The public consultation on the council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy for 2024-26 is coming to a close on October 13, so residents still have time to share their views and help form it.
The strategy sets out the council’s equality objectives and outlines how we will embed EDI considerations into our day-to-day business – this means that it holds us to agreed standards around our dealings with residents.
As a public body, we have a duty to ensure that in carrying out all our functions, service delivery and partnership work we:
– eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation
– advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share a protected characteristic
– foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
This latest version of the strategy will see four more categories added to the nine protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act; it will now include: care-experienced young people, armed forces veterans, single-parent households and socio-economic status.
The strategy outlines four key EDI objectives: tackling poverty, the structural differences in social circumstances and the resulting differences in access and outcomes; promoting community engagement to empower our residents, improve understanding of the issues faced by local people and develop services to meet the differing needs; promoting a safe, healthy and cohesive borough where communities get on well together; and improving our evidence base to inform our decision-making.
The development of the strategy was informed evidence of existing inequalities in the borough, and how the council could narrow the gap in outcomes for disadvantaged residents and communities.
The council also conducted extensive community engagement to analyse residents’ experience of life in the borough, as well as using learnings from the Covid pandemic around health inequalities, digital exclusion and food poverty.