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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/07/2003
A RACE EQUALITY SCHEME FOR WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL



Summary & Purpose
This reports seeks approval to the adoption of a Race Equality Scheme for Waverley Borough Council in order to meet, fully, a statutory requirement placed upon the Council by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and makes comment about the progress towards achieving equality of opportunity in every aspect of the Council’s activities.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
?


APPENDIX B
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – 21ST JULY 2003



Title:

A RACE EQUALITY SCHEME FOR WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

[Wards Affected: N/A]


Summary and purpose:

This reports seeks approval to the adoption of a Race Equality Scheme for Waverley Borough Council in order to meet, fully, a statutory requirement placed upon the Council by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and makes comment about the progress towards achieving equality of opportunity in every aspect of the Council’s activities.



Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive

The subject of this report is directly relevant to the achievement of one of the Council’s core aims of being accountable to the people of Waverley. Specifically, it directly supports the objective under that aim of ensuring equal opportunity in every aspect of the Council’s activities.

E-Government implications:

This report is not about a service but is about a way of delivering services in a cultural sense. As such, there are no direct e-Government implications but opportunities to use technology to deliver messages, support initiatives, etc. will be taken.

Resource and legal implications:

The Council has not previously specifically allocated either financial resources or staffing resources to furthering its approaches to equality of opportunity. The activities to date have been carried forward by officers who have other responsibilities.


The report “Developing an Equality of Opportunity Action for Waverley Borough Council” that is referred to in this report and that was approved by the Executive on 5th February 2002, stated that resources required to take forward the Action Plan would be contained within existing resource allocations. It is proposed, for the time being, to continue with that approach.

Experience of the pace of progress on developing equality of opportunity will be used to assess whether specific resources will be needed. In the meantime, officers who are driving this forward will need to continue to develop new knowledge and skills to support this aspect of their work. The Council has already made equality awareness training available to its entire staff but more detailed, specialist, knowledge requires specific training. The Council’s existing training budget will be used to meet the cost of such training.

The adoption of a Race Equality Scheme meets a specific statutory requirement and will improve the Council’s position if challenged, under current legislation, over equality matters.



Introduction

1. All local authorities were given a statutory duty (under the Race Relations [Amendment] Act 2000) to publish a Race Equality Scheme by May 2002.

2. Waverley has made some progress in agreeing a Race Equality Statement as an addendum to its equality policies on employment and service delivery. That statement (copy attached at Annexe 1) was agreed by the Executive on 5th February 2002.

Requirements of the Legislation

3. It is now recognised that the Council’s Race Equality Statement is insufficient to meet the requirements of the relevant legislation.

4. The detailed requirements of the legislation, in addition to the requirement to publish a Race Equality Scheme, are: -

to publish a list of all relevant functions and to prioritise those functions by the potential to impact on race equality issues; to consult with the community and/or service users on the impact of the Council’s policies and procedures on race equality; to monitor the effectiveness of its equality policies in general and specifically in respect of race equality issues; to publish the results of any consultations, monitoring, etc.; to provide access to information and services, including that provided by the Council’s contractors and including those services that are provided in partnership with others, in the most appropriate and accessible form to ensure that no users or potential users of information and services experience no barriers to access;

to provide training to staff on the implementation of the Race Equality Scheme and to develop skills to promote race equality; to review, formally, the Race Equality Scheme at least every three years; and as an employer, to monitor the workforce by racial groups and to publish that information.

Consequences of the Legislation

5. In summary, the requirements set out above are intended to ensure that local authorities “mainstream” equality (in a current legislative sense, particularly race equality) into all of the Council’s activities.

6. Equality is an issue that has been important for Waverley but it does not have a history of taking positive action, across all fronts, to ensure, actively, equality of opportunity.

7. Currently, the Council’s equality activity is as a result of the report that the Executive approved in February 2002. Although that report covers a wide range of issues, it is the view of your officers that the pace of change needs to be picked up. Clearly, Waverley needs to meet, in full, the legislative requirements placed upon it but it is also felt important for the Council to be seen to lead the way for the local community in achieving its vision of improving the quality of life in the Borough.

A Race Equality Scheme for Waverley

8. One important next step is to have in place a Race Equality Scheme (RES) for Waverley with targets and objectives to demonstrate that progress is being made.

9. A draft RES is attached as Annexe 2 to this report.

10. The draft borrows heavily from the Race Equality Scheme prepared by other local authorities but particularly from Leicester City Council, a “Beacon Council” in race equality terms.

Conclusion

11. Implementing the recommendations in the report to the Executive of 5th February 2002, together with those set out in this report, will provide a solid framework for the mainstreaming of equality into the Council’s everyday activity.

12. To keep the momentum going, it is proposed that quarterly progress reports should be submitted to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive as appropriate.

Recommendation

The Committee is invited to make any comments or observations on the report to the Executive.




Background Papers (CEx)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.



CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Richard Wood Telephone: 01483 523387

E-mail: rwood@waverley.gov.uk

comms/o&s1/2003-04/009
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