Agenda and minutes

Equality and Diversity Forum
Thursday, 17th December, 2009 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Linda Fisher, Project Manager, 020 8770 5091 

No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillor Abigail Lock, Debbie O’Neill (Citizens Advice Bureau), Andrea Howlett (Sutton Housing Partnership), Janet Sherbourne (Carshalton College), Peter Rollins (Minority Ethnic Employees’ Association), Seren Razenk (Sutton LINk) and Kate Evans (Inspector : Inclusion)




of the meeting held on 8 October 2009.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2009 were approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.




Verbal report of the Project Manager.


Any item in the previously circulated Information Bulletin can, on request and with the permission of the Chair, be discussed by the Forum members.


Estimated time : 5 minutes



Linda Fisher, Project Manager stated that it was hoped to make the Information Bulletin as varied as possible and asked for interesting news, articles for sharing with the other members of the Forum or copies of minutes.  Linda asked that everyone should make it their New Year’s resolution to forward an item to go into the next Information Bulletin.


Linda explained that the despatch date for the next Information Bulletin was 15 January 2010 and asked that any items be forwarded by the 14 January 2010 to her by e-mail on or post at Democratic Services, Civic Offices, St. Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA.


            Resolved: To note the above.




The Sutton Minority Ethnic Forum has completed their successful third Councillor Shadowing Scheme.  This year, there were two schemes, one for young people aged 16-24 years old in June, and the other for adults in October.


Shadowees got to know the vital role played by councillors, MPs, London Assembly members and other elected officials, in the life of the Borough.


There will be an update by Thikra Ali from the Sutton Racial Equality Council.


Estimated time : 10 minutes



Thikra Ali, Sutton Racial Equality Council advised the forum of the successful third Councillor Shadowing Scheme where shadowees got to know the vital role played by councillors, MPs, London Assembly members and other elected officials in the life of the Borough.  Thikra said that the Sutton Minority Ethnic Forum had worked closely with SREC on the scheme, as with the previous schemes, particularly the administration which made the 2009 programme so successful. 


Over 10 people participated in various events including visits to councillors’ surgeries, visit to the Houses of Parliament to meet with MPs and to City Hall to witness the Mayor’s Question time.


Thikra stated that the Councillor Shadowing Scheme was open to everyone  and enquired whether there could be some funding made available next year for travel and/or childcare expenses in order to assist future shadowees.


A big thanks was given to the co-ordinator, Jane Hodson and to Councillor Ruth Dombey for their hard work in making the scheme a success.


Thikra highlighted that the Next Generation youth group had been formed following last year’s event.  This group is attempting to increase young people’s participation, address issues and give young people a voice.


            Resolved: To note the above.




By making efficiencies, not services, Sutton Council has announced there will be no increase in council tax from April 2010. 


Sutton Council would like to know what you think about the priorities they followed when considering how much should be spent on services.


The Forum will discuss what this will mean for our current services. As part of this discussion, Forum members will participate in a consultative exercise with offices from our Finance Department.


A form will be given to attendees at the meeting to complete so that the feedback can be collated prior to item 9.


Estimated time : 10 minutes



Attendees at the meeting were asked to participate in a consultative exercise, the results of which were collated and assessed by Mr Michael Mackie, Head of Accountancy Services prior to his presentation under item 9.




As it grows from strength-to-strength Forum members will be briefed on the plans for the 2010 Take Part Take Pride by Suzy Humphries, Project Manager.


Estimated time : 10 minutes



Suzy Humphries, Project Manager, gave a presentation which advised that the dates for the 2010 Take Part, Take Pride event would now be 12-18 July to avoid the World Cup.


Suzy said that it was hoped that this year’s event would be more localised and the proposal was to have events such as Festivals at St. Helier and Belmont.  Suzy  informed the meeting that there would be an intense promotional campaign with 5,000 mailed leaflets, as well as notices displayed in various locations.  Suzy Humphries stated that she was attempting to raise money in order for the event to go ahead.


Suzy explained that either £350.00 or £400 would be available to local committees to set up a street party, perhaps in the lead up to the week of Take Part, Take Pride.


Suzy invited the Forum, groups and individuals to think about the suggestions listed below, and said that she hoped to become the hub to marry groups up:


  • How Take Part, Take Pride could be made to be more local.  Could areas of local responsibility be developed where community leaders initiate activity in their locality, using Take Part, Take Pride’s support to increase the profile of their locality and raise awareness of issues.


  • Ideas for events, campaigns and activities would be welcomed.  Events could be planned for the Take Part, Take Pride week to make use of each local cross-borough publicity and to build together a significant event.


