To provide an update on matters relating to Equalities and Inclusion matters within the organisation since the date of the last report to OSCOM. (20 minutes)
Consideration was given to a report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services which provided members with an update on matters relating to Equalities and Inclusion matters within the organisation since the date of the last report to the Committee.
At the OSCOM away day Members were advised that an update on the areas of Equalities and Inclusion would be provided during the course of the year. The Committee last received a report in April 2019, in a report headed ‘Disability Review’ which fed back on a programme of work focussed on developing mechanisms for review of equality issues as part of an evidence-led approach to decision-making. The Committee endorsed the findings of the review.
There are two Equality Objectives which are published as part of the Council’s Corporate Plan.
To strengthen the Council’s evidence-led approach for developing new policy and strategy. By developing a suite of engagement tools and clear processes that will enable the needs and views of people who share a protected characteristic are understood.
To strengthen the Council’s approach to understanding the experience people have of the services they receive. We will develop ways in which the views of people who share a protected characteristic are sought as part of reviewing how services are provided.
These objectives in turn feed into the Council’s Core Values and are also published as part of the Corporate Plan, one of which is ‘Inclusiveness’: ‘ we value diversity, promote equality of opportunity for all and ensure that our services are accessible to everyone in Test Valley’.
In order to assist compliance with the Council’s Public Sector Equality Duty and other Equality Act obligations, statistics are collated and published annually in relation to protected characteristics across the Borough.
In answer to a question the Head of Legal and Democratic Services reported that in order to meet the two objectives the Council makes use of focus groups, citizens assembly and experts and informs and educates. On the subject of the data published in March 2021 regarding protected characteristics across the Test Valley the Head of Legal and Democratic Services will undertake to ascertain more detailed data on the north and south split within the Borough.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services will look into the details of the 18 affordable housing units delivered in the year with wheelchair access as set out in 2.13.10 of the report.
Members suggested that developers should take into account equalities and diversity issues when designing developments and this should be included in our internal policies for example the Local Plan.
That the content of the report be endorsed.