Freedom from discrimination and equality of opportunity are basic rights. Devon County Council is committed to challenging inequality and celebrating diversity to achieve the following vision:
- people achieve their own potential and a good quality of life
- everyone can access our services, facilities or information
- there is public involvement and influence in decision-making, planning, policy and service delivery
- Devon is a strong, safe and inclusive community
- people have trust and confidence in us to report incidents of abuse or discrimination
- our workforce, at all levels, is supported and broadly reflects the diversity of the community.
We have signed up to a Devon Joint Declaration for Equality and encourage other organisations to do so.
Under the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority we have legal duties to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other prohibited conduct
- Advance equality of opportunity
- Foster good relations between people
- Publish objectives to demonstrate how we will meet 1-3 above and publish information on our performance and how people are affected by our policies and practices
The duties apply to nine ‘protected characteristics’:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership (in relation to point 1 at work)
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion and belief
- sexual orientation.
The Council acknowledges and welcomes its legal duties and uses the legislation and national guidance as a framework to improve or maintain standards and be accountable to the people it serves. However we are not only driven by legislation – our policy and work programmes are also in response to local needs.
Equality objectives and considerations need to be built into our everyday work – from strategic planning, policy and decision-making right through to how we commission, support or deliver services and employ staff. This requires leadership, political commitment and ownership across all parts of the organisation as well as effective performance monitoring, scrutiny and engagement with individuals, groups and organisations.