RACE EQUALITY SCHEME 2009 - 2012 Human Resources and Development Division November 08 v1.1 Foreword Working with its partners across the town, Crawley Borough Council has clearly signalled its commitment to helping sustain a cohesive, diverse and tolerant community. In 2002 the Council introduced a Race Equality Scheme and more recently complemented this with a Corporate Equality Scheme which has been developed to provide a consistent approach to Equality and Diversity for the Council. The result has been to identify and take action in a number of areas to support excluded, marginalised, hard-to-reach and disadvantaged groups. A key part of this approach is recognising the special and particular needs that different groups have, both in our town and within the Council and regularly monitoring and reviewing our actions. We are therefore delighted, in accordance with this commitment and with equalities legislation, to bring forward a new Race Equality Scheme. In it, we seek to provide a firm policy foundation for raising awareness corporately of the need to ensure race equality in our service provision and employment practices, and set out how we propose to engage with the community and staff, and perhaps most importantly, commit the Council to action. The Race Equality Scheme has been prepared within the context of the Corporate Equality Scheme and having full regard to the need to develop further equality schemes, around age, faith and religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. Taken together these will play a key part in the Council’s work around the broader issues of social inclusion and community cohesion. We would stress - and give our personal commitment to – the importance of ensuring that this work goes much further than just the development of policies and production of documents. Through them, we wish to establish and embed principles and values concerning equalities and diversity, that will become not just woven into, but part of the fabric of the culture of Crawley Borough Council. We hope that you value this scheme as a ‘work in progress’ and that you find it of interest as a reference source, a ‘call for action’ or as a tool to help you achieve its objectives. Should you have any comments or queries regarding our Race Equality Scheme please do not hesitate to contact us. CLLR BOB LANZER LEE HARRIS Leader Chief Executive 2 Contents Page Foreword 2 Contents 3 Chapter 1 Strategic approach to Equality and 4 Diversity at Crawley Borough Council Chapter 2 Introduction to the Race Equality Scheme 5 Chapter 3 Progress to date 6 Chapter 4 Race Equality in context 6 Chapter 5 Involvement of community and workforce in development 8 of the Scheme Chapter 6 Current Position Statement 9 Chapter 7 Information, consultation and communication 12 Chapter 8 Monitoring & review of Scheme 14 Chapter 9 Comments and Complaints 15 The Race Equality Scheme is available in other languages and formats language/format below, on request. Please indicate your preferred format below, and returnand return this section to the address this section to the address below.below. Alternatively contact Maggie Maxwell on 01293 438452. Braille Large Print Audio Tape Computer Disk Language Please indicate what language you require 3 Chapter 1 Our Strategic Approach to Equality & Diversity at Crawley Borough Council. The Council’s Race Equality Scheme is a key component of a comprehensive approach to community cohesion, social inclusion and equality and diversity which flows from the Sustainable Community Strategy for Crawley and the Council’s corporate plan, Aiming for Excellence. The Corporate Equality Scheme sets out this framework in detail and identifies the Council’s commitment to equality and diversity under 6 key headings: • Culture of Equality – To develop a culture of understanding and commitment to equality, and to ensure that the Council’s service delivery, employment policies and procedures, are compliant with legislative requirement. • Positive Promotion – To positively promote all aspects of equalities, and set behavioural and performance expectations for staff in relation to customer care, service provision and dignity at work. • Identifying Improvement – To assess, monitor and improve services using the Generic Equality Assessment process, and improve monitoring information in relation to levels of under representation within the workforce, recruitment and the take up of services. • Working in Partnership – To work in partnership with other agencies, voluntary organisations and community groups to improve access to services and employment opportunities, removing barriers and delivering targeted positive action. • Supporting Staff – To identify and support the needs of staff in under represented groups through the establishment of staff forums and support groups, and increase the level of support groups within all levels of the workforce. • Developing Initiatives – To ensure that the Council develops and implements initiatives and projects that enable members of the community and employees to be treated fairly and equally in all areas of service delivery and employment. Other key components for the successful implementation of equality schemes set out in the Corporate Scheme include: • Framework for leadership and direction by Members and Officers of the Council • Arrangements for consultation and engagement of the community and of Council employees The Race Equality Scheme is therefore integral to the Corporate Equality Scheme and should be read in conjunction with this document. 4 Chapter 2 Introduction to the Race Equality Scheme The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and subsequent regulations enacted in 2001, created a Race Equality Duty for the public sector. The government recognised that positive steps were needed to promote racial equality and created a general duty and some specific duties on all public authorities including, local councils, to promote race equality. It requires Councils, when considering policies, employing people or delivering services to have due regard to the need to: • Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination • Promote equality of opportunity • Promote good relations between people of different racial groups. The purpose of a Race Equality Scheme is therefore to explain the Council’s values and principles relating to racial equality; identify the areas of activity requiring attention; set out a programme of action for fulfilling these duties; and provide clear benchmarks by which progress can be assessed. Human Rights Act The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) sets out a right for everyone to have access to public services and the right to be treated fairly and with dignity. It includes the right to be safe and protected from harm and the right to take an active part in your community and society. 