Equality and diversity
Equality Action Plan
We are committed to positively promoting equality of opportunity and valuing diversity.
The Equality Advisory Service is a free helpline advising ans assisting individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales.
Equality Impact Assessments
Equality Impact Assessment is the general term used for the documented evidence collected by the Council when it is assessing that 'due regard' has been given to the three aims of the duty, when exercising its' functions, policies or decision making in respect of the protected characteristics.
Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on 'public authorities' and other bodies when exercising public functions to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
The Act sets out nine protected characteristics:
- sexual orientation-
- gender reassignment
- religion or belief
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
Bodies subject to the duty must have due regard to each of the three aims set out in the general equality duty in exercising their functions.
To 'have due regard' means that in making decisions and in its other day-to-day activities a body subject to the duty must consciously consider the need to do the things set out in the general equality duty: eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
Compliance with the duty should enable the Council to have:
- better-informed decision making and policy development
- a clearer understanding of the needs of service users, resulting in better quality services which meet varied needs
- more effective targeting of policy, resources and the use of regulatory powers
- better results and greater confidence in, and satisfaction with, public services
- a more effective use of talent in the workforce
- a reduction in instances of discrimination and resulting claims.
Technical guidance (1 MB) has been issued from the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (January 2013), to help further explain this.
The Council continues to assess its functions and policies in a proportionate manor when relative to the Duty and documents all evidence of decision making in accordance with the new guidance.
Impact assessments give us an opportunity to:
- Consult with our customers
- Improve access and remove any barriers to opportunities
- Make sure that equality is considered in all the policies and services we develop or decisions we make.
- Develop action plans to improve services
- Document best practice and the things we do well
- Provide audit trails and evidence of how decisions were reached.
How do we carry out an equality impact assessment?
- We identify who should be involved – a small group which can include partner organisations and service users, as well as departmental staff.
- These individuals must have a good knowledge of equality and inclusion and the subject being assessed.
- The group research the impact the new initiative may have on any of the protected characteristics and considers other areas that can often lead to discrimination such as poor literacy/numeracy, unemployment, low income and caring responsibilities.
- This information is recorded on an assessment form.
- The form is sent to the Equality and Inclusion Steering Group for approval.
- Once approved the findings of the Executive Summary are used to inform decisions and any action plans are monitored for implementation progress.