Agenda item

Report of the Chief Executive (Interim) on the learning and findings of the Race Equality Audit, delivery against the commitments in the Council’s Strategic Plan and the detailed work done since, attached.

Decision:

RESOLVED

(a) that the progress on race equality made throughout 2022 be noted;

 

(b) that the planned next steps to further advance race equality and commit to a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to racism be supported; and

 

(c) that attendance at the elected Member Masterclass on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion ‘Legal and Moral Duties’ on 23rd November 2022 be encouraged.

Minutes:

(Councillors Brazil and Whitton attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

 

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Interim Chief Executive circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.

 

The Report highlighted that the Council’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025 which set out the Council’s commitment to becoming an organisation that was intolerant to prejudice and discrimination and helping Devon to be a place that was inclusive, compassionate, and caring, where everyone could feel safe.


The Report provided an update on the progress made throughout 2022 since the publication of the Strategic Plan in December 2021 and the Race Equality Audit in January 2022.

 

There had been a lot of work in responding to the learning and findings of the Race Equality Audit and deliver against the commitments in the Council’s Strategic Plan.

 

The initial steps included a key action in the Strategic Plan 2021/2025 to consider the findings of the Race Equality Audit and implement its recommendations. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) function moved to Organisational Change Team for wider access to support and embed EDI into the Council’s organisational change work and also included an additional budget. Other actions included a raised awareness of the unacceptable behaviour help line and relaunching the It’s ok to say it’s not ok campaign.

 

A cross organisational Race Equality Delivery Group was developing an Anti-Racism Framework (how the Council would address racism in the workplace and community), a Race Equality Staff Group met regularly and provided direction, leadership and prioritisation for the Council’s race equality work.  There were key connections with the Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equalities and the Chair of the Council who cited inclusivity, diversity and equality as one of his priorities.

 

Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee (CIRS) had agreed to monitor the progress against the Race Equality Action Plan and an Elected Member Masterclass was taking place in November.

 

A number of actions were also in train for raising awareness and understanding, including the Council’s Core Principles and Behaviours Framework, equality statement for use in recruitment, iTrent data and improved and increased communications to staff. Training and Development was also being strengthened.

 

In terms of moving forwards (as well as continuing delivery against the Race Equality Framework and Action Plan), an area of focus would be providing protection for staff at risk of identity-based harm including taking a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to racism and a number of mechanisms for improved protection for staff at risk.

 

The Cabinet noted that the Race Equality Framework and Race Equality Action Plan contributed positively to public sector equality duties to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations for the protected characteristic of race (Equality Act 2010). The activities would have a positive equality impact for the protected characteristic of race.

 

The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability, risk management, equality and legal considerations and public health impact) set out in the Interim Chief Executive’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:

 

it was MOVED by Councillor Croad, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and

 

RESOLVED

 

(a) that the progress on race equality made throughout 2022 be noted;

 

(b) that the planned next steps to further advance race equality and commit to a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to racism be supported; and

 

(c) that attendance at the elected Member Masterclass on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion ‘Legal and Moral Duties’ on 23rd November 2022 be encouraged.

Supporting documents: