Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager presented a report, the purpose of which, was to update Cabinet Committee Equalities on plans to raise the profile of Equalities and build an action plan that will shape the Strategic Equalities Plan (SEP) objectives for 2024-2028.
By way of background information, she advised that the Equality Act 2010 includes a Public Sector Equality Duty which states that the Council, must consider the need to:
• Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other behaviour that is not allowed under the act.
• Advance equality of opportunity between people with and without protected characteristics, for example by removing or minimising disadvantages, meeting the needs of people who have a protected characteristic or encouraging participation in public life and activities.
• Encourage good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, for example by tackling prejudice and promoting understanding.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager reminded Members, that the council is committed to helping ensure that people of all protected characteristics can participate fully in our community as equal citizens. The nine protected characteristics here were:
· gender reassignment
· marriage and civil partnership
· pregnancy and maternity
· religion and belief
· sexual orientation
She explained that BCBC’s Strategic Equality Plan sets out how equality objectives will be met, making services accessible and responsive to the diverse needs of those who live, work and visit the county borough.
She further added, that Equality is diverse and the Authority needed to include people and their representative groups in its planning and decision making processes to help them unlock their potential. The Council also needed to engage appropriately with people to help us meet our duties in the Public Sector Equality Duty in order to:
• Set future equality objectives;
• Review our Strategic Equality Plan;
• Identify how our work and activities may contribute to meeting the general duty;
• Assess the likely impact on protected groups of our policies and practices being proposed or reviewed.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager concluded her report by advising, that in order to achieve these objectives, the aim is to explore ways of raising the profile of equalities across the organisation by reviewing the current Strategic Equality Plan and exploring the opportunity to establish a corporate working group to review the current Strategic Equality Plan and to discuss and create relevant objectives to form the new actions for the SEP 2024-2028.
The Chairperson considered that the Cabinet Committee could be used more effectively to drive its agenda forward and look for members of Groups and Associations to play an active part in issues of equality and diversity as part of future agenda business, under legislation such as the Future Generations Act.
The Deputy Leader confirmed that BCBC’s Procurement and Commissioning Strategies could also support the above aims and objectives, as well as a Bill passed recently in the Senedd, entitled Social Partnership. This could be used to commission provision, as BCBC were one of the largest employers in Bridgend.
The Leader gave his support to the introduction of a corporate working group and hoped that this would include a role for our key partners, for example, the South Wales Police, Health Board, Fire Authority, Probation Service etc.
It was further added that representation from schools and the School Consortia would be beneficial, in order to have an input from the youth within the Borough. The YPOP group was given as an example
The Chairperson advised that it would also be positive to see joining up of proposals within the Health Board’s Wellbeing Plan to that of the Council’s Corporate Plan and Strategic Equality Plan.
A Member also felt that it would be beneficial if those with a learning disability receiving support, could also play some part in the business of future meeting agendas and this was supplemented by another Member, adding that involvement from people with ‘lived experience’ with issues and problems they had been through in life that others in society may not have experienced.
The Deputy Leader stated that she would like to see on the agenda at the next scheduled meeting, a Race Action Plan, as well as future reports relating to groups in our society with protected characteristics.
RESOLVED: That the Cabinet Committee noted the report.
Publication date: 19/05/2023
Date of decision: 20/03/2023
Decided at meeting: 20/03/2023 - Cabinet Committee Equalities