Agenda and minutes

Equality and Diversity Forum
Wednesday, 15th October, 2008 7.00 pm

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

Items
No. Item

63.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATION OF SUBSTITUTES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Ben Unsworth.  Abigail Lock apologised having to spread her time between two meetings.

 

Richard Barns, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Group were substituted by Sharon and Lynne Jordan-Passmore.

 

Councillor Ruth Dombey asked everyone around the table to introduce themselves.

 

64.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 78 KB

of the meeting held on 26 June 2008.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2008 were approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.

 

65.

ITEMS ARISING FROM THE INFORMATION BULLETIN

The Bulletin contained the following items: -

 

Minutes of the Sutton Traveller Forum of the 3rd June 2008;

Details of a conference on Faith and Belief being held on the 15 October 2008;

Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (SCVS) to host Sutton’s LINK (Local Involvement Network);

Equality New: Issue 2 from the Commission for Equality and Human Rights; 

Refugee Week Conference, being held on the 31 November 2008;

Launch of Pan London BME Leadership & Engagement Project;

The Department of Health’s Equality and Human Rights Bulletin;

Details of a new drive towards social enterprise for women from ethnic minority backgrounds.

 

Oral presentation by Linda Fisher, Project Manager.

Minutes:

Linda Fisher thanked everyone who had forwarded items for the Autumn edition of the Bulletin and said that she would welcome items for the next edition, the despatch date for which was 21 November 2008.

 

Linda requested that items be forwarded to her either by e-mail at linda.fisher@sutton.gov.uk or by post to the 2nd Floor, Civic Offices, Sutton, SM1 1EA.

 

Linda also requested groups and advisors to complete nomination forms in order that up-to-date details of representatives’ names and addresses, together with their telephone numbers/e-mails can be maintained.

 

Ruth asked if a representative from each community group would be able to do a short verbal presentation about the work undertaken by their group at meetings in the future.  Although Joan Parker from the Sutton Carers’ Forum was asked to do the first presentation at the meeting on the 10 December, she said that it was not possible for her to attend that meeting, but would write a short article for the Information Bulletin.

 

Andy Wilson, Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector gave an interesting presentation on the Sutton Local Involvement Network (LINk).  LINks have been set up in every area of England to help people influence or change the way their National Health Service and social care services are delivered.

 

Sutton has combined LINK with their existing Community Engagement Network to create a new and larger Sutton LINks that would enable both individuals and community groups to have their say about all the services provided by the Council and the Local Health Service and how work can be undertaken to improve them.  Sutton LINk would have a range of powers to influence the improvement of local services.  There would be no necessity to be a member of a group or organisation to get involved to make a difference locally.

 

66.

GYPSY AND TRAVELLER HISTORY MONTH

The first UK wide Gypsy and Traveller History Month was held in June.  Sutton was one of a number of Boroughs across the country that participated in the History Month with an exhibition and other events showing Gypsy and Traveller life.

 

Oral presentation by Sarah Gwynn.

Minutes:

Sarah Gwynn gave a presentation highlighting Sutton’s involvement in the Gypsy and Traveller History Month with an exhibition and other events showing Gypsy and Traveller life.  Sarah explained that the first UK wide Gypsy and Traveller History Month was held in June of this year. 

 

The aims of the Month was to challenge the myths and break down the barriers as regards mobile travellers, privately owned circuses and fairground families. 

 

Sarah advised that an exhibition had been held at the Phoenix Centre, Roundshaw, Wallington,  This was well received with positive feedback from the general public, the Traveller and wider community school students and representatives from council departments.

 

The launch was well attended by the community and council officials.  The Leader of the Council made a speech and distributed prizes to the young people who had contributed to the exhibition. 

 

Sarah also reported on discussions between officers and councillors examining how a development post can be created to undertake coherent and planned work with the Gypsy and Traveller community.  Currently the work with this community is shared between officers from different Groupings across the Council.  This had led to a lack of consistency in Sutton Council’s work with this community.  The group is seeking an expression of support from the Equality and Diversity Forum for this initiative.

 

Resolved: That the Forum would look into the possibility of funding a part-time Community Participation Officer who would build stronger links between the Gypsy and Traveller community and the wider Borough population and ask the Equality and Diversity Officer to report back to the Forum.

