On 18th February 2021, at the last full Council meeting, you said that the WBC Equality plan utilised the existing LGA Equality Framework. The Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG) has been successfully implemented by other councils. Based on EFLG process map and WBC’s self-analysis, what is WBC’s assessment of its current level and what is the projected timeframe for attaining each of the subsequent levels i.e. Developing, Achieving and Excellent?
On 18th February 2021, at the last Full Council meeting, you said that the WBC Equality plan utilised the existing LGA Equality Framework. The Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG) has been successfully implemented by other councils. Based on EFLG process map and WBC’s self-analysis, what is WBC’s assessment of its current level and what is the projected timeframe for attaining each of the subsequent levels i.e. Developing, Achieving and Excellent?
Thank you for your question, the LGA framework is a useful tool for Local Government to use to identify areas of activity that need to be addressed to deliver good equality outcomes and provides a framework for monitoring and measuring progress. We used the LGA Equality Framework for the basis of the Equalities Audit that was carried out through 2019/2020. Whilst this did not provide an overall rating it did identify areas for improvement. The revised Equality Plan and first year action plan have been informed by the LGA framework and also through stakeholder engagement and consultation.
As set out in the plan, it is intended that we will carry out a self-assessment in quarter 4 of the first-year plan period. This will provide us with a self-analysis rating.
As I have shared before, my focus is to create the architecture within the Council and the Borough to make meaningful progress in tackling inequality. We know that not everybody shares equally in the benefits of living here – and we are committed to tackling that issue. Inequality can be suffered for a whole range of reasons – age, gender, sexuality, race and disability among others – but it is never acceptable, and I believe the draft plan we have is a comprehensive guide to tackling all of these.
May I say as a footnote how delighted I am that there is so much interest in the Equalities Policy tonight with five questions. We are all on the same side. Diversity, equality, anti-racism and addressing need must be part of everything we do and the example we set. No rational person would take any other point of view and no responsible person would play politics with this issue. Every one of our residents must be able to live the life that he or she wishes without fear from harm or harming others. The Equality Policy that we put before you today is the first step in this continuous journey, which every day we must strive to do better. There is no magic bullet. It is a continuous work on architecture which I hope will be my legacy when I am all but forgotten.
Despite your encouraging words and claims of progress and intention around equality, it is widely recognised through my engagement and others with the Council, from the CEO down, that there have been massive failures including disability, gender and racial discrimination, evidenced by recent tribunals, complaints, your pay gap reporting, all of which needs to be addressed with meaningful action not just some more comforting words. So, what budget and resources are you committing to create some competent activity not just another tick box exercise, which is actually going to improve inequality in the Borough?
It is certainly not a tick box exercise Liz. Certainly not. The Equalities engagement has to be across the whole Borough. We have a budget of some £150million in the General Fund and we spend some £600million. So, all of that is committed to the Equalities Policy. It is not singled out as something which is separate. You really need to take this up with me personally Liz rather than the Council because the Mayor is going to chop me off in my prime.