5 Chapter 3 Progress to Date The Council’s first two Race Equality Schemes covered the period from 2002-2008 and there are many positive outcomes for race equality flowing from the work of the Council and its partners to develop and maintain sustainable communities over this period. For example: • The Council fully complies with CRE’s code of practice for socially rented housing and has a BME Housing Strategy in place. • The proportion of Council employees from black and minority ethnic backgrounds has increased from 4.7% in 2006/2007 to 7% in 2008. • The Council is at Level 2 of the Equality Standard. • An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) toolkit has been developed and a comprehensive training programme has been implemented to ensure that EIA’s are carried out across the organisation. • A BME staff group has been established. • Equality and diversity requirements have been written into all tendering documentation and into the Council’s Procurement Strategy and Code. • Co-ordination of the Interfaith Network in Crawley has been established through our Community Development Team • Racist incident reporting and the VOICE project for victims of racist incidents and hate crime (and domestic violence) have been developed in partnership with the West Sussex Community Safety Partnership. A database of incidents has been established across West Sussex and staff training is in place. Whilst these achievements are encouraging, we recognise that there is still much to do to ensure racial equality in employment and service delivery in Crawley. In particular, it is necessary to ensure that the equality impact assessment process is implemented consistently across the organisation and that consultation and engagement with community groups becomes part of the culture of the organisation. 6 Chapter 4 Race Equality in context People of different ethnic backgrounds, will experience different forms of disadvantage depending on their age, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, and whether or not they have a disability. In order to understand and address questions of race equality under the duty, public authorities may need to consider that complexity and whether particular racial groups are experiencing particular disadvantages. Crawley has a larger black and minority ethnic (BME) population than the average for England and the South East Region. In the last census 11.5% of the population was from these groups and the largest proportions were from Asian groups. Net inward migration to the UK has accelerated in recent years and the information from the census is now unlikely to represent a true picture of the ethnic composition of Crawley. There is no reliable means of estimating the distribution of migrants in the UK or how many have settled in Crawley but some insight can be gained by considering a range of data including requests for national insurance numbers, the workers registration scheme and electoral roll data. This information suggests that Polish, Indian and Lithuanian migrants are the most common but the key message from this data is that Crawley has an enormous diversity within its population with 61 different nationalities from within the European Union and the Commonwealth alone. Two of the wards which have the highest levels of black and minority ethnic residents are amongst the five most deprived wards in Crawley and are also within the 10% most deprived wards across West Sussex. The Council regularly consults residents on perceptions of the town and its neighbourhoods. In 2008, 40% felt that Crawley is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together and 39% felt that the benefits of cultural integration are promoted. Crawley Borough Council in context Workforce Race Profile Crawley Borough Council‘s workforce currently comprises some 776 members of staff. The percentage of people from a BME community within the workforce does not reflect the community of Crawley. 7% of staff are from a BME background, with 2.6% of staff in the top 10% of earners are from a BME background. (Figures at October 2008 do not include white European people within the BME percentages). 7 Chapter 5 Involvement of the community and workforce in developing the Scheme Crawley Borough Council recognises that a successful scheme must meet the needs of all racial groups, and must be developed through involvement with the community and staff. The Council also remains committed to working in partnership with local focus groups to ensure a successful delivery of the race equality agenda. This Scheme has been developed in consultation with staff, Trade Union representatives and the community, and is focussed on issues for the Council to deliver on including raising awareness, and integrating the involvement of the community and staff in determining priorities for action in all our policy and service planning processes. The Corporate Equality Scheme action plan does have a range of race equality specific and generic equality actions already in place and these have been updated as a result of this consultation. It is important that this Scheme remains in constant review to ensure that the proposals are in line with the views of staff and the community and offers the Council an opportunity for real engagement and involvement. Engaging the community and workforce as part of our consultation programme included surveys and working with other community organisations and support groups. Internally, consultation has taken place with officers within the Council in a range of service areas including community safety, community development, arts, communications, customer contact centre, human resources, leisure services, economic development, housing and benefits, staff forums and the Trade Union Now that the consultation is complete, the Scheme will be formally published and launched within the local community. It will be made available through a range of formats and will also be accessible through the website. 