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Published July 2021
1. Norwich City Council is committed to equality for all residents of Norwich. This is through the delivery of accessible, fair services, as an employer, contractor of services and a community leader. The council celebrates diversity and the contribution different groups make to the vibrant city of Norwich.
2. This is about making sure we and the services that we deliver and contract out do not discriminate against someone because of perceived difference. It also means that we take an active role as a leader in the community,and remove barriers to participation and access for all members of the community. We can do this through implementing robust policies. For example:
- taking appropriate action if unlawful discrimination is identified
- consulting with community groups, such as disability awareness groups
- supporting and promoting community and cultural events, for example black history month.
3. Taking a positive approach to diversity creates a cycle of improvement in service provision. By demonstrating we value all aspects of the community we are strengthening it as a whole.
Our ambition for Norwich
4. Norwich has a long history of being a radical, innovative city. We are increasingly recognised for our strong economy, quality of life and vibrancy. But we know there are some parts of our city where there is inequality and poverty that we must continue to challenge and tackle.
The Norwich 2040 City Vision brings the whole city, its people, businesses and institutions working together to make the Norwich of 2040 the best place to be. It will be a fair city where people care about equality; there will be a fair system; and communities are diverse. Equality, diversity and inclusion underpins the vision’s work and associated partnerships.
Our ambition as an organisation
5. Norwich City Council is at the heart of the city. We work creatively, flexibly and in partnership with others to create a city of which we can all be proud. We provide good services to our residents, visitors and businesses, whilst enabling people to help themselves and ensuring that those who need extra help can access it.
6. Our ambition as a council is to become an agile, collaborative, learning organisation where:
- we celebrate and respect equality, diversity and inclusion
- residents are at the heart of everything we do
- we understand and listen to our communities
- employees take responsibility and feel empowered to succeed
- we attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce
- resources are aligned to deliver our corporate priorities.
- we build confidence across the organisation, our partnerships and support networks
- people can work and live in a safe and inclusive environment.
7. Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the lives of the people of Norwich. Its consequences have already and will continue to reshape the city, impacting in particular those who were already experiencing deprivation across all protected characteristics.
8. It is important that the council not only focuses on how, as an organisation, it recovers and responds to challenges faced as a result of the pandemic but also the leading role it plays in the wider recovery of the city. The council published its blueprint for recovery in June 2020.
9. The Equality Act 2010 provides the framework of protection from discrimination, victimisation and harassment. Norwich City Council aims to meet its legal requirements under the public sector equality duty by having due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
- foster good relations across all characteristics – between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
10. This document meets the requirements under the following legislation:
- The Equality Act 2010, which introduced the public sector equality duty and protects people from discrimination.
- The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, which require local authorities to publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the public sector equality duty and to publish equality objectives.
11. Equality is a theme running throughout our Corporate Plan 2019-22 which supports our vision to make Norwich a fine city for all by putting people and the city first.
12. This policy covers the 12-month period of 2021/22. During this time, work will take place on developing a revised policy and objectives that will be informed by:
- engagement and consultation with communities, partners and employees
- a council wide equalities review
- political priorities for 2021/22 and 2022/23 and a revised Corporate Plan 2022/23
- Covid-19 blueprint for recovery.
13. Cabinet will:
- ensure that the equality information and objectives as set out in this policy are published and communicated throughout the council, and that they are reviewed and updated at least once every four years
- delegate responsibility for monitoring the achievement of the objectives on a quarterly basis to the corporate leadership team.
14. The council’s equality, diversity and inclusion lead is the strategy manager. They will:
- work with the equality representatives across the organisation and other relevant officers, to discuss any issues and how these are being addressed
- promote knowledge and understanding of the equality objectives amongst officers and members
- maintain a watching brief on appropriate equality and diversity legislation and case law
- report back to the senior leadership team and corporate leadership team regarding any issues
- monitor success in achieving the objectives and report back to the senior leadership team and the corporate leadership team
- support HR in identifying any employee and member training needs
- meet with the Cabinet’s portfolio holder for social inclusion to discuss any issues and progress in achieving the objectives.
