Report from the Assistant Chief Executive.
Consideration was given to the report which explained that the Council Plan 2022/2025 had set out that the Council’s ambition was to create an inclusive Borough for people to live, work and enjoy; a Borough where nobody was left behind and where all were welcome and treated fairly. The Equality, ... view the full minutes text for item 6
Cabinet Portfolio: - Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance
Strategic Directorate: Assistant Chief Executive
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance introduced the report explaining that the Council Plan has set out its ambition to create an inclusive borough for people to live, work and enjoy. A borough where no one was left behind, where all were welcomed and treated fairly, which became even more important in the face cost of living increases and the impact of Covid which had disadvantaged some groups. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy supports this ambition however considerable progress had already been made over recent years and each year the Council reported it’s progress on it’s equalities journey. This was last reviewed by OSMB in June 2021.
The Annual Report for 2021/22 set out the scene in terms of progress made and the next steps required along with including a series of case studies that indicated the real differences the Council had made. The Council had to publish its equality objectives setting out how it met it’s public sector equality duties however Council has decided to go further by producing a strategy that supports the Council Plan by looking at what has been committed to in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion. The action plan sets out the Council’s commitments to ensure that equality objectives are embedded in everything it does along with achieving the highest standards in equalities for local government. The objectives within the action plan had been widely consulted upon over a 5-week period. As a result of the consultation the objectives had been reshaped and aligned more directly with the equality framework.
The approach adopted reduces duplication and the action planning process would be repeated each year and reported through the normal processes.
It was a positive report however it was suggested that options within the consultation documents should include the option of non-binary and provide a wider range of options rather than just Mr and Mrs etc. It was noted that the Council could engage with more people who have that lived experience.
The number of objectives and achievements listed in the report were noted however it was queried how this matched against the public’s perception and experiences.
The peer review progress was noted and it was clarified that the timescales regarding this had changed due to Covid however it was felt that the Council should aim for excellence. The Assistant Chief Executive explained that the Council had a comprehensive action plan to work towards achieving excellent however the framework was changed around December with a view to received more evidenced outcome of impacts, such as the lived experience, rather than the organisations commitment to completing the objectives.
Members felt that the equality impact assessments completed as part of projects did not cover the full issues or indicate how the proposed changes would impact specific groups. The Assistant Chief Executive indicated there were pockets of best practice across the services where people really understood how best to present the information, how to assess the impacts and how to mitigate them ... view the full minutes text for item 51