 

67.

EQUALITIES IN EMPLOYMENT MONITORING 2008 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Human Resources will provide a detailed report on the progress of equalities in employment 2007/8 through monitoring of employees:-

 

  • existing workforce & new recruitment – by ethnicity, gender, disability and age;
  • Training, promotions, performance assessments, grievances, disciplinary actions and leavers by ethnicity.

 

Report of Paul Napthine, Head of Employment Relations and Deputy Executive Head of Human Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Paul Napthine, Head of Employment Relations and Deputy Executive Head of Human Resources and Elizabeth Goodridge, Organisational Development Manager gave a presentation on the progress made with regard to equalities in employment 2007/8 through the monitoring of employees.

 

Paul Napthine stated that Sutton Council had made some progress on equalities in employment over the last year but the performance with regard to two of the targets identified as the focus for 2007/8, i.e. recruiting and retaining disabled employees and increasing the proportion of young people in the workforce had been disappointing.

 

For the eighth year monitoring of the existing workforce and recruitment has been carried out according to ethnicity, gender, disability and age.  It is also the sixth year that employee monitoring of employees who have received training had been promoted.

 

As required under Level 3 of the Equality Standard, Paul explained that Sutton Council had continued to set workforce profile “employment equality targets” and monitored progress against those objectives.  The targets had been informed by the Local Labour Market Area assessment which was reported on for the first time in 2004.

 

The 2007/8 headline figures for the workforce showed there had been:

 

  • a fractional increase in the proportion of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups employed overall (although in respect of senior jobs, there had been a small, but significant increase in the Council’s indicator: the proportion of posts PO4 and above, i.e. those earning approximately £35,000+ per annum, filled by BME employees);

 

  • A small increase in the proportion of women employed in senior jobs (as measured by those earning approximately £35,000+ per annum);

 

  • A mixed picture in the proportion of people with disabilities employed in senior jobs – a fall back in the Council’s local indicator (as measured by those earnings £35,000+ per annum) but there was a small increase in the BVPI outcome on this measure, which was defined as the top 5% of earners.

 

  • a reduction in the proportion of young people (aged 16-24) employed over the past year.

 

Paul explained that the Council did not have complete data on recruitment, due to an initial data collection issue with the Council’s previous contractor.  These are being addressed.  However, based on a substantial sample of appointments the 2007/8 headline figures appear to show that for the non-schools’ workforce, a continuing substantial number of applicants are from a BME background (30% of total applicants) but compared to the last three years, there has been a fall in the proportion of BME applicants appointed (only 16% of total appointments).  This outcome would need investigation.  The position in schools indicates a slight improvement in the proportion of appointments from BME background, but the ‘success rate’of BME applicants remained disproportionately low (9.4% compared to 17% for White applicants).

 

It appeared that there was recruitment of a slightly larger number of employees with disabilities in the non-schools; workforce than in the previous year and the ‘success rate’ of disabled applicants appeared to be higher than for all applicants.  However, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.

68.

WOMEN IN PRISON

Verbal presentation by Sally Hill, Assistant Governor – Head of Diversity & Foreign Nationals, HM Prison, Down View on the challenges faced by the Prison Service and the prisoners and their successes.

Minutes:

Sally Hill, Assistant Governor, Head of Diversity & Foreign Nationals, HM Prison, Downview gave an interesting and informative oral presentation on the challenges faced by the Prison Service and the prisoners and their successes.

 

Sally explained that 358 females are in custody for a wide variety of offences, an increasing minority of which are violence related.  Sally said that there had been the largest increase in juveniles, which appeared to be due to an increase in gang culture generally and female gang membership in particular, which has resulted in related criminality.  Self harm was a daily occurrence with over 30 acts per day.  Many of these occurred after family visits.

 

Sally said that it was hoped that joint working between the London Borough of Sutton and Downview could take place to enhance the lives of the prisoners.

 

The following suggestions were put forward:

 

  • Prisoners could have day release in order to visit the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered History Month exhibition to be held in Sutton Library in February 2009.  This will be organised by the Sutton Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered Forum.

 

  • General exhibitions could be held in the prison.

 

Sally highlighted that one of the main successes had been the inclusion of 5 prisoners in the London Marathon who raised £4,000 for Victim Support.

