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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 23/01/2006
A Race Equality Scheme for Waverley Borough Council



Introduction (vision and values)

Overall vision for the borough is ……To enhance the quality of life in Waverley now and for the future through strong local leadership and customer focused services.

Under that vision, Waverley aims to be accountable to the people of Waverley by, amongst other things, ensuring equal opportunities in every aspect of Council activity.

To seek to achieve that particular objective, Waverley recognises its responsibilities under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. As such Waverley Borough Council is committed to ensuring that it works to: -

eliminate unlawful racial discrimination;

promote equality of opportunity;

promote good relations between people of different racial groups

Population statistics from the 2001 census confirm that there is a low representation of people from black and minority ethnic groups in Waverley. Potentially, that makes the task of ensuring equality of opportunity for the black and minority ethnic groups in Waverley more challenging.

Nevertheless, through the strategic objectives and action plans set out in this Race Equality Scheme, Waverley will make progress in meeting its responsibilities in ways that are proportionate to the needs of black and minority ethnic (BME) members of the population and of the needs of staff that it employs.


The Council has a statutory responsibility to develop a Race Equality Scheme. This is, in effect, the plan that sets out how the Council will achieve its aim of ensuring equality of opportunity for people, in this respect, from black and minority ethnic communities. It also serves to identify how the Council will meet its statutory responsibilities under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.

To help ensure compliance with these responsibilities, an Equality Advisory Group has been set up by the Council. This is an officer group that is facilitated by the Head of Personnel & Central Services. It is made up of representatives from each of the Council’s departments and representatives from the Council’s BME staff.

This Group is responsible for advising, through the Director of Environment & Leisure, the Chief Officer Group which is, in turn, responsible for advising the Council on effective policies and strategies for ensuring that the Council meets its statutory responsibilities in respect of race equality. The Chief Officer Group is accountable for ensuring the effective implementation of the agreed policies and strategies set out in this Race Equality Scheme.

These are the primary accountabilities and responsibilities. However, it is equally important that every elected member recognises that they have a responsibility to promote equality of opportunity by not discriminating, unlawfully, against any person and by treating people with dignity, fairness and respect. A similar responsibility falls on every member of staff who also have a duty to implement the Race Equality Scheme in the services that they deliver.

Broadly, the Council provides direct services to the public through its: -

Environment and Leisure Department

Housing Department

Planning and Development Department

It enables services to the public through its contractors, principally in respect of: -

Refuse collection

Grounds Maintenance

Environmental Cleaning

Car Parking Services

Housing Maintenance

These front line services are supported by the activities of the: -

Chief Executive’s Department including, corporate policy making, personnel, legal and Member services as well central support services. This department also provides the Council’s area (Locality) offices; and the

Finance Department including revenues collection, benefits payments, exchequer, accountancy and audit services as well as Information Technology services



Waverley recognises that its community is made up of a wide range of different people and it respects and values the consequential cultural diversity.

Waverley will ensure that it meets its responsibilities under legislation related to equality matters in ways that have a positive impact on the achievement of equality of opportunity in the wider Waverley community.

The Council has agreed the following strategic aims for: -

Service Delivery

Community Cohesion


to set out its approach to working towards achieving racial equality in all of its activities.

Service Delivery

To ensure that Waverley identifies and takes into account the rights and needs of black and minority ethnic people when planning and delivering its services.

To ensure that there are no barriers to access to Waverley's services for black and minority ethnic people by analysing existing service provision and identifying gaps in service provision that result in the needs of black and minority ethnic people not being met.

To ensure that the needs of black and minority ethnic people are taken into account in developing policies and practices with equality implications

In acknowledgement that the number of black and minority ethnic people living in the Waverley community is small and that there is an absence of representative groups, to develop wider networks to aid understanding of the needs of black and minority ethnic people.

To ensure that Waverley's contractors, who provide services on behalf of the Council, follow and apply Waverley's commitment to achieving equality of opportunity.

To ensure that equality is achieved at the output end of service delivery by monitoring the use of appropriate services by black and minority ethnic people.

Community Cohesion

To encourage and promote cross-cultural experiences where possible

To promote a welcoming culture in which there is respect for others and a tolerance of racial differences

To develop approaches to policy and resources that are fair to all communities

To promote good practice in racial equality to partners and other organisations

To encourage and enable reporting, to the Chief Executive, of racial incidents in the Waverley community that come to the attention of Councillors and Waverley staff to help identify areas for action.


