Swindon Borough Council Equality & Diversity Strategy. Agreed at Cabinet 14 th April Introduction

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1 Swindon Borough Council Equality & Diversity Strategy Agreed at Cabinet 14 th April 2010 Introduction Swindon Borough Council wishes to be recognised as a leading public authority in the way it promotes equality & diversity. This can only be achieved through truly embedding an understanding of good equality and diversity practice through all our work with and for the people of Swindon Borough. This document sets out an Equality & Diversity vision for Swindon Borough, followed by a strategy identifying key objectives and outcomes, which will deliver the vision. The outcomes reflect current practice, statutory or legal requirements. As an employer of choice and service provider for the whole of Swindon Borough, we want these to be our minimum practice a foundation on which we will build better delivery. The method of achieving this delivery is by setting an expectation that specific existing and developing functions, policies and processes will clearly demonstrate implementation of the Equality & Diversity vision, and that this will be monitored. The strategies and policies listed in this document are identified as key to the success of mainstreaming the best practice we desire, however all aspects of Council work are required to demonstrate a realisation of the vision. This process of mainstreaming will ensure that responsibility for good equality practice is identified, understood and delivered throughout the Council. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 1 of 7

2 Equality & Diversity Vision Swindon Borough will be a place which protects and promotes equality and diversity through Opportunity Access Fair treatment whilst understanding and reducing the costs of inequality for Swindon s diverse population. So that everyone can flourish, Swindon will be an equal society which recognises and respects people s different needs, situations and goals, establishing real freedom by removing the barriers that limit what people can do and can be. We believe that Swindon Borough Council is in a position to influence significant change which will meet this vision through our role as a community leader, service provider and employer. Swindon Borough Council is committed to equality of opportunity for the whole community and believes that the diversity of the community can be a major strength which contributes to the social and economic prosperity of the area. The Council commits to ensure that no resident of, or visitor to the area, job applicant, employee or other person associated with the Council is treated inequitably or in an unlawful or unjustifiably discriminatory manner. We will base decisions about the development and deployment of our services on up to date knowledge of the diversity of our local communities, ensuring that services are accessible to the people who we know need them. The Council recognises, and will challenge practice, where people may experience discrimination and less favourable treatment or privilege. This includes in the areas of age, disability, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, gender or marital status, gender identity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, and financial or economic status, homelessness or lack of a fixed address, political view or trade union activity (Equality groups). The Council welcomes the statutory equality duties to prevent discrimination, promote equal opportunity, eliminate harassment, promote good relationships between different communities and encourage participation in public life. We will use our equality duties as a minimum standard to achieve our vision and will also develop best practice in all service areas to ensure delivery of our vision. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 1 of 7

3 Strategy Who is this strategy for? The strategy is for everyone who uses or delivers services, facilities and information provided by or on behalf of the Council. This includes service users/customers, members of the public, partners, contractors, employees and elected members. Responsibilities Members will be supported and expected to positively promote and lead the delivery of this strategy, in keeping with the Member s code of conduct. All staff will be supported and expected to positively promote the delivery of this strategy, in keeping with the Council s code of conduct. Managers must ensure that staff are aware of the strategy and are trained to meets its requirements. The Chief Executive has overall responsibility to ensure this strategy is consistently applied. Contractors, suppliers, consultants must comply with current equality legislation to ensure the Council is able to deliver its statutory equality duties. Objectives To deliver this vision, Swindon Borough Council has developed objectives in three key areas: A. Community understanding and leadership: we will understand local communities, their needs and the costs of inequality. B. Responsive services and customer care: we will use the knowledge of our communities to make sure our services are accessible, relevant and able to identify and where appropriate, meet individual needs. C. A modern and diverse workforce: we will make sure our staff are treated fairly and are able to work with and respond appropriately to all our customers. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 2 of 7

4 Objective A. Community understanding and leadership: we will understand local communities, their needs and the costs of inequality. Key delivery through: SSP/LAA2, Cluster Agreements, Connecting People Connecting Places; Sustainable Community Strategy; Swindon Equality Scheme; Community Cohesion strategy; Children & Young People s Plan; Promise 6; Equality Framework for Local Government. Outcomes: Specific delivery by: A1. The Equality and Diversity vision is recognised and included as a key theme in our partnership working, strategies and delivery. A2. The Council s equality duties are a minimum standard in all our work. A3. Local people are able to influence decisions which affect them. Council decision-making, scrutiny and consultation processes are clearly established, publicised and accessible to all members of Swindon communities. A4. Our comprehensive knowledge of the changing diversity of Swindon communities, their needs and how they experience life in the Borough is understood and regularly updated. A5. An understanding of the various costs of inequality on the lives of the people of Swindon Borough is used to influence a reduction in those costs. A6. No equality group or individual is unjustifiably disadvantaged by the way we deliver our functions and services. A7. Encourage all members of our diverse communities to realise their potential and take opportunities to participate in public life, employment and community activity. Swindon Compact; Overview & Scrutiny programme (including EAF and Coalitions); Community engagement; decision making processes. Committee reports; Diversity Impact Assessments; Great Place to Work; Procurement gateway; Customer service strategy, New Ways of Working. Constitution; Electoral Services; Committee reports; Planning; Community consultation guidance; Overview & Scrutiny programme (including EAF and Coalitions); Communications strategy. Connecting People Connecting Places Swindon Intelligence Network Cluster Profiles, Place Survey; Complaints process/ Customer satisfaction surveys; Diversity Impact Assessments. Commissioned research; Hearing the experience of staff; Hearing the experience of customers; Swindon Intelligence Network Cluster Profiles, Cluster engagement Diversity Impact Assessment; Complaints process; Local Performance Indicators Apprenticeship and work placement schemes; Volunteering; Adult Learning; Political processes; Children services, Care management Process. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 3 of 7