 

Resolved: That thanks be given to Sally Hill for her interesting presentation.

 

(ii) That Sally Hill would liaise with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Group to arrange attendance by a number of prisoners to the Exhibition in February 2009.

 

(iii) That the Executive Head of Human Resources will be asked to look at ways in which the Council can offer work-related activities to prisoners approaching release who are seeking suitable employment opportunities.

 

69.

EQUALITY STANDARD LEVEL 3

The Senior Policy Manager (Equalities), Corporate Policy and Partnership Team will orally update the Forum on the outcome of the external assessment of the Council’s performance on equality and diversity, undertaken by the Improvement and Development Agency for local government (IDeA).

Minutes:

Dennis Bartholomew, Senior Policy Manager (Equalities) advised the Forum that the Council had achieved Level 3 following the external assessment of the Council’s performance on equality and diversity undertaken by the Improvement and Development Agency for local government (IDeA).

 

Ruth Dombey stated that although she was very pleased with the achievement, but the Council needed to continue its work to achieve Level 4 as soon as possible.

 

Resolved: That discussions on the requirements to achieve Level 4 should take place at the next Forum meeting on 15 December 2008.

 

70.

SHADOWING A COUNCILLOR

Oral presentation by Councllor Ruth Dombey, Chair of the Forum and Beau Fadahunsi, Chief Executive of Sutton Racial Equality Council on the 2nd Shadowing a Councillor event, held which emphasised Engaging With Young People, as its theme.

Minutes:

Councillor Ruth Dombey and Beau Fadahunsi, Chief Executive of Sutton Racial Equality Council gave a verbal presentation on the second Shadowing a Councillor event which emphasised Engaging with Young People as its theme.  The event had proved successful with the young people being made aware of council services and their workings.

 

Sarah Gwynn advised that some of the Shadowees, including a young representative from the Traveller community, Dan Doherty, would attend the next Equality and Diversity Forum’s meeting on the 10 December 2008 to update the forum on their experiences during this event.

 

Ruth Dombey suggested that a Working Group, possibly led by the Sutton Minority Ethnic Forum, could be set up to organise the 2009 event.

 

Resolved: That Ruth Dombey would speak to the Sutton Minority Ethnic Forum to obtain their agreement to organise Shadowing a Councillor 2009.

 

(ii) That a presentation shall be delivered to the Forum at its meeting on the 10 December 2008 to update the Forum on their experiences during the event.

 

71.

SUTTON HOUSING CENTRE

Oral presentation by Andrea Horwood of Sutton Housing Centre on the Black and Minority Ethnic Housing and Employment Consultation Event to be held on the 17 November 2008.

Minutes:

Andrea Horwood of Sutton Housing Centre advised the Forum of a Black and Minority Ethnic Housing and Employment Consultation Event to take place on Monday 17 November 2008 in meeting room 1, Civic Offices in order to widen the research that had taken place earlier in the year.  The event had been arranged to give people a greater understanding of housing allocations and other associated issues. This would be the start of a sustained effort to solve problems.

 

Invitations have been restricted to 2 per household and Andrea confirmed that contact had been made with the Travellers in Woodmansterne.

 

Issues of those in housing need and understanding the role of the Housing Centre would be addressed at the event.  Breakout sessions had been arranged, and Job Centre Plus and other organisations had been invited to ensure that attendees went away with as much information as possible.

 

Andrea asked that if the members of the Forum knew of anyone who would benefit from this event, that they should contact her at Sutton Housing Centre.

 

            Resolved: (i) Thanks be given to Andrea for her presentation.

 

            (ii) To note the Consultation Event on the 17 November 2008.

 

72.

TERMS OF REFERENCE pdf icon PDF 72 KB

The Terms of Reference are attached for agreement by the Forum., containing the relevant parts of the Community Engagement Strategy, as requested by the Forum at its 26June 2008 meeting.

Minutes:

Resolved:     That the Terms of Reference be agreed.

 

73.

ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

brought forward at the direction of the Chair, who has approved the reason for urgency.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business to discuss.

 

74.

NEXT MEETING

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 10 December 2008 in Room 5, Civic Offices commencing at 7.00 pm.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 10 December 2008 at 7.00 pm in Room 5, Civic Offices.