Our corporate equality objectives

Continuous equality objectives 

Activity Key activities and performance information – April 2020 to March 2021 summary Links to Strategic Intent
1. Equality Reference Group (ERG) support and challenge services through ERG Surgeries or Scrutiny Committees, ensuring that service plans and policies include sufficient equality considerations, recognising good practice and impact of work, and helping the organisation to ‘join up’. ERG consulted on:

  • Pandemic management impact assessments
  • Guidance on end of life care during a pandemic
  • Community tensions during lockdown
  • Covid-19 vaccination and testing
  • Monitoring equality and diversity in the care sector
  • Encouraging participation in the 2021 Census (with the SW Census team).

Evidence:

Equality Reference Group newsletters.

No Scrutiny activities took place with ERG during 2020 and 2021.

See good decisions being made

2. Impact Assessment is used to ensure DCC meets its Public Sector Equality Duties and puts people at the heart of decisions.

Target: 100% of decisions to Cabinet include a sufficient equality impact assessment.

95% of decisions to Cabinet included a sufficient impact assessment. This is the same performance as the previous year.

Reported internally via risk management.

Published Impact Assessments.

See good decisions being made
3. Monitor for unacceptable behaviour (including sexual harassment), ensure incidents are resolved satisfactorily and continuously promote a culture of ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘it’s OK to say it’s not OK’.

 

Data update for 20/21 in progress for Information on complaints and incidents

In March 2020, staff were reminded of guidance on Domestic Violence, Abuse and Stalking following public concerns about violence towards women.

 

Keep safe
4. Involvement in events and sharing of information to:

  • engage communities, staff and Members
  • celebrate diversity
  • raise awareness of equality and challenge inequalities
  • promote relevant DCC services, information and employment opportunities. 

Due to the pandemic, involvement in events was restricted during 2020 and 2021.

DCC supported an online event for Black History Month run by Devon Development Education in October 2020.

Article for International Women’s Day on Women in Data

(Cross cutting)

5. Support and promote the Staff Diversity Reference Group and LGBT+ Staff Network, ensuring members have a voice and can influence policy and practice.

 

LGBT = lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans.

The following staff networks are available:

DCC staff networks were encouraged to take part in staff wellbeing surveys.

The Staff Diversity Reference Group were consulted on a series of animated videos about coronavirus for the general public.

See good decisions being made
6. Use data and information (including feedback) about our diverse communities and workforce to inform our strategies, policies and practice.

Equality and diversity data has been a key feature of coronavirus reporting in Local Outbreak Management meetings and the NHS/DCC Inequalities Cell. Inequalities data is also contributing to Recovery planning, with a Dashboard currently in development.

DCC consulted voluntary and community sector organisations on language needs during the pandemic, making information available in different languages and formats and escalating gaps in translations to government departments.

Conversations have begun on the development of an Equality Dashboard.

Key sources of information:

See good decisions being made (Smarter Devon)

 

7. Staff participate in equality, diversity and inclusion corporate training and development

Number of staff who have completed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Essentials course (mandatory within one month of starting or every two years) at March 2021 (1.5 years into launch) = 2,799 (57%).

Once staff have completed the EDI Essentials course, they can participate in an Advanced EDI course:

The Understanding Race Bias e-learning was introduced in November 2020. Staff can choose between the Micro or Managers modules. As at 31 March 2021, 12 people had viewed both the Micro and Managers modules, 45 had viewed the Micro and 4 had viewed the Managers (total of 61 participating). To strengthen the course by introducing an element of accountability and responsibility, an assessment was introduced in March 2021 requiring delegates to answer 3 questions which are graded by the Lead Officer for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Since its introduction, 11 people have received a pass grade (up to 31st March).

Deaf Awareness was introduced in October 2019. Between April 2020 and March 2021 223 people completed the Deaf Awareness e-learning module.

