Agenda and minutes

Equality and Diversity Forum
Thursday, 21st June, 2007 7.30 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA

Items
No. Item

1.

CHAIR

The executive councillor with responibility for the equalities portfolio will Chair meetings of the Forum until the meeting of the Forum after the Annual Meeting of the Council in 2008.

Minutes:

Councillor Ruth Dombey, executive councillor with responsibility for equalities, took the Chair, in accordance with the Forum’s terms of reference, and outlined the purpose of the Forum.

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATION OF SUBSTITUTES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Abigail Lock (whose substitute was Councillor Brendan Hudson) and Pamela Picknett, and from Eric Kennedy (whose substitute was Barbara Duncan) and Colin Skinner.

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 58 KB

(a)  of the meeting of the Community Relations Forum held on 29 March 2007 (ENCLOSURE).

 

(b)  of the meeting of the Disability Forum held on 12 April 2007 (ENCLOSURE).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meetings of the Community Relations Forum held on 29 March 2007 and the Disability Forum held on 12 April 2007 were each approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.

4.

ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR

To invite members to consider nominations for Vice-Chair from amongst the local community representatives, with a view to an election being held at the next meeting of the Forum.

Minutes:

            Resolved: That members consider nominations for Vice-Chair from amongst the local community representatives on the Forum, with a view to nominees giving a short address and an election being held at the next meeting of the Forum.

5.

EPSOM AND ST HELIER HOSPITALS - ACCESS ISSUES

The senior management of the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust have been asked to report on the access audits / equality and diversity impact assessments at the hospitals.

Minutes:

Access audits and equality and diversity impact assessments at the hospitals had been considered by the former Disability Forum.  Members noted that there were considered to be a number of problems at the hospitals and that they had been drawn to the attention of senior managers there.  It was suggested that an independent audit should be carried out by people who understood the needs of disabled people.

 

            Resolved: To defer consideration of the access audits and equality and diversity impact assessments for the two hospitals until the Forum’s next meeting, when the audits and assessments should be available and senior managers of the hospitals are able to attend.

6.

ACCESS TO WORK AND TO VOLUNTEERING pdf icon PDF 99 KB

The London Regional Office of Access to Work have issued a briefing document on the barriers faced by people with disabilities trying to utilise Access to Work at Job Centre Plus (ENCLOSURE).

Minutes:

It was reported that Access to Work provided advice and practical support to disabled people and their employers to help to overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability.  As well as giving advice and information Access to Work could pay grants, through Job Centre Plus, towards any extra employment costs arising from a disability.

 

The London Regional Office of Access to Work had issued a briefing document on the barriers faced by disabled people trying to utilise Access to Work at Job Centre Plus.

 

The Chair explained that, contrary to what was claimed in the briefing document, there was experience from a number of people that Access to Work did not meet the needs of disabled people or achieve what was claimed for it.  In particular, although routes into employment were supported by Government funding, voluntary work was not normally supported despite the fact that it could be a route into paid employment, and there was no support for mentally disabled people.

 

            Resolved: That the Deputy Director of the London Regional Office of Access to Work be asked to attend the Forum’s next meeting to explain the operation of the organisation’s current policy and discuss members’ concerns.

7.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Each member of the Forum is invited to suggest actions by their organisation that can be developed with the Forum over the next 12 months, and which will make a difference to minority groups in the Borough.

Minutes:

Members of the Forum were asked to suggest actions by their individual organisations, or generally, that could be developed with the Forum over the next 12 months, and which would make a difference to minority groups in the Borough.  It was hoped that after one year the Forum would be able to reflect on the difference that it had made.

 

An example was suggested of ‘Walking in My Shoes’, which would enable participants to expand their knowledge and share experiences of the lives of members of minority groups.  Such projects could be very effective at little cost.

 

            Resolved: To note.

8.

SUTTON FAITH AND BELIEF GROUP - QUESTION TIME

Reverend Mark Tomlinson will provide an update on their April question time event and outline their programme of activities.

Minutes:

Mark Tomlinson, the Group’s Chair, reported on their recent Question Time event.  The event had involved representatives of each of the different faith and belief groups in the Borough responding, from the perspective of their faith or belief, to questions from members of the public on various social issues.

 

It was suggested that the event should be repeated and venues at Carshalton College and HM Prison High Down were proposed.

 

            Resolved: To note.

9.

BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC FORUM - RE-LAUNCH

Beau Fadahunsi will give an update on the re-launch of the Forum and the role that it intends to play in Sutton.

Minutes:

Beau Fadahunsi reported that the Forum had been created four years previously but that membership had declined.  The Forum had been re-launched in March 2007, a further meeting had been held in May and another meeting had been arranged for July.  The aims of the Forum were similar to those of the Faith and Belief Group.  It would provide a collective meeting place and produce a plan of events, including some themed meetings.  One particular project was shadowing councillors and school governors with a view to getting more people from black and ethnic minorities involved in that work.

 

Contacts between the Forum and the Faith and Belief Group were being developed, and the Forum would also be interested in developing contact with Sutton Seniors’ Forum.

 

            Resolved: To note.

10.

LONDON GYPSY AND TRAVELLER HOUSING NEEDS ASSESSMENT - PROGRESS

Trevor Hart, Housing Strategy and Performance Manager, will report orally on progress in assessing the need for gypsy and traveller accommodation when the Council assesses the housing requirements of the rest of the population, and what it means for the Borough.

Minutes:

Fran Massiah, Housing Strategy Officer, reported on progress in assessing the need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation and producing a strategy in accordance with the Housing Act 2004.  The strategy would assess the housing needs of those groups, along with those of the rest of the population, and identify education and health needs as well.

 

            Resolved: To note.

11.

SUTTON'S EQUALITY SCHEME

Dennis Bartholomew, Equalities and Diversity Policy Officer, reports that Sutton’s scheme was published recently.  He will give members an overview of the scheme’s actions, what it means for equality groups, and propose ways in which performance can be managed by the Forum.

Minutes:

Sutton’s Equalities and Diversity Policy Officer reported that Sutton’s single equality scheme had been published recently.  Details of the actions in the scheme were distributed.  The actions were closely related to objectives in the Sutton Plan and progress would be subject to regular monitoring and reporting.

 

            Resolved: To note.

12.

TERMS OF REFERENCE pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The Forum’s terms of reference were approved by the Council’s Strategy Committee in January 2007.

 

It is necessary to make some minor corrections.  In paragraph 7 Sutton Carers’ Centre should read Sutton Carer’s Forum and Sutton Women’s Centre should be inserted as an additional organisation.  Paragraphs 8-10 need correcting to refer to only one Vice-Chair, rather than two, as elsewhere in the terms of reference.  A new paragraph should be inserted after paragraph 10 to provide for members to send a substitute member to a meeting.  The remaining paragraphs have been re-numbered.  The terms of reference showing the necessary changes are attached (ENCLOSURE).

 

It is RECOMMENDED that the Executive be recommended to correct the terms of reference as outlined above and now submitted.

Minutes:

By Minute 38/07 the Council’s Strategy Committee had approved the Forum’s terms of reference.  It was necessary to make a number of minor corrections to provide for representation from Sutton Carers’ Forum, rather than Sutton Carers’ Centre, to include a representative of Sutton Women’s Centre, to delete references to more than one Vice-Chair, and to provide for members to send a substitute to a meeting.  A copy of the terms of reference indicating the corrections was submitted.

 

            Resolved: That The Executive be recommended to correct the terms of reference as outlined above and now submitted.