Agenda item

Shahid Younis asked the Leader of the Council the following question:



Could you tell residents what you are doing to entrench fairness and equality of opportunity across the Council?





Could you tell residents what you are doing to entrench fairness and equality of opportunity across the Council?



Thank you for your question.  Our Community Vision is for Wokingham Borough to be a great place to live, learn, work, and grow and a great place to do business.  Wokingham Borough Council’s Equality Plan 2021-2025 ‘Tackling Equality Together’ has three key drivers:


1)    To ensure our Community Vision is successfully delivered for all our residents, irrespective of their background or characteristics.

2)    To fulfil our duties and responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 as a public body;

3)    To build and support a diverse, inclusive, and engaged workforce and meet our responsibilities as an employer.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion are essential to the way we operate as a community leader, a service provider, and an employer.  Wokingham Borough is fully committed to Tackling Inequality Together and our Equality Plan will drive our commitment, leadership and collaboration over the next four years to build a more equal and inclusive Borough, where all residents are able to prosper and thrive.


The Council will deliver this ambition through its Equality Action Plan; driving the three priorities to ensure fairness and equality of opportunity both across Wokingham Borough and within the Council:


·    Listen to and learn from our communities and use this to deliver services that work well for everyone;

·    Act on our commitments to equality, diversity, and inclusion in the way we plan, deliver and shape our services

·    Build a diverse and engaged workforce, where everyone is respected.


Under key driver number three we commit to promoting equality and diversity amongst our workforce through two specific objectives:


1.     We will support staff at all levels of the organisation, including our leadership, to equip them with the right tools to understand how best to tackle inequality and meet the needs of our increasingly diverse community;

2.     We will honour the commitments agreed in our Equality Workforce Monitoring Report to help strengthen our approach to equality, diversity, and inclusion in our workplace.


Supplementary Question:

Can you please share any specific examples of how we are showing our commitment to equality, more widely, in our Borough?


Supplementary Answer:

The Council has 29 Equality Actions to deliver in the first year of the Plan, 2021/22.  The programme to deliver our Equality Plan is now well underway and the programme board, led by Keeley Clements, met recently.  You will be reassured to know that the programme is on track and has been reenforced by the recent appointment of a new Equality Lead Ali Layne-Smith who joins us to bring senior insight, advice, and leadership to this critical area.  Whilst the delivery plan is in its early stages, it has started to deliver results.  Berkshire Council Equality Group has been founded and is led by Wokingham Borough Council, allowing all the councils across Berkshire to share best practice and gain insight from one another.


Importantly the Council has published an Equality Profile to equip residents, businesses, and Officers, with insight into how the Borough is made up.  A new Equalities Intranet page for staff has been created and a new ethnically diverse staff network has been launched.  A new applicant tracking system to monitor recruitment activity has been deployed.  The Council also wished to wish our Muslim residents and colleagues Eid Al Adha Mubarak on 20th June.  On 14th July we hosted our first ever Youth Council involving local secondary schools.  On 2nd July we flew the Pride flag and hosted a number of celebratory Pride events.  In May, the Council supported Mental Health Awareness Week.