The Council is committed to embedding equality and diversity in employment practices, services of the Council and works with partners to set equality objectives. We work to prevent discrimination and recognise that people have different needs and treat them fairly.
The Council's Equality Strategy
The Council's Single Equality StrategyFile Type: Microsoft Word document, File Size:495.50 Kb (72 seconds @ 56K) Opens in a new window is intended to address equality as a whole. The Strategy was updated in March 2012 to include the Council's new Equality Objectives and Action Plan. The Council's Annual Plan also sets out how the Council will implement the objectives and commitments set out in the Strategy.
The Council works towards the Equality Framework for Local Government, a tool used by local authorities to mainstream equality and diversity into service delivery and employment and to adopt an equal life chances approach. There are 3 levels within the Framework: Developing, Achieving and Excellent.
The Framework has 5 main areas:
In September 2010 after undertaking a self assessment and subsequently a Diversity Peer Challenge by external assessors involving consideration of documentary evidence and interviews with staff and stakeholders the Council was awarded the 'Achieving' Level of the Framework. The Council's Narrative of our journey towards the 'Achieving' level under the 5 main areas listed above is attached. Case studies referred to in the Narrative provide further information on the work we have undertaken with young people, people with disabilities, minority ethnic groups etc are attached. A link to the Council's Evidence Base which gives demographic information on borough's population on the Surrey Heath Partnership Information Hub page is also attached.
Legislative Requirements, Equality Act 2010
The public sector equality duty was published in January 2011 and consists of a general equality duty, which is set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, and specific duties which are imposed by secondary legislation. The general equality duty came into force on 6 April 2011. The specific duties also came into force on this date but some of the requirements of those specific duties have different timeframes for implementation.
The new duty covers eight protected characteristics which are: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The duty also covers marriage and civil partnership, but not for all aspects of the duty.
In summary, those subject to the equality duty must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:
The Council is also required to publish sufficient information to demonstrate our compliance with general equality duty across our functions and we use the following information to do this (links can be found under the Useful Information, Document heading): The information and analysis of the effect that the Council's policies and practices have had on people from equality/protected groups are available in the Equality Impact Assessments that we have undertaken. Staff Equality monitoring data. Statistical information on the population of Surrey Heath is used as evidence when considering policies and practices and is available on Surrey-i. Opens in a new window. The Council's Narrative of our journey towards the 'Achieving' level of the Equality Framework and case studies referred to above.