(Members receive a session on ‘understanding and supporting diverse communities’ as part of their Induction)

 

Project based equality objectives

 

Activity Why is this needed? When Progress and further information
7. Develop further equality learning and development options for staff 

We need to continue to ensure staff are competent at meeting people’s needs, reducing inequalities and eliminating unlawful discrimination.

We have published a Diversity Guide and e-learning packages but need to develop more.

 

 

Phase 3: January to July 2021

 

Phase 4:

July 2021 to March 2023

Phase 3:

Pilot of cultural competency mentoring programme for Leadership Group.

Pilot started in January 2021. Mentors were trained and receive regular coaching and mentoring supervision.

Phase 4a:

Development of more Advanced Equality, Diversity and Inclusion e-learning packages including Disability Awareness and LGBT Awareness.

Work has started on a film with staff about Neuro-diversity.

Phase 4b:

Review the cultural competency mentoring programme pilot and consider rolling out further (including running disability and LGBT mentoring).

Pending completion of pilot (phase 3).

9.   Review and report on progress against the BSL Charter, including access to interpreting/BSL video. Devon County Council led the development and implementation of a Devon BSL Charter. The Devon Charter has been replaced by a national Charter from the British Deaf Association and we would like to align to the national Charter. The Charter helps us ensure that Deaf people can access our services and information. Date to be revised On hold due to coronavirus pandemic
10. Review interpreting/translation provision for foreign language. We have a contract for British Sign Language interpreting, but foreign language has always been on an ad-hoc basis due to low usage. In the past, we have supported the development of local interpreting provision. Although still relatively low spend, with increasing usage arising from work such as supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, we need to review our provision so that people who do not speak English can access our services and information through us having access to cost effective and good quality interpreting services. Date to be revised Review of foreign language interpreting and translation provision underway but completion delayed due to pandemic.
13. Achieve 95% completion of DCC staff diversity data for ethnicity and disability

DCC has introduced a new HR system which offers the option of self-completion.

We need to increase the number of staff completing their diversity data so that effective workforce monitoring can take place.

Activity monitored via Risk Register.

March 2021

Work was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are now regularly reminding staff to update their records and seeing an increase in the number of records completed.

Completed records March 2021:

Ethnicity – 2692 (55%)

Disability – 2246 (37%)

(Headcount March 2021: 4,899)

 

14. Race Equality Audit and anti-racism activities

20 years on from the Race Relations (Amendment) Act, despite there being a duty to advance equality, the coronavirus pandemic and UK Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted that the pace of change has been too slow.

 

January 2020 to July 2021.

The Lead Member for Equality initially responded to George Floyd’s death by working with the Corporate Equality Officer to write an article for the staff newsletter explaining what Black Lives Matter means for Devon and the UK, and what resources staff have to ensure they can promote equality at work.

During the pandemic, the Council added Black and Asian ethnicity as a risk factor to its staff Covid Risk Assessment.

We have been creating translated coronavirus information for communities. Cultural/religious needs were also at the centre of thinking around dealing with death and bereavement.

In August 2021, the Council supported the reprinting of historian Todd Gray’s book Devon and the Slave Trade.

In September 2020, two Members (elected County Councillors) took Notices of Motion on Black Lives Matter to Council which have been responded to. This included continuing to support Members to engage with diverse communities and writing to the Secretary of State for Education requesting him to:

  • Capture the voice of children and young people and their responses to the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Ensure that the school environment and curriculum allows all students to see themselves reflected and included.
  • Reflect on how they challenge historic and persisting racist ideas and how they celebrate diversity.

DCC supported four online events marking Black History Month, October 2020 with Devon Development Education.

New guidance on ‘debiasing the system’ has been published as part of our approach to Impact Assessment.

A Race Equality Audit is being carried out between January 2021 and July 2021 involving local anti-racism activists as ‘community observers’.

Cultural Competency Mentoring pilot and Understanding Race Bias training launched.

Conversations being held on broadening the scope of the Ethnic Diversity staff group (Children’s Services).

For further information about performance in meeting equality objectives please see our Newsletters.