Our approach to dealing with and promoting equality issues
What are our equality responsibilities?
We have a role and responsibility to challenge discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. Our role as a community leader, service provider and employer, places us in a unique position to work actively towards eliminating unlawful discrimination and helping to maximise the contribution that residents can make within local communities.
Our comprehensive Equality Policy sets out how we will achieve this, and how we will ensure we treat all people equally and fairly whether they are:
- seeking employment with, or are already employed by us
- users, or potential users, of the our services
- contracting to supply goods or services to us
- working in partnership with us
What is the Public Sector Equality Duty?
The Equality Act 2010 introduces the ‘public sector equality duty’, which is made up of a general duty supported by specific duties. The ‘general equality duty’ is the overarching requirement or substance of the duty, and the ‘specific duties’ are intended to help performance on the general equality duty.
The general equality duty requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation or any other conduct prohibited by the act in relation to the protected characteristics:
- advance equality of opportunity between all persons; and
- foster good relations between groups of people sharing a protected characteristic and those that do not.
What are our specific duties in relation to the Equality Act 2010?
In addition to complying with the ‘general equality duty’, the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations came into force in September 2011. These require public bodies to:
- publish information to demonstrate their compliance with the general equality duty, this information must be published by 31 January 2012
- set specific, measurable equality objectives by 6 April 2012
The information published must include information relating to people who share a relevant protected characteristic who are:
- its employees
- people affected by its policies and practices (for example, service users)
What equality information must we publish about our employee?
We are required to publish a range of information in relation to employees:
- our aims with regards equalities in employment are outlined in section 9 of the Equality Policy
- monitoring of a range of employment functions, which is undertaken annually and the results from which are published in the Annual Employment Monitoring Report
- we also have a policy statement on Harassment at Work which states that all employees have a right to be treated with dignity and respect and outlines the steps we will take to ensure this right is protected
What equality information must we publish about our services?
We publish a wide range of key information on performance, service provision, decisions made and the population it serves which is used to inform decisions about policies and services.
What are the our equality objectives?
A number of equality objectives have been developed to support our corporate business plan. The business plan defines the Council’s priorities for the next four years.
Equality Objectives – Services
- ensure that the design and delivery of Council services is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
- undertake equality impact assessments on new Council policies, functions and services to ensure equality implications are taken into consideration during the decision making process
- review equality monitoring data in identified priority functions and incorporate the findings from monitoring activities in the development of services and improve performance
- regularly review the customer satisfaction data collected by the CIC from Govmetric, ongoing consultation and equality monitoring to ensure feedback received is recorded and used to inform service provision and development
- develop and promote the Council’s web-site to improve access to Council information and services to all
- review procurement procedures to ensure that selected contracts comply with equality requirements
Equality Objectives – Employment
- review the current range of equality monitoring information collected to ensure it is appropriate to inform decisions made regarding employment practices and policies
- ensure that the Council’s workforce reflects the communities that we serve
- ensure that opportunities for training, development and promotion are open to all employees
- ensure that training on equality issues is provided to Managers and all employees
- develop and implement an awareness raising programme for Elected Members on equality issues
Achievement of our equality objectives is supported by an annual action plan, with regular monitoring of progress against the agreed actions for the year.
- Annual Progress Report for 2012/13
- Annual Progress Report for 2013/14
- Annual Progress Report for 2014/15
What are our employment policies in relation to equalities?
As a major employer in West Norfolk, we wholeheartedly supports the principle of equal opportunity in employment and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination. This is reflected in the employment section of our Equality Policy, which covers all matters directly or indirectly related to employment affecting individuals or groups whether they are actual or potential employees.
We believe that it is in our best interests, and those of all who work for it or who live in the area, to ensure that the human resources, talents and skills available throughout the community are considered when employment opportunities arise. Every possible step will be taken to ensure that individuals are treated fairly and that all employment related decisions are based solely on objective, justifiable and job related criteria.
We are also committed not only to the legal obligations placed upon it by equalities legislation but also to the positive promotion of equal opportunities in all aspects of employment. With this in mind, we will ensure that all its employment policies, procedures, guidelines and practices reflect and reinforce its commitment to equality. Relevant ‘Codes of Practice’ will be considered when reviewing and revising employment related equalities matters.
Those applying for jobs with us are encouraged to read the Council’s specific policies which are relevant to recruitment processes: