At the last Coventry Women’s Voices meeting Surindar Nagra from the Council’s Equalities Team gave us an update on what the Council is doing on Equalities:
Coventry City Council has been reviewing how it can best meet its duties under the Equality Act 2010. The General Duty under the Equality Act came into force in October 2010.
It requires public bodies to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
As well as the General Duties public bodies (including the City Council) are obliged to meet specific duties. These are less detailed than the specific duties under previous equality legislation. Public bodies are obliged to:
- publish information to show their compliance with the Equality Duty, at least annually;
- set and publish equality objectives, at least every four years.
The City Council is proposing to meet these duties in the following ways:
The Council is required to publish equalities information by 31st January 2012 and make it easily accessible to its residents. The Council already publishes equalities information and is now looking at how the information can be accessed easily. The Council is currently deciding what information it needs to pull together and how best to present it. It is aware that voluntary and community groups may have data that it does not have, or may have suggestions about what data should be collected.
Helen Shankster is leading the work on collecting equalities data and has asked Coventry Women’s Voices to signpost her to any documents or websites that would be helpful for this purpose.
We agreed to:
Contact CWV members to suggest that they pass on their suggestions to Helen about what data should be published.
The equalities information will be published in one place on 31st January. Any obvious gaps highlighted will be included as the information is made available.
The Council is obliged to set Equality Objectives by April 2012. The Council will set objectives under the key priority areas: jobs and growth, better cleaner streets, children and young people and supporting vulnerable residents.
The Equality Objectives will be based on objectives already agreed under the key priority areas. These are set out in the Council plan, which Surindar will send to Mary-Ann
Mary-Ann will be meeting Jenni Venn (who is leading on this work) in the new year and will discuss how the objectives are being set and how Coventry Women’s Voices can feed into the discussion.
The Council will no longer carry out Equality Impact Assessments on all areas of work. It will carry out an initial Equality Analysis on all reports to cabinet, all budgets, all fundamental service reviews and all restructures. Where this analysis identifies a need then a full equality impact assessment will be carried out.
The advice from the equalities team remains that equality analysis should be carried out as part of the development of policy rather than at the end of the process. The responsibility for carrying out an equality impact assessment is firmly with the Head of Service as it was not possible for the staff member working on equalities to monitor all equality impact assessments.