To work towards a Waverley workforce that reflects the racial and cultural diversity of the population served

To take appropriate positive action to remedy any under representation of black and minority ethnic employees in the Waverley workforce

To monitor and continuously review the recruitment processes and workforce profiles to identify potential barriers and to take remedial action that the processes are non-discriminatory

To consult with black and minority ethnic employees on all aspects of racial equality

To provide a work environment that is free from racial harassment and discrimination, whether direct or indirect, and to take quick and effective remedial action should such harassment or discrimination occur

To ensure that all staff receive training in general equality awareness and, as necessary, specific “equality” skills.


This will be done through: -

The Equality Advisory Group – reporting to: -

Chief Officer Group – reporting to the Executive

and through: -

Formal reports of the Council to include “equality” (opportunities for all) impact under the “Social Inclusion” heading.


Waverley will consider the potential impact of race equality issues on all of its services and will identify those areas that have the potentially greatest impact in setting out its action plan.


Waverley will ensure that its consultation with the community (including its Citizens Panel) includes the views of BME people.

In Waverley there are no obvious representative groups. Waverley will therefore seek to open channels of communication with BME people in the Waverley area to help to understand how its policies and practices do or do not meet the needs of different ethnic groups.

This issue will be reflected in the Community Strategy for Waverley.


The impact of the Council’s policies and practices will be monitored as follows.

General Putting in place arrangements to monitor the impact that all Council policies have on racial equality

Employment Best Value Performance Indicators (2, 11b and 17)
Recruitment/workforce monitoring
Access to training
Disciplinary, grievance, etc. cases

Service Delivery Best Value Performance Indicators Housing (74[i], 75[i] and 164)
Best Value Performance Indicators Racial incident reporting (175 and 175)
Improved systems for monitoring, across the board, take up of the Council’s services both those directly provided and those enabled

The Council will use the data from its monitoring activities to revise policies and procedures where this is necessary and proportionate to improve racial equality.


The Council will publicise its approach to race Equality by: -

publicising the Race Equality Scheme: on Website
in the Link
in the Performance Plan/Community Strategy

mail shot to all households

all departmental publications making reference to the Race Equality Scheme.


Complaints on racial matters will be dealt with either through the: -

Complaints procedures, or the

Racial Incident reporting procedures


Equality Advisory Group to be given the responsibility of keeping the Scheme under review and for reporting to the Chief Officer Board

ACTION PLAN – 2003 TO 2005

Year 1 [2003/04]

Key Task
No later than:
Lead Responsibility
Publicise RES to staff
October 2003
Equality Advisory GroupCouncil agree RES July 2003

Publicise RES to wider community
October 2003
Equality Advisory GroupCouncil agree RES July 2003
Achieved through
Publication in the Link Magazine and through the Waverley website
List Council’s services and put in priority order for race equality action over the next three years
October 2003
Equality Advisory GroupAchieved
Agree procedures for consulting with BME community on the Council’s RES
December 2003
Equality Advisory GroupNot achieved
Consult with BME community and others as appropriate
Starting January 2004
Equality Advisory GroupNot achieved
Publicise Racial Incident reporting procedures
September 2003
Equality Advisory GroupAchieved
Identify local performance indicators to assess impact of RES
December 2003
Directors and Heads of ServiceNot achieved
Include reference to RES in all relevant Council publications
Starting from September 2003
Directors and Heads of ServiceAchieved to some extent
Provide awareness training for Councillors
November 2003
Outstanding but being progressed
Provide continuous training for staff as necessary
September 2003 and ongoing
PersonnelAchieved and ongoing

Year 2 [2004/05]

Key Task
No later than:
Lead Responsibility
Publicise monitoring data
April 2004
Equality Advisory GroupAchieved only in respect of statutory monitoring data
Review RES
May 2004
Equality Advisory GroupOutstanding but this report is the start of that review
Adapt plan for 2004/05 to reflect priority areas for action.
June 2004
Equality Advisory GroupNot achieved pending the adoption of the Navarro report
Target BME community with recruitment information
May 2004
PersonnelThis happens to some extent but needs more thought
Prepare Action Plan for 2005/06
December 2004
Equality Advisory GroupOutstanding

Year 3 [2005/06] Detail to be prepared in the light of the impact of Year 1 and Year 2 Action Plans

Key Task
No later than:
Lead Responsibility
Review effectiveness of consultation arrangements
April 2005
Equality Advisory Group

Communications Manager
Not achieved
Ongoing “mainstreaming” of equality issues into all of Waverley activitiesAchieved to some extent and still improving


Note to: Christine Pointer

Cc Leader of the Council

From: Richard Wood

Date: 24th October 2005


Below are my thoughts having attended a ‘Beacon Council’ event at Gravesham Borough Council (Gravesend) on 20th October. I will take them into our (officer) Equality Advisory Group but if you and or Gillian would like to discuss with me, I would be very pleased.

