Venue: remotely via Skype for Business
Contact: Mark Anthony Galvin Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees
Note: Please note: Due to the requirement for social distancing this meeting will not be held at its usual location. This will be a virtual meeting and Committee Members and Officers will be attending remotely. The meeting will be recorded for subsequent transmission via the Council’s internet site which will be available once the meeting has concluded. If you have any queries regarding this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 01656 643147 / 643148.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
To receive for approval the Minutes of 21/11/19
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet Committee Equalities dated 21 November 2019, be approved as a true and accurate record.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager presented a report, the purpose of which, was to update Cabinet Committee Equalities on the Equalities work within schools within Bridgend County Borough, to include incidents of bullying, racial incidents, partnership working, the impact of the community cohesion officer role and working with the police.
She advised Members that on 18 March 2019 all schools were sent guidance on reporting racist incidents within schools.
The schools were also provided with an updated Racist Incident Report Form (Appendix 1 to the report referred).
This report outlined the incidents reported during academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, the work carried out in schools by the inclusion team and the collaborative work with the police during this period.
In the academic year 2018-2019 there were ten racist incidents reported by schools across the county borough. Incidents were reported from the schools identified in paragraph 4.1 of the report.
The majority of incidents recorded by age of perpetrator and victim were between the ages of 7 to 11 years.
In seven of the incidents the perpetrator was recorded as White British, for the other three incidents the ethnicity of the perpetrator was not recorded. This section of the report also included details of the gender of the perpetrators and the victims.
As a result of these incidents, the Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager advised that training for pupils in the form of a series of Workshops was arranged for Schools, Early Help groups and the Third Sector.
She proceeded further, by advising that a schools LGBTQ network had been established to support school staff and pupils. Members of the network, along with members form the Youth Council joined the Equalities Team and Proud Councils in the PRIDE Cymru march in August 2019.
In the academic year 2019-2020, so far there have been there have been 12 racist incidents reported by schools across the county borough. Incidents have been reported from the schools contained in paragraph 4.3 of the report. A further breakdown on the type of incidents were outlined in the subsequent sections of this part of the report, once more, including the ages of perpetrators and victims. This was as at March 2020.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager, advised that in Autumn 2019 Welsh Government announced a number of grant funded streams to deal with Hate Crime. Amongst these was a project for work specifically in 100 schools, and its aim was to deliver critical thinking skills and raise awareness of all aspects of Hate Crime in schools, with a focus on Key Stage 3. The aim is to begin this work in the academic year 2019-2020.
She further explained that following a series of meetings between WLGA, Community Cohesion Coordinators and preferred providers for delivering hate crime projects, a number of schools in Bridgend were identified on the basis of analysis on reported hate crime in the community, anti-social behaviour in the area and discussions with the school liaison officers.
The five schools identified were shown ... view the full minutes text for item 68.
The Chief Executive submitted a report, purpose of which, was to provide Cabinet Committee Equalities with information on the use of the name ‘Picton’ in street names and buildings across Bridgend County Borough.
By way of background information, the Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager advised, that following the death of George Floyd in America, National protests and demonstrations as part of the Black Lives Matter movement have resulted in several UK councils taking steps to remove some statues of historical figures. Local authorities are also considering whether buildings, parks, playing fields and streets may have links with individuals criticised as part of the protests. Campaigns began to remove memorials to General Thomas Picton, mainly focusing on a statue in Cardiff and a 25 metre tall monument in Carmarthen.
With a number of streets named ‘Picton’ across Bridgend County, the report looks at the history of these streets with the aim of identifying if they are associated with General Thomas Picton. The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager advised that although the research has been unable to identify the exact reason for the street naming, the research has suggested that there are links between the Picton family and to land ownership in Bridgend.
She added that initial research has suggested there are two possible sources of the name Picton in Bridgend county borough. It was therefore recommended that in order to verify this information and ensure its accuracy further work should be undertaken by a local historian and the findings of that research will be considered once Welsh Government have concluded their review.
The number of street names and buildings with the name ‘Picton’ included therein throughout different locations of the County Borough, were exampled in the report.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager, then gave some general information on Thomas Picton who had been a past General who was linked to slavery in the 17th/18th century.
The report went on to explain, that though a number of streets and buildings in the Bridgend area may have been named after him, there may have been some streets and buildings named after Lieutenant Thomas Picton-Turbeville or possibly Richard Picton-Turbeville, the latter who had been a pivotal person in the past in the County Borough and had previously contributed positively to works (including charity and voluntary), within the County Borough.
Whilst certain Members were not happy in terms of names of streets etc, being recognised by the name of a person or persons who had committed appalling things in the past against fellow human beings, other Members recognised the work that would be required for householders who live in these buildings/streets to agree to changing the street name to something that doesn’t bear reference to the name Picton. Examples of this, would include changing the street name on the deeds of a property, on medical records, altering driving licences and other utility bills etc. Homeowners if forced to do this, may seek compensation off the Council if they had to ... view the full minutes text for item 69.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Members with an update on the work completed within the Strategic Equality Plan (SEP) 2016-2020 for the period 2018 - 2019.
The report outlined certain background information, following which, she explained that the Annual Report (attached at Appendix 1) covers the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.
It was required to be published on the Council website/made available by 1 April 2020 however due to the impact of COVID-19 this date had been changed to October by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The seven strategic equalities objectives for 2016-2020 were detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report, while paragraph 4.3 referenced some key points and campaigns to note from the Annual Report.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager then expanded upon some of the latter for the benefit of Members.
The Committee commended the report and the relevant Officers hard work in putting together the Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report for 2018-2019.
RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the progress being made and approved the Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report 2018-2019.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager submitted a report, that updated the Committee on the implementation of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 and the Welsh Language Standards.
She confirmed that since the Council received its compliant notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner in 2015, progress towards implementing the 171 assigned standards has continued.
She added that updates on compliance have been provided at every Committee since 28 April 2016. These reports were referenced as background documents to the report.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager then advised that BCBC celebrated Welsh Language Rights Day on 6 December 2019, by sharing posts on social media, in respect of the items shown in bullet point format in paragraph 4.1 of the report.
A copy of the Welsh Language Commissioners Code of Practice for the Welsh Language Standards Regulations 2015, was attached in both welsh and English format at Appendix 1 and 2 of the report.
She referred Members to a new complaint relating to translation that had been received through the Commissioner in relation to Electoral Voting Cards. However, a response to this had been sent to the Commissioner from the Council, confirming that it per se, are not responsible for the layout/translation of voting cards. This is the responsibility of the Registration Officer and the Returning Officer, whose roles and remit to this end are independent from the Authority.
In response to a Members question, the Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager advised, that she believed that the above Officers were still however required to be compliant with the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards.
The Leader asked the Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager, to check in time for the October Committee meeting that this was the case, as opposed to such voting cards in terms of their layout and being produced bi-lingually, being the responsibility of the Electoral Commission.
A Member noted from paragraph 8.1 of the report, that only £4k out of a total budget of £324,649 for welsh language translation, had been spent to date in 2019-20. She asked why this expenditure was so low in comparison with the budget allocated to it.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager, confirmed that the majority of this budget originated from expenditure relating to translation costs that came under the corporate budget, as opposed to those allocated on a Directorate by Directorate basis. She added however, that she would seek further information regarding this and report back to Members accordingly.
RESOLVED: (1) That the Committee received and considered the report.
(2) That further information be shared with Members on the levels of spend for Welsh language Directorate by Directorate in comparison with that which is spent from the Council’s wider Corporate budget allocation.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager submitted a report, that informed the Committee of the content and approach taken in respect of the Council’s fifth Welsh Language Standards Annual Report for 2019-2020.
She explained that the Welsh Language Standards gave Welsh speakers improved, enforceable rights in relation to the Welsh language. The Council received its final compliance notice on 30 September 2015, which outlined 171 standards requiring compliance.
The report confirmed that Standards 158, 164 and 170 required the Authority to produce and publish an annual report, in Welsh, by 30 June each year.
The Council’s Welsh Language Standards annual report 2019-2020, covered the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 and was published, as required by the 30 June 2020. The report was attached at Appendix one and two to the report, in both welsh and English, respectively.
The report outlined how the Council has complied with the standards under a duty to comply during the period and also documents any progress and new developments with its compliance.
As part of the annual report, there was a duty on the local authority to report specifically on the following information:
· the number of complaints received by the council during the period;
· the number of employees who disclosed Welsh language skills as at 31 March 2020;
· the number of employees attending training courses offered in Welsh during the period;
· the number of new and vacant posts advertised during the period categorised as posts where either:
o Welsh language skills were essential;
o Welsh language skills were desirable.
· In addition to the information specified in section 4.2 we have also included updates on Equality Impact Assessments, customer contact and our promotional activities.
A Member thanked the Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager and her immediate colleagues, for the hard work that had been committed to the Annual Report 2019-2020, adding that it was visible that considerable progress was being made year on year by the Authority in terms of compliance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Standards.
The Chairperson echoed these sentiments, adding that the Standards were now being embedded across all service areas provided by the Council, in some capacity or another.
RESOLVED: (1) That Committee received and noted the content of the report and the Welsh Language Standards Annual Report 2019-2020.
(2) That in conjunction with the Workforce Report 2019/20 to be considered at the Cabinet Committee Equalities meeting in October, information also be shared with Members on the criteria used for assessing Welsh language skills for vacant positions as part of the Council’s recruitment process. This was requested by Members at the meeting.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager presented a report, seeking Committee approval for a proposed Forward Work Programme for 2020-2021.
Appendix 1 to the report, set out a proposal for the Committee’s regular business items and key equality issues to be considered from March 2020 to March 2021.
The proposal was based on:
· the strategic equality objectives in the Strategic Equality Plan 2016 – 2020 such as improving community relations in the county borough;
· the consultation on the draft objectives for the Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024;
· ongoing monitoring of the Welsh Language Standards’ implementation, including providing updates on service developments;
· suggestions from the committee;
· national and local equality issues;
· established reporting arrangements for the Welsh Language Standards and Strategic Equality Plan;
· consideration of other council priorities and external reports.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager stressed that the agenda for the next four scheduled meetings of the Cabinet Committee Equalities would consist of both the proposed Main items and Business items as shown in the Forward Work Programme, ie Appendix 1 to the report.
Following discussions that ensued between Members and Officers, it was
RESOLVED: That the Committee approved the proposed Forward Work Programme 2020-21 attached to the report, subject to the following:-
· The Strategic Equality Plan 2020-2024 draft action plan being shared with the Committee, prior to being submitted to Cabinet at its September 2020 meeting.
· Further reports being received on Agenda item 2 of today’s meeting, entitled ‘Use of the name of Picton in Street Names and Buildings throughout the Bridgend County Borough,’ as appropriate.
· A further item being added to the FWP for the November 2020 meeting, entitled “The impact of Covid-19 and lockdown on people with caring responsibilities”
· A further item being added to the FWP for the March 2021 meeting, entitled “Update on Equalities work within Schools.”
To consider any other item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Rule 4 of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.