 1968 replaced the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants with a new Community Relations Commission.
The Race Relations Act of 1976 (section 43) defined the establishment and duties of a Commission for Racial Equality, which assumed its statutory responsibilities in June 1977. The Act gave to a single body the work previously carried out separately by the Community Relations Commission and the Race Relations Board. The Commission consists of between eight and fifteen full or part time members. Its duties are to work towards the elimination of racial discrimination, to promote equal opportunities and good relations between racial groups and to propose amendments to the Act as they become necessary. The definitions of racial discrimination and of offences based on it were widened considerably by the Act, but the role of the Commission in pursuing prosecutions was made less extensive than that of the Race Relations Board had been.