8 Chapter 6 Current Position Statement In implementing the actions of this Scheme, the Council does not have to begin with a blank sheet of paper and is instead able to expand upon the practices that are already in place to promote race equality both in service delivery and employment. Generally, this progress has included increasing the amount of public consultation and community engagement that the Council undertakes every year, and the introduction of equality impact assessments for our key policies and practices. Employment The Council currently monitors the ethnicity of its staff and potential applicants for a range of Human Resources and employee development practices and will continue with this practice. Equality impact assessments have been carried out on policies relevant to our workforce to ensure that no race discrimination exists. In addition, a number of these policies are already designed to promote equality of opportunity and to tackle harassment and bullying. Our workforce profile does not reflect the community that we serve in Crawley and this will be difficult to achieve as the commute to work area for the majority of our employees is across Sussex and Surrey where the black and minority ethnic representation in the community is much lower. It is a concern that the top 10% of our posts have only 2.6% representation from BME staff. Action is being taken to create career pathways and to promote talent management for staff within the Council to make it easier for those in more junior roles to be promoted to more senior roles. Plans are also in place to work with local community groups to promote the Council as an employer and to provide help and advice on applying for jobs and attending interviews. Equality and Diversity Training The purpose of training is to provide managers and employees with the skills and knowledge they need to ensure that equality becomes part of our day-to-day activities. It also helps to create a culture where diversity is truly valued and is seen as an asset to help deliver all the Council’s objectives. An equality and diversity training plan, with a range of learning and development options has been agreed by Corporate Management Team. This includes training on Equality Impact Assessments, a programme to create a team of Equalities Champions to promote a culture of equality across the organisation and an e-learning package or workbooks for all staff to ensure a consistent understanding of our commitment to equality and diversity. The plan will be regularly reviewed to ensure it continues to provide the tools for staff to promote race equality through their roles. Tackling Harassment and Discrimination The Council is committed to tackling all forms of harassment, including racial harassment. In the 2008 staff survey, 10% of staff that responded stated that they had been subjected to some form of discrimination or harassment by another employee. This is an improvement on the responses from previous surveys but the 9 Council is keen to reduce this percentage further. Harassment is not tolerated by the Council, and we have specific procedures to deal with such allegations. The Fairness at Work procedure is regularly reviewed to ensure that it continues to reflect best practice and that all employees are aware of the support and advice available if they experience harassment. It also identifies the option of mediation for cases where both parties feel this would be an appropriate way to address concerns and reverse any discriminatory actions or practices. Staff have been trained in mediation skills to ensure this option is available. We also have a ‘whistle blowing ‘procedure, which extends the protection for employees who want to report bad practice without fear of being victimised as a result. Service Delivery The Council intends that all of its services should be fully accessible to all parts of the community. Over the coming three years we will, focus on a range of work designed to build on the initial programme in our first two Race Equality Schemes. In particular, we will be continuing the programme of Equality Impact Assessments which are designed to highlight and eliminate any factors which indirectly discriminate by making a service less accessible to particular groups. We will review our consultation processes to ensure that all communities have an opportunity to influence and inform the decisions that are made on their behalf and to promote and encourage involvement by increasing the capacity of those groups to participate in the consultation process. By doing this we will better understand the needs of all our communities which will help us to improve access to and satisfaction with all our services. The development of a Community Cohesion Group working with partner organisations such as the police and the County Council will allow us to develop a local community cohesion action plan. Increased resources within community development will enable us to improve engagement with Crawley’s diverse communities to encourage greater cohesion and integration. Some services already use monitoring information to develop services which meet the needs of all communities within Crawley. In Community Services, this has highlighted that, relative to population composition, participation from ethnic minority communities in sport and physical activity is lower than participation across the whole community. This data has been used to prioritise new work aimed at increasing participation from these communities including a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund to support targeted sports development work with Black and Minority Ethnic Communities and a number of Programmes being developed through the Health and Well Being Partnership. Participation will be monitored through the annual Active People Survey and there is a commitment to undertake benchmarking at K2 on a three yearly basis. We will continue to develop monitoring arrangements across our services to identify barriers and concerns and to improve access and satisfaction levels. The BME Housing Strategy which was formally adopted by the Council in 2008 will focus on understanding more about the needs and aspirations of the different communities living in Crawley, ensuring equality of opportunity and race equality in access to housing and other related services and working with partners to ensure that housing and related services are appropriate to the diverse cultures that exist within the town. 10 Crawley Homes have developed service standards for improving access to housing services for members of the BME community and will now focus on reviewing their racial harassment policy each year to ensure that it continues to support victims of racial harassment and enables them to remain within their homes. 