Part 1: Introduction
Integrating equality into all aspects of the council’s work provides the opportunity to significantly and continuously improve and develop services by making them more appropriate and responsive to the needs of people. This leads to better value for money. Good equality approaches and practices significantly impact on making the council a better employer, improving our ability to meet the needs of customers, helping us to be better placed to deliver public services and to ensuring that our vision for South Gloucestershire is achieved.
The South Gloucestershire Sustainable Community Strategy2 shapes the local work and priorities of the South Gloucestershire Partnership. Our vision is that South Gloucestershire is: “A great place to live and work” and the following values are embedded into all sections of the Strategy:
- ensure natural resources are used wisely, reduce carbon emissions, prevent pollution and waste, and conserve and enhance the environment for future generations
- promote a greater understanding and mutual respect between different sectors and sections of the community; empower all people to participate and become involved in decisions which affect the area
- find simple and effective ways of working together that improve efficiency, make the most of resources and ensure value for money.
The Council Strategy3 sets out the council’s corporate aims and core values for meeting our area’s vision. “Championing equality of opportunity for all” is clearly set out as one of our core values.
South Gloucestershire Council works for all parts of every community. Our aim is to:
- encourage mutual respect for all of our residents
- recognise and work with every diverse group
- give high quality inclusive services and facilities
- make sure our employment policies and practices are fair
- eliminate harassment and discrimination
The council has a Corporate Equality and Diversity Policy4 which details our commitments and aims. We are committed to valuing and treating all people with dignity and respect. Our approach is three fold:
- To recognise that people, whether as communities or individuals, will have specific needs that need to be recognised and addressed in order for them to develop their full potential
- To acknowledge that the majority view is not always right and the rights of minorities will need to be protected
- To mainstream equalities into all aspects of our policy development and service delivery
The principles that underpin the overarching Corporate Equality and Diversity Policy and inform our approach to equality are:
- welcoming and celebrating diversity
- developing a shared understanding of the essence of equality which is to value and treat all people with respect and dignity
- promoting equality of opportunity
- through policies, services, employment, contracting, and funding practices ensuing that no service user, employee or job applicant will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, colour, impairment, marital status, lifestyle and culture, religion or belief, nationality, race gender, sexual orientation, gender identity
- taking all possible steps to eliminate discrimination, and undertaking action to remedy past discrimination and disadvantage
Equality is central to our identification of local priorities and underpins all the services that we deliver.
This is our second equality plan; it sets out our strategic aims for equalities in South Gloucestershire. It demonstrates that we recognise and are committed to delivering fair and equitable outcomes for all those who live, work and study in South Gloucestershire.
As shown in the following diagram, this equality plan sets out our strategic aims in relation to equalities and the delivery of these objectives through a full range of delivery plans ensuring a comprehensive and outcome focused approach to equalities.
This Equality Plan sets out a comprehensive, manageable, strategic agenda for all of our work in the field of equalities.
Working in partnership
The council is very aware that its work on equalities cannot stand in isolation from the actions of others working in this field both locally and nationally. In order to promote and improve equalities within South Gloucestershire the council will continue to work closely with partners including the South Gloucestershire Equalities Forum; Disability Equality Network; and the Race Equality Network.
The other public bodies in these partnerships are required to comply with the public sector equality duty and will have to prepare their own equality plans.
South Gloucestershire Council will share its equality plan with our partners and work through partnership bodies to achieve a consistent approach to promoting equality of opportunity.
2 To view the South Gloucestershire Sustainable Community Strategy visit: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/localism/sustainable-community-strategy/
3 To view the Council Strategy visit: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/documents/cex120053.pdf
4 To view the council’s Corporate Equality and Diversity Policy visit: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/documents/Corporate-Equality-and-Diversity-Policy.pdf