  • To think of Take Part, Take Pride as a support for community activities and the promotion could help to widen awareness, gain new members and highlight good work and new activities.


All communications should go to Suzy Humphries by e-mail to, telephone 020 8770 4391 or through the website at


            Resolved: To note the above.




The meeting will be updated by Brother Shafi Chowdhury from the Faith and Belief Forum on their very successful activities over the summer. 


Estimated time : 10 minutes



Brother Shafi Chowdhury gave a detailed religious explanation of the significance of Christmas for the different faiths and secularists who comprise the Sutton Faith and Belief Forum.




Update by the Chair of the Sutton Women’s Forum on their formation; the election of their Executive Committee of the Forum on the 28 October 2009; and the exciting plans for 2010.


Estimated time : 10 minutes



Sonya Bartlett advised that The Executive Committee of the Sutton Women’s Forum had been elected as follows:


Chair :                         Jeannette Locke-Thompson

Vice-Chair:                Sonya Bartlett

Treasurer :                 Jenny Wood

Vice-Treasurer:         Marina Ialongo

Secretary:                  Linda Fisher


Sonya stated that The Executive Committee had met on the 15 December 2009 and had discussed the following:


  • The next Public Meeting would be on Wednesday 13 January 2010 at the Sutton Centre for Independent Living and Learning, 3 Robin Hood Lane, Sutton SM1 2SW from 10.00 am.  Theme to be “Providing Leisure Facilities for Sutton’s Women” with guest speaker Sarah Groom, Sutton’s Executive Head of Leisure.
  • Celebration of International Women’s Day on the 14 March would take place in front of Marks and Spencers, Sutton from 12 noon to 2.00 pm.
  • Public Meeting on 3rd March 2010 to be held at the Salvation Army, 45 Benhill Avenue, Sutton, SM1 4DD. Theme to be Domestic Violence with an organisation called Breath to be invited to attend.
  • Linda Fisher would circulate printed materials with the Information Bulletin for the Equality and Diversity Forum.


Resolved: To note the above.




Presentation by Michael Mackie, Head of Accountancy Services.


Estimated time : 20 minutes.



Michael Mackie, Head of Accountancy Services gave a presentation on the budget consultation 2009 and circulated briefing notes on the proposals for additional spending 2010/11 efficiency and cost reduction measures for 2010/11 at the meeting, and referred to pages 6 and 7 of the Sutton Scene magazine’s article called “Quality services at the right price”.


Michael stated that the main areas of spending are as follows:


Education Services :                                    £170.7m

Adult Social Care :                                        £  73.1m

Environment and Leisure Services:            £  40.2m

Housing Services :                                        £  40.1m

Children’s Services :                                    £  18.4m


Michael stated that officers and councillors had been going out and about in the borough and asking residents for their views.  Feedback from the regular residents’ survey is used to make sure their priorities are considered and used to inform the council’s priorities. The survey so far has proved that there is a high level of satisfaction with the Council’s performance. Michael also gave feedback from the consultation exercise carried out earlier in the meeting.


It was highlighted that with the efficiency and costs measures, it would not be necessary to increase Sutton’s council tax for 2010/11.


Anyone wanting to have their say or put their views forward can e-mail or write to Budget Consultation, Corporate Communications Team, Chief Executive’s Group, London Borough of Sutton, Civic Offices, St. Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA.  Further information can be found on the council’s website:


            Resolved: To thank Michael Mackie for his presentation.




The life of vulnerable members of the community can be made unsettling as a result of “hate actions” by others.  Sutton Council has revamped its hate incident monitoring system to make the life of Sutton’s residents safer.


Report and presentation by Dennis Bartholomew, Policy Officer (Equalities).


Estimated time : 10 minutes.



Dennis Bartholomew, Senior Policy Officer (Equalities) circulated at the meeting a report titled “Promoting the safety and security of disabled people” which advised that disabled people are at greater risk of experiencing violence or hostility than the wider population which includes violence or hostility which might be perceived as a ‘hate crime’.  The report summarises new research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and sets out the actions the Commission will take to promote disabled people’s safety and security.  The full research report can be downloaded from


Dennis advised that the London Borough of Sutton had been monitoring race hate incidents for some time but there would now be electronically monitoring of all hate incidents, including race hate.  Dennis said although a huge amount of work had been done on hate incident monitoring, there was a long way to go.  Dennis highlighted that in one incident in another part of the country a mother and daughter killed themselves because the daughter was disabled and was being constantly harassed.


