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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/07/2003
Addendum to the Equal Opportunity Policy Statements



Addendum to the Equal Opportunity Policy Statements

Race Equality Statement for Waverley Borough Council

Waverley Borough Council defines its approach to equality issues in two policy statements. The first, “Equal Employment Opportunities” was adopted in 1992 and the second, “Equal Opportunities in Service Delivery” was adopted in 1997.

These policies address equality issues in the broad. The policy in respect of employment matters commits the Council to seeking to ensure that, in its recruitment activities, no person receives less favourable treatment on grounds of (amongst other things) race and/or ethnic origin. The policy on service delivery makes a broad reference to ensuring that services are open and accessible to all members of the community without specifying the targets groups under the policy.

As a predominately rural borough with a low ethnic minority population, Waverley recognises that, because of their small number, some members of the ethnic minority communities in the Borough may be more likely to feel excluded from the activities of the Council.

Therefore, the Council commits to adopting the Commission for Racial Equality’s (CRE) standard that sets out a framework for improving the performance of the Council on race equality.

In the first instance, the Council will carry out an audit against the five levels set out in the CRE standard. Critical to this process will be consultation with black, Asian and other ethnic minority people, both staff and members of the community.

The Council’s ultimate aim will be to achieve the level 4 (level 5 is the top level) of the CRE standard. The Council will set targets and actions for progress to that level and will regularly monitor its progress towards its ultimate aim.

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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 this green and pleasant Borough, 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.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY

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.

SUMMARY OF COUNCIL ACTIVITIES

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

STRATEGIC AIMS FOR RACE EQUALITY

General

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

Employment

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.

Employment

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

PROMOTING COMPLIANCE

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.

ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF POLICIES AND PRACTICES ON RACE EQUALITY

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.

CONSULTATION

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.
MONITORING

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.
PROVIDING INFORMATION ON (PUBLISHING) THE COUNCIL’S APPROACH

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 RES.
DEALING WITH COMPLAINTS

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

Complaints procedures, or the
Racial Incident reporting procedures

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REVIEWING THE RACE EQUALITY SCHEME

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
Target.
No later than:
Lead Responsibility
Milestones
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
Link Publication
List Council’s services and put in priority order for race equality action over the next three years
October 2003
Equality Advisory Group
Agree procedures for consulting with BME community on the Council’s RES
December 2003
Equality Advisory Group
Consult with BME community and others as appropriate
Starting January 2004
Equality Advisory Group
Publicise Racial Incident reporting procedures
September 2003
Equality Advisory Group
Identify local performance indicators to assess impact of RES
December 2003
Directors and Heads of Service
Include reference to RES in all relevant Council publications
Starting from September 2003
Directors and Heads of Service
Provide awareness training for councillors
November 2003
Provide continuous training for staff as necessary
September 2003 and ongoing
Personnel
Year 2 [2004/05]

Key Task
Target.
No later than:
Lead Responsibility
Milestones
Publicise monitoring data
April 2004
Equality Advisory Group
Review RES
May 2004
Equality Advisory Group
Adapt plan for 2004/05 to reflect priority areas for action.
June 2004
Equality Advisory Group
Target BME community with recruitment information
May 2004
Personnel
Prepare Action Plan for 2005/06
December 2004
Equality Advisory Group

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

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

Communications Manager
Ongoing “mainstreaming” of equality issues into all of Waverley activities

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