The Equality Act 2010 brings together existing anti-discrimination legislation such as the Race Relations Act, the Sex Discrimination Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. The Act sets out the Equality Duty which public bodies must fulfil when carrying out their functions.
To comply with the Equality Duty, we consider the impact on equalities when drawing up or reviewing policies and proposals which affect the way we work. This shall be embedded into our planning and decision making process and will be summed up through Equality Analysis (EA) forms.
The Equality Duty
The Equality Duty means that, when carrying out our functions, we must have due regard for the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act. This includes direct and indirect discrimination. It also involves advancing the equality of opportunity and fostering good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
Having due regard for advancing equality involves:
- removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
- taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
- encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low
The nine protected characteristics are:
- disability (including those associated with disabled people, i.e. carers)
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- race (including ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality)
- religion or belief (including no religion or belief)
- sexual orientation
Publication of information
All public bodies including the Council are required to publish information relating to people who share a protected characteristic. This includes its employees and people, such as service users, who are affected by its policies and practices.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
We want Southend-on-Sea City Council to be a great place to work that champions diversity, and an organisation that is a leader of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the City.
The Council’s Equality Objectives were reviewed in 2022 with a new approach to support our desire to be more effective and accountable on EDI matters. The new approach includes an overarching Equalities Statement, one that sets a vision about the type of Council we aspire to be. We will achieve the stated vision through a number of objectives which cover four key topics: Workforce, Access to services, Partnership working and Community cohesion. Under each of these topics we will identify a commitment- currently being developed - which describes a specific and measurable piece of work, which when completed will help us on our journey to achieving our stated equalities vision.
The new statement and objectives have been developed in consultation with citizens and local partner organisations. The results of those conversations and a survey are provided here:
The Your Say Southend Survey asked the following questions:
1. Thinking about the protected characteristics, what do you think are the important issues for Southend on Sea Borough Council's workforce?
- Mental Health Support - 26.61% of respondents
- Racial Equality - 22.02%
- Disability - 22.%
2. Thinking about the protected characteristics, what do you think are the important issues for accessing services in Southend?
- Working with people from the groups of protected characteristics to design and co-produce services - 49.5%
- Physical Accessibility - 15.3%
- Digital Accessibility - 14.4%
3. Thinking about the protected characteristics, what do you think are the important issues for a cohesive community in Southend?
- Celebrating Diversity (e.g., Black History Month, Pride, Holocaust Memorial Day) - 16.2%
- Youth Support Services and Activities - 14.4%
- Hate Crime Support - 13.5%
- Initiatives that Oppose Violence against Women and Girls - 13.5%
4. The Council works with many partners to deliver services and improve outcomes for residents, business, and visitors. How can the Council generate better equality, diversity and inclusion outcomes, through its work with partners?
This was a free text box - the key themes that emerged were:
- Recognition of the value of diversity
- Workforce Training Around EDI
- Importance of co-production
Southend-on-Sea City Council recognises and values the benefits of diversity and inclusiveness in our city, where people from different backgrounds are valued and get on well together. We will work to bring equality, diversity and inclusion issues into sharper focus and seek out improvements to our services and work environment.
We are committed to supporting all Members and staff to feel they belong at the council and have opportunities to succeed. We will work with staff to identify and remove barriers to inclusivity and diversity.
The Council will actively celebrate the value that a diversity of perspectives brings and will proactively seek opportunities to celebrate our differences as well as the common goals that connect and unify us all - together we are stronger.
As an inclusive Local Authority, we will seek opportunities to work with residents from all groups of protected characteristics to design, co-produce and deliver high quality services that work for all. Collaborative, partnership working is the way to achieve this.
Our equality objectives are:
To support and enhance resilience in a workforce that is representative of our communities.
Access to Services
To provide support in accessing services for all, accommodating diverse needs, and promoting inclusion at all levels, including a developed digital literacy offer.
To raise awareness of the richness in diversity, by celebrating our communities’ differences and what unites us.
To seek opportunities to co-produce, co-design and to bring lived experience into policy making, strategy development and implementation/service delivery.
The commitments which will sit under each of the objectives are currently being developed and will be published here in due course.