Our corporate equality objectives

Main ‘business as usual’ equality objectives for April 2019 to March 2022:

Activity Evidence (measure) Key performance information April 2019 to March 2020 Links to Strategic Intent
1.    Equality Reference Group (ERG) continue to 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’.

Services attending Equality Reference Group Surgeries as highlighted in Equality Reference Group newsletters.

Scrutiny Committee workplans/reports.

ERG consulted on:

  • Equality Policy
  • Diversity Guide
  • Gender Pay Gap
  • Health and Wellbeing Strategy
  • Involvement in procurement exercises
  • Market Position Statement for Adult Social Care

Involved in:

  • Adult social care providers Provider Engagement Network (PEN) conference on the theme: Serving Everyone – meeting diverse needs in changing times.

 

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. % of decisions to Cabinet which include a sufficient impact assessment (part of risk management).

Coronavirus update:

Devon County Council is playing its part, along with all the other local authorities in the county, in the national effort to reduce the spread of infection, provide vital support for vulnerable people and supporting local economies. The impact of the pandemic has been assessed and equality issues are being considered as part of its Pandemic Incident Management, Local Outbreak Management, and Recovery activities.

Published Impact Assessments.

95% compliance (Score: 19/20 two reports graded at 0.5 for partial assessments) See good decisions being made
3.   Monitor for unacceptable behaviour (including sexual harassment) and continuously promote a culture of ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘it’s OK to say it’s not OK’.

Unacceptable behaviour monitoring reports and number of incidents that have been resolved sufficiently.

Communications via staff news and Inside Devon.

Information on complaints and incidents. 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. 

 

Involvement with community events with an equality and diversity focus – including those held online (activities will be captured in Equality Reference Group newsletters).

DCC social media activity – Twitter, Facebook with equality and diversity elements.

Information displays at DCC sites.

Communications via staff news and Inside Devon.

DCC presence at Exeter Pride 2019 (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.

Regular meetings of Staff Diversity Reference Group and LGBT+ network.

Feedback from members.

In addition, BAME social care staff are invited to join a joint network with the NHS.

Staff Diversity Reference Group consulted on:

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • When we work (flexible working etc.)
  • Where we work (office spaces etc.)
  • Travel.

 

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 Profile

Equality information

Health and Wellbeing Profile includes equality and diversity aspects.

Impact Assessments include good equality data.

Consultations reach out to diverse groups. Forums for participation are inclusive.

Visibility of equality and diversity narrative in service (including partnership) reports and strategies.

Community Insight Survey carried out during 2019 and published early 2020 (Results published on Equality Information page).

See results above for Impact Assessment.

 

See good decisions being made (Smarter Devon)

 

 

Projects:

 

Activity Why is this needed? When Evidence (measure)
7.    Review and implement new equality learning and development options for staff and introduce cultural competency guidance alongside improvements to general awareness training

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

Budget limitations have, over the years, meant that our focus on equality training has reduced and we need to reverse that.

We have developed an LGBT toolkit and identified a need for a cultural competency toolkit.

 

 

Phase 1: January 2019 to December 2020

Phase 2: October 2020 to June 2021

Phase 1:

‘Cultural competency’ guidance published as part of Diversity Guide.

A new and comprehensive Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Essentials e-learning package is now available for all staff and is mandatory (on joining and once every two years). Deadline for all staff completion: October 2021. Count at March 2021: 2799 (57%) completions.

Phase 2:

Advanced Equality, Diversity and Inclusion e-learning package published in November 2020, initial courses include Unconscious Race Bias (96 people have taken part in 4 months), and Deaf Awareness.

Cultural competency mentoring programme for Leadership Group to start in 2021.

8.   Review and update the Equality Policy to ensure DCC sets out a clear message of its commitment to equality and staff expectations. Our equality policy was last published in 2012 and our organisation has changed a lot since then, we need to ensure it is aligned to our new structures and ways of working. A refresh is needed from time to time to re-engage staff in understanding expected standards of work. April 2019

Complete:

Equality Policy published.

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. April 2019 to December 2019 (on hold due to coronavirus pandemic) BSL Charter audit published.
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. September 2019 to March 2020 (on hold due to coronavirus pandemic) Review of foreign language interpreting/translation provision underway but completion now estimated July 2021.
11. Devon County Council becomes a Breastfeeding Positive organisation (initiative led by Public Health) Breastfeeding has many proven public health benefits and as a local authority we have a remit to promote public health. A breastfeeding mother may need to feed her baby or express breastmilk every four hours. This not only maintains nutrition for her baby and protects her milk supply but also prevents her from becoming unwell due to complications caused by static milk. In addition to their rights under the Equality Act 2010 to be able to breastfeed in public spaces, we need to ensure that mothers visiting DCC and staff returning from maternity leave are able to breastfeed and express milk safely and comfortably. September 2019

Breastfeeding Statement published.

Maternity policy and New and Expectant Mothers Risk Assessment includes consideration of breastfeeding mother’s needs.

Breastfeeding statement is part of the Induction Checklist.

12. Encouraging employment of disabled people, including those with learning disability, mental health conditions and neuro-diversity (autism etc.)

The Ready When You Are campaign is encouraging businesses to become “Disability Confident”.

A Disability Employment Hub will build on the success of the Ready When You Are campaign in order to support employers and businesses to provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with a disability or long-term health condition. It will include training, a support network for employers and online information and resources.

March 2020

144 businesses have signed up to the Disability Confident initiative via the Ready When You Are campaign.

On #PurpleTuesday 2019 we unveiled details of our new employer support service (the Disability Employment Hub) launched in early 2020.

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.

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.

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 to be carried out from January 2021 involving local community anti-racism activists.

Also links with items 7 and 13 above.