1. Gravesham is the first district council to be granted this status. That is some achievement.

2. They do have the ‘advantage’ of a reasonably high minority ethnic population (around 10%, the highest of the Kent districts) and of having a Racial Equality Council (REC) operating in the Borough with which Gravesham has formed a strong partnership.

3. Nevertheless, they do not have the resources of others who have been granted beacon status…including Leicester City Council where the minority ethnic population exceeds 50%.

4. They drew a strong set of speakers to the event, including Lord Herman Ouseley, still a very powerful speaker on the subject (“do race equality because you want to do it, not because you have to do it”).

5. Also, Ted Cantle, Associate Director of the IdeA (former Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council) who was appointed by the Home Secretary in 2001 to Chair the Community Cohesion Review Team, set up to review the causes of that summer’s riots in a number of northern towns and cities in England. His report was published in December 2001 and he now chairs the panel that advises Ministers on the implementation of the recommendations. Understandably he is very knowledgeable on the subject.

What did I learn about Gravesham in this respect?

6. There is strong political and managerial support to the race equality agenda. The Mayor introduced the event, the Lead Member for Community Health and Well-being gave a presentation, many members attended the event, the event was chaired by David Williams, Executive Director of Corporate Services.

7. The approach is driving forward the theme of community cohesion within the Council’s own organisational structure as well as providing a basis for improving services tailored to the needs of the local community and individual services users.

8. The Council’s Leader has a key role in leading the Council’s Executive Team which is committed to championing the benefits of social inclusion and community cohesion.

9. The Lead Member and of the Cabinet Members have clearly defined work plans and roles including a strong commitment to race equality.

10. There is a firm political and corporate commitment not only to consult with the minority ethnic communities on key strategic policy areas but also to improve, continuously, the engagement with the ‘harder to reach’ groups.

11. Gravesham has chosen not to employ specialist race equality advisers in favour of its corporate approach. A top level Community Cohesion Group was set up by the Authority in 2003 to advise and coordinate community cohesion and race equality issues across the Council and this has been the main driver for change.

12. That Group is responsible for coordinating the development, implementation and Review of the Race Equality Scheme as well as driving best practice and change forward within the Council’s corporate culture.

13. Nevertheless, Gravesham still rely significantly on making progress in small ways (an elderly female Member, for a rural ward, spoke with great enthusiasm of how she had arranged for her local WI to receive presentations from members of Indian, Moslem, Egyptian etc. community to learn about different cultures, cooking styles etc.) when a Sikh member of the audience, during question time, had been critical of the limited impact that he felt Gravesham was having on the community).

What did I learn that is transferable to Waverley?

14. This is the challenge. Waverley does not have the ‘advantages’ of Gravesham (see paragraph 2 above).

15. Racial Equality Councils are voluntary organisations that are set up, where there is the will to do so, to work in partnership with others to help to create a just society. There are no Racial Equality Councils in Surrey.

16. But we do have a statutory duty to promote race quality although we have no resources with which to do so.

17. We do have a Race Equality Scheme but, the Action Plan is behind schedule and I am behind in ensuring that the Council reviews this Scheme. Now scheduled on the rolling programme for January 2006.

18. We do need to raise the level of commitment within Waverley at a political and corporate management level.

19. My main learning point was that we do need to look for small wins that can be achieved despite the absence of resources. As a minimum, we must ensure that all of our formal reports consider the racial, and other equality, implications of the recommendations.

20. We do need to look for opportunities to piggyback on events that take place in and around Waverley, e.g. the Thai festival previously held in Milford.

21. We do need to raise awareness. For officers, we are going through a programme of ‘mandatory’ awareness training for all staff. We need to look at where we need to raise the level of awareness with a more specific form of training.

22. We do, also, need to provide awareness training for Members. Some time ago, I got agreement from the relevant Leaders to this but, finding the right trainee and losing one ‘right’ trainer shortly before I was about to launch this earlier this year means that this has not yet been done. I now have a new possible trainer and would like to move this forward but would clearly need now to speak to Gillian and Richard Gates…..and, I guess, Victor Duckett. Perhaps Gillian would like to be involved when I meet with this trainer.

Richard Wood

24th October 2005