5 Objective B. Responsive services and customer care: we will use the understanding of our communities to make sure our services are accessible, relevant and able to identify and where appropriate meet individual needs. Key delivery through: Customer Service Strategy; Channel Migration policy; Swindon Equality Scheme; Sustainable Community Strategy; Customer satisfaction/complaints process; Equality Framework for Local Government; Local Transport Plan; Client/Contractor Protocol, Swindon Strategic Partnership; Housing strategy. Outcomes: Specific delivery by B1. The purchase and delivery of goods, services and facilities; Procurement Strategy/gateway; Grant process; Volunteer partnership development; commissioning; grant funding and agreements; Diversity Impact Assessments; Fair Access to Care contracting are undertaken in a manner which supports and Services. ensures continuation of our equality duties and vision. B2. All service development is informed by a clear understanding of the diversity profile and experience of people using Council services and the local population. B3. All services will be provided accessibly. We will identify and will work to remove barriers to accessing Council s services. B4. All service delivery is responsive to the changing and diverse needs existing within the community, ensuring service users receive equitable treatment. B5. Complaints about services are dealt with promptly and are monitored by equality category to ensure no unfair service delivery. Area diversity profile annual update Swindon Intelligence Network; Monitoring policy/guidance and implementation programme; Children & Young People s Plan; Adult Care procedures, including Care Management Procedures; Fair Access to Care Services, Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults; Recruitment & Selection market segmentation; Diversity Impact Assessments. Reasonable adjustment in service provision; Promise 11; Procurement Gateway/ Contract management; Children & Young People s Plan; Adult Care procedures Diversity Impact Assessment; Published Access statements. SSP/LAA, Cluster agreements, Connecting People Connecting Places; Monitoring policy/guidance; Annual Operating Plan/Business planning cycle; Diversity Impact Assessments and reporting; Children & Young People s Plan; Adult Care procedures. Monitoring policy/guidance; complaints procedure; customer satisfaction surveys. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 4 of 7

6 Objective C. To have a modern and diverse workforce: we will make sure our staff are treated fairly and are able to work with and respond appropriately to all our customers. Key delivery through: Great Place to Work; Swindon Equality Scheme; In Touch, Equality Framework for Local Government; Recruitment & Selection policies; Staff survey; reporting procedures; New Ways of Working. Outcomes: Specific delivery by: C1. The highest standards of equality and diversity practice in Diversity Impact Assessments. recruitment, selection and employment is promoted by regular review of our policies and procedures. C2. Recruitment of workforce, management and senior management are informed by an accurate diversity profile of our staff. We are seen as a desirable employer by all sectors of our community. C3. The needs and requirements of individuals and groups are supported through flexible employment policies, practices and arrangements. Through work with partners we will encourage other local employers to also adopt such policies. C4. Women and men receive equal treatment in employment with pay awarded fairly and equitably. Reasonable Adjustment guidance; Employment monitoring guidance and reporting; Positive action partnerships and programmes; Swindon Intelligence Network Reasonable adjustment guidance; Flexible Working Scheme; SSP; Staff Network structure; Dignity at Work policy Single Status implementation C5. Staff work in a safe and secure environment where action is taken quickly against all forms of discrimination and harassment bringing about effective, appropriate and proportionate resolution. C6. All staff, members and volunteers are equipped to respond to the needs of our diverse communities and be confident to respond to a range of diversity issues. A range of HR functions and policies including: Dignity at Work, Code of Conduct, Grievance procedure, Health & Safety, Whistle blowing procedure, Disciplinary procedure, Religion/belief, Sexual Orientation and Age Policy and Guidance; Corporate Health Indicators. L&OD E&D strategy; Learning & Development reporting; Customer Service strategy; Complaints/Satisfaction procedures. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 5 of 7

7 Governance The purpose of this strategy is to ensure that the Council s equality and diversity vision is embedded through the work of the organisation. Existing key strategies and policies have been identified which will need to ensure that they are meeting and delivering the identified objectives and outcomes. This identification of key strategy, policy and process will assist in identifying key target areas for future Diversity Impact Assessment. Significant developments of strategy, policy and process will also need to demonstrate the equality and diversity vision. This strategy will support the Council to ensure that business plans promote positive equality and diversity outcomes. The council recognises that there are elements of its statutory duties that can only be achieved by corporate intervention. This will be delivered through the performance management of a corporate action plan. The Equality Task Group will take responsibility for delivering the action plan with a report being delivered to Operations Board every 3 months, Corporate Board every six months and Equality Advisory Forum and Cabinet annually. The annual report will include the annual review of the Swindon Equality Scheme and statements from each group area setting out their achievement in delivering the strategic outcomes. Amendments to this strategy This strategy will be reviewed annually by the Equality & Diversity Unit with recommendations for amendment considered by the Equality Task Group and reported to Equality Advisory Forum, Corporate Board and Cabinet. Associated documents This Strategy should be read in conjunction with the Swindon Equality Scheme and action plan. Final ED Strategy April 2010 Page 6 of 7

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