11 Chapter 7 Information, Consultation and Communication Community engagement and involvement is an important part of how the Council can continue to develop its services to ensure these meet the needs of local people. We are also committed to providing a workplace culture that respects the individuality of our workforce and promotes equality. To ensure the contents of this Scheme meet the above objectives, a wide-ranging internal and external consultation process has been undertaken. Within the Council the following stakeholders have been consulted: • Staff, including members of the BME support group • Trade Unions The following organisations and partners have been approached for their views on the approach the Council has decided to take: • Crawley Ethnic Minorities Partnership (CEMP) • Moroccan Workers Association • Bangladeshi Welfare Association • Crawley Kashmiri Women’s Welfare Association • Crawley Tamil Human Rights Association • Crawley Local Strategic Partnership – various organisations The consultation process is now complete and feedback from the community and through our internal mechanisms indicates that they are satisfied that the scheme sets out realistic milestones. The Council recognises the importance of informing both the community and its workforce of what the race equality duty means to people and how we intend to deliver our social responsibilities. It is important to be clear however, that the ongoing development of this scheme and others like it, must be driven from the involvement of the community and workforce concerned, and driven by the needs, priorities and barriers to be addressed that have been identified by them. To do this we will continue to work with our existing internal and external networks and explore partnership working with other organisations or community groups to establish effective consultation methods for the future development of this scheme. To ensure that the scheme remains relevant it will be reviewed in its entirety in 2012, the input of our community will be key to the development of our objectives and priorities. The contents of this scheme are part of our overall equality and diversity policy framework and this document will be made available to the whole of Crawley’s community and the workforce through a variety of printed and electronic means, including the Council’s website and intranet. We will continue to keep our arrangements for providing information in community language formats under regular review to ensure that information is available in community languages on request. We will also ensure that a summary of the Race Equality Scheme is available to those who request it. Chapter 8 Monitoring and reviewing the Scheme It is clear that the Race Equality Scheme will only be genuinely effective if all the actions and commitments within it are implemented and completed. Heads of Service will have responsibility for the initial monitoring and review of the action plan. Progress on the action plan and further areas for development are fed back through the Corporate Equalities Champion to the Corporate Management Team and the Member Champion for Equalities. At a Directorate level the actions identified by the Scheme are incorporated into the relevant directorate service plans, with annual reviews and impact assessments incorporated as part of this process. The rolling 3-year impact assessment programme currently under development will provide a framework for the ongoing review of services, with new policies and functions being reviewed through the service planning process. Progress on the actions identified by this scheme will be published in an annual report and made publicly available. The progression of specific actions throughout the year will be reported through relevant Committee Reports and information available on the Council’s website. Chapter 9 Comments and Complaints We believe in continual improvement, and are very keen to hear what people think of Crawley Borough Council’s services. For individuals wishing to make contact with the Council in relation to the development of this scheme, including the identification of issues and barriers being faced by people from BME backgrounds, the responsible officer is: Lucasta Grayson Head of HR & Development Crawley Borough Council Town Hall The Boulevard Crawley RH10 1UZ Tel: 01293 438 213 Fax: 01293 438 600 Minicom: 01293 405 202 E-mail: email@example.com Members of the local community can raise race issues with their local Councillor or through the West Sussex Racist Incident Reporting Team at Chichester on 01243 382948. In addition, mechanisms are in place to ensure concerns over race issues from members of staff are addressed through various routes. These include: • Discussing concerns with line managers • Raising issues with the Staff Forum • Use of the Whistle-blowing Policy and Procedure • The Grievance Procedure • Fairness at Work Procedure • Health and Safety Policies and Procedures Unison can also be contacted through the Unison main office on 01293 438481. Publication of the Race Equality Scheme A copy of the Scheme can be obtained from the Human Resources and Development Division, Crawley Borough Council, Town Hall, The Boulevard, Crawley, RH10 1UZ, and is also available via the Council’s website (www.crawley.gov.uk).
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