Dennis explained there is considerable material on the existence and prevalence of various forms of targeted violence and hostility experienced by disabled people.  For example, it has been reported that:


  • 22 per cent of United Kingdom disabled respondents in 2002 suffered harassment in public due to their impairment which was an increase from 20 per cent from the previous year.


  • 8 per cent of disabled people suffered a violent attack compared to 4 per cent of non-disabled people in London during 2001/2002.


  • Disabled people are four times more likely to be victims of crime compared to non-disabled people.


  • 47 per cent of disabled people had either experienced physical abuse or had witnessed physical abuse of a disabled companion.


  • One in five disabled people in Scotland were found to have experienced disability-related harassment, 47 per cent had experienced hate crimes due to their disability.


  • Within the disabled population, the evidence suggests that those with learning disabilities and/or mental health conditions are particularly at risk and suffer higher levels of actual victimisation.


Dennis advised that the Metropolitan Police have a well established system for dealing with hate incident crimes and there were various agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Sutton Race Equality Council who act as third parties in reporting hate crimes and relaying these to the Police.


Suggestions were made that the Take Part, Take Pride 2010 and the Environmental Fayre 2010 in Carshalton Park could be used to raise awareness of hate incidents reporting and monitoring.


Anyone wishing to contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission can do so by getting in touch with them via their website at or contacting the Helpline by telephone on 0845 6046610, textphone: 0845 604 6620, fax: 0845 604 6630.  Hours are 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday to Friday except Wednesday 9.00 am – 8.00 pm.


            Resolved: To note the above.




Presentation of Marwood Braund, on behalf of the Physical and Sensory Disabilities Partnership Board.  A briefing note will be tabled at the meeting.


Estimated time : 10 minutes.



Marwood Braund, on behalf of the Physical and Sensory Disabilities Partnership Board spoke about the accessibility guidelines for the booking of meeting rooms and the briefing note which had been circulated with the Equality and Diversity Forum’s second despatch. 


Marwood highlighted two recent public events organised by Sutton Council at which the support for deaf and hearing impaired attendees was very poor and would like the Council’s Executive to be made aware of the situation and for appropriate action to be instituted.


Marwood explained that he had met with and discussed his concerns with an officer from Sutton Council and it has been agreed that the following principles be followed in working towards disability equality compliance of all the meeting rooms belonging to Sutton Council and those that it uses as follows:


  • The disability equality access requirements for venues used by Sutton Council shall cover all relevant disability conditions including the needs of deaf and hard of hearing users.
  • The Council will act as an exemplar in respect of disability equality access to venues.
  • The Council will increase its efforts at promoting disability access to venues in Sutton and updated at regular intervals.


Marwood confirmed that Sutton Council has agreed to take some straightforward steps to ensure equality of access to all venues attended or used by disabled users as set out below:


  • Ensuring that the meeting rooms and similar facilities have reasonable adaptive facilities/technology.
  • Ensuring that the external facilities have reasonable adaptive facilities/technology.
  • Sutton Council’s room booking forms, internal/external, having checking facilities to ensure that reasonable adaptive facilities/technology are available.
  • Sutton Council employees are made aware of the above, beginning with the insertion of an article in the Council’s electronic employee magazine called ‘Insight’.
  • Ensure that its chosen partners in business, commerce and the voluntary sector adopt and implement appropriate reasonable adjustment to make their venues accessible.


Marwood said that council officers recognised the various means of facilitating for Deaf, Deaf/Blind and Hard of Hearing users, i.e. audio frequency induction loop, infra-red loop system and speech to text transaction (most likely to be used by hard of hearing).  Those of particular preference or special need would be lip speaker, BSL interpreter, dead/blind interpreter and note taker.


Resolved: (i) To thank Marwood Braund for his informative presentation.


(ii) That reports would be presented to the Physical & Sensory Disability Partnership Board at appropriate time to review progress of the inclusive meeting places action plan.


(ii) That a letter would be written to the Chair of the Physical & Sensory Disability Partnership Board on progress made to date.


(iv) Dennis Bartholomew would encourage the SCILL Access Group, when undertaking their access reviews to look at Council facilities.




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


There was no urgent business.




The date of the next meeting will be on Thursday 25 February 2009 at 7.00 pm at the Salvation Army, 45 Benhill Avenue, Sutton SM1 4DD.


It was noted that the date of the next meeting would be Thursday 25 February 2010 at 7.00 pm at the Salvation Army, 45 Benhill Avenue, Sutton SM1 4DD.