Appendix 1 - Equal Opportunities
The Social Services Directorate believes in and is working towards creating a fair society that gives everyone an equal chance to live free from discrimination, harassment and prejudice.
We support the Government's vision of an equal society where everyone is treated with respect and where there is opportunity for all. We are committed to the Equality and Human Rights legislation, and as a Directorate of Devon County Council we support the Devon Justice Through Equality Policy and its six associated policies.
The Social Services Directorate is committed to ensuring that its employees and the people it serves are not discriminated against on the basis of their:
- Religion or belief
- Ethnicity or national origins, race or colour
Throughout its work, the Social Services Directorate of Devon County Council is committed to reflecting the full diversity of the community it serves, and to promoting equality of opportunity for everyone. We accept that the Directorate is not free of unintended institutional discrimination. We will work to eliminate it.
We aim to ensure equal access to our services by all citizens on the basis of need, and to provide services in a manner that is sensitive to the individual whatever their background. We will represent the needs of our diverse communities to other agencies and make equal opportunities a key guiding principle in all our work with our partners. We will ensure that our workforce reflects the community we serve, and will take positive action to realise the Council's 'Justice Through Equality Policy'.
We are committed to eliminating discrimination on grounds of age; disability; colour, ethnic origin, national origin or race; gender; HIV status; marital status; religious belief; responsibility for dependants; sexuality, and unrelated criminal conviction.
It is the responsibility of every member of the Directorate to uphold and implement this policy.
Aims of the policy
These are threefold:
- To promote and demonstrate fairness and equality of opportunity in the provision of services
- To promote and demonstrate fairness and equality of opportunity in the employment of staff
- To achieve measurable progress against agreed targets in mainstreaming equal opportunities throughout the Council and in all our Directorate's operations.
To achieve this we aim:
- To ensure the participation of people from minority groups in the design of services and the practice of service delivery to provide better services reflecting the needs of all members of these communities.
- To provide appropriate, accessible and effective services and facilities to all sections of the community without prejudice or bias.
- To regularly review our service plans and performance to ensure that we are achieving fairness for all to ensure that we are not discriminating on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief, age and / or ethnicity.
- To promote mainstreaming and develop service plans to achieve equal opportunities in the impact of our service delivery for all the people of Devon.
- To ensure that our service policies, plans and procedures are fair, comply with all relevant legislation and are free from discriminatory practice.
- To ensure that businesses we contract with to provide services or who receive funding to provide a service comply with a minimum commitment to Equal Opportunities.
- To ensure that our communities are aware of their rights to fair and consistent treatment when using our services and of their right to complain if they believe they have been treated unfairly.
- To provide training to our staff to inform them of their duties and responsibility to provide services free of bias or unlawful discrimination.
- To ensure that individuals are able to use our services free from discrimination or harassment from others and to take steps in law to support the right.
We believe that our success as a Directorate depends on gaining the trust and confidence of all sections of the community we serve. It also depends on employing and developing our staff to their full potentials irrespective of their age, sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation, so that we are able to provide appropriate quality services that all sections of this community rightfully deserve.
We believe that if everyone is to feel valued and we are to enable individual employees to give their best, we must create and sustain a working environment that is fair to all, values and benefits from diversity and is free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
We also have an obligation to uphold the law. Various laws underpin this Equal Opportunities policy, and contravention may expose the Council, the Directorate and the responsible individual(s) to the risk of legal proceedings. We will be proactive in our approach by identifying and remedying any potential discrimination before it occurs.
We therefore aim through commitment and action, to promote and demonstrate fairness in the services we provide, in the employment and treatment of staff, and to be able to continuously progress on equal opportunities against measurable targets in all our operations.