15. All managers and team leaders are expected to have due regard to this document and to work to achieve the objectives as set out later in this document.
16. Where applicable, Equality Impact Assessments accompany major decisions made at the council.
17. In our service provision, the council will:
- communicate information clearly using plain language and different formats, such as translated services, large print, or Braille where appropriate
- make sure our services are accessible
- assess the needs of, and engage with, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups to ensure services do not negatively impact them
- monitor use of services
- promote positive images to counter discrimination
- respond proactively to reports of discrimination and harassment
- promote good relations between community groups
- monitor policies and procedures to assess their effectiveness for disadvantaged groups
- monitor effectiveness of contractors in their commitment to equalities
- consult internally and externally regarding our equality commitments.
18. As an employer we will:
- ensure that recruitment, retention, redundancy and redeployment policies and processes are fair and transparent
- make reasonable adjustments so that potential barriers are removed for disabled employees
- regularly review our policies and procedures to make sure they comply with legislation and good practice
- publicise our commitment to equality to potential job applicants
- be robust in our response to complaints of discrimination or harassment from employees
- make clear our requirements of employees regarding equality and inclusivity for all
- encourage applications from people with non-standard qualifications and lived experience.
19. From our employees we expect:
- adherence to the council’s code of conduct
- a workplace environment that respects individual differences and is free from discrimination or harassment
- the customer to be at the heart of everything we do
- individuals to treat each other with dignity and respect
- inequality to be challenged
- equality of opportunity to be promoted.
Develop a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy by June 2022.
To ensure that our services are accessible to all, promoting a city that is diverse, inclusive and fair, and representative of the communities we serve.
- Engage and consult with a wide range of residents across all of the different characteristics, from all of our diverse communities, partners and employees to ensure that the Strategy is as meaningful as possible for Norwich
- Improve the quality of information we collect and how we use it
- Gather robust evidence and ensure transparency
- Continue to identify and review inequalities that have been exacerbated by Covid-19 for all protected characteristics and identity action to address any impact
Strategy and enabling teams
Redesign council services and reshape teams around the needs of users, creating more joined up and accessible services which are in tune with the changing needs and behaviours of those we serve by January 2023.
To create a council which is sustainable, diverse and inclusive with an organisational structure and culture which is fit for the future.
Through the Future Shape Norwich programme
Strategy and transformation team.
Understand our communities and celebrate and respect diversity.
To enable us to support people and our communities to understand each other and their differences such that they can live, work and study in a healthy, inclusive and safe environment.
- Continue to work with stakeholders to promote social cohesion
- Work more collaboratively with partners to embed early intervention and prevention, across the system
- Develop a Citizen Participation Blueprint which looks at how the council can work with communities across the city to enable them to have their voices heard, influence decisions, be involved in finding solutions to challenges and issues that affect them and actively help to frame future plans.
- Further develop the existing Reducing Inequalities Target Areas initiative by creating a revised programme and plan for delivery with clearly defined outcomes
Strategy and transformation team
Recruit, develop and retain a diverse and representative workforce.
- To ensure that managers and team leaders have the confidence to support and engage the diversity of customers and residents in the city
- To provide equality of opportunity and improve employee voice on equality issues
- To have a greater representation of employees with protected characteristics across the council’s workforce in line with the profile of the city’s residents (based on Census 2011 and revised data following Census 2021)
- Develop and improve employee skills by providing Leading Equality and Diversity Training which is designed specifically for managers and team leaders
- Develop an action plan to address our workforce profile
- Introduce Employee Networks to champion equalities, build relationships and ensure colleagues are engaged and supported
20. The monitoring arrangements for the council’s equality policy are:
the strategy team will update the equality information we publish every year.