Agenda and draft minutes

Equality and Diversity Forum
Tuesday, 6th December, 2011 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Victoria Lawson, Head of Chief Executive's Office. Tel 020 87770 5779 email  victoria.lawson@sutton.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATION OF SUBSTITUTES

Minutes:

Present


Councillor Simon Wales (Chair)

Victoria Lawson (Equalities Lead for London Borough of Sutton)

Sallyanne Yeats (Sutton Housing Partnership)
Julie Duffy (Sutton Centre for Voluntary Services)

Debbie O’Neil (Citizen’s Advice Bureau)

Ian Kershaw (Safer Sutton Partnership Service)

Inspector Andy Stalley (Safer Sutton Partnership Service)

Seren Razak (Sutton LINk and Sutton Racial Equality Council)

Janet Sherborne (Carshalton College)

Sylvia Lambe (Black History Month Sutton)

William Essel (Sutton Racial Equality Council/Black History Month Sutton)

Kate Evans (School Improvement)

Helen Davies (London Borough of Sutton Housing Centre)

Trevor Hart (London Borough of Sutton Housing Strategy)

Councillor Lester Holloway

Judy Walsh (Sutton Fair Trade Community)

Joan Parker (Sutton Carers Forum)

David Parker (Sutton Carers Forum)
Simon Breeze (London Borough of Sutton)

 

Apologies were given by Councillor Adrian Davey, Councillor Pamela Picknett, Pam Davies, Chief Inspector Alan Chambers and Wasia Shahain.

 

 

2.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 29th of September 2011

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on the 29th of September were approved as a correct record.

 

Action: It was agreed that the Health Improvement strategy would be reported as an item for March.

 

3.

Consultation on Sutton Housing Allocation Policy and Tenant Strategy pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Update - Consultation on Sutton Housing Allocation Policy and Tenant Strategy - Trevor Hart

 

Indicative Time 15 minutes.

Minutes:

Trevor Hart (London Borough of Sutton Housing Strategy) and Helen Davies (London Borough of Sutton Housing Centre) attended this item.

 

Trevor Hart gave an overview of the context behind the consultation, saying that there were 2 drivers, first that the current policy was six years old and secondly the new Localism Act.

 

The Localism Act now allows Councils to choose whether to have an open housing list or not.  Many have chosen to restrict those able to be placed on their waiting lists in order to make them smaller and more manageable.  The Act has also introduced:

 

·         Possibility of flexible tenancies;

·         Changes to rights of succession;

·         The requirement for Local Authorities to have tenancy strategies

·         Protection for existing tenants;

 

Trevor Hart said that the consultation is currently about discussing the issues around housing and does not make any firm proposals.

 

Key questions raised by the consultation were:

 

·         Should Sutton maintain an open list?

·         Should greater priority be given to working households?

·         Should existing social housing tenants who are adequately housed be given priority for a move?

·         What social and welfare factors should we take into account in awarding priority?

·         Should we maintain a quota system and, if so, for which client groups?

 

In response to questions Trevor Hart said that people not housed (such as those in temporary accommodation) before the legislation comes into effect would be subject to the changes.

 

Helen Davies said that the entire housing register had been consulted and that those attending the consultation events had been from diverse backgrounds.

 

Councillor Holloway said that it would be helpful to have information about the composition of the housing register and that there is a risk that decisions on prioritisation could discriminate against one group or another.

 

Helen Davies said that there was monthly monitoring of allocations which look at the ethnic composition of those allocated housing and the type of housing allocated and then compares this to the whole register.

 

The Chair said that once they had been produced that it would be good for the forum to look at the proposed housing policy options from and equality an diversity perspective.  Trevor Hart agreed that this would be a good idea.

 

4.

NHS Equality Delivery Scheme pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Wasia Shahain to give an overview of the NHS Equality and Diversity Scheme.

 

Indicative time 20 minutes.

Minutes:

As Wasia Shahain was unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances Victoria Lawson outlined what the NHS are doing and publicised the seminars that they are running.  She then asked if there were any questions to be passed on to Wasia.

 

Seren Razak raised the issue of the terminology used in NHS sexuality monitoring.  Sallyanne Yeats responded that the terminology used was part of the plain English campaign and had received the Crystal Mark.

 

Ian Kershaw said that he would be happy to share information and have his details passed on.

5.

HMP Highdown - Equality Impact Assessment timetable and practice

HMP Highdown - Equality Impact Assessment timetable and practice - Nicole Richardson.

 

Indicative time 20 minutes.

Minutes:

Item to be held over until next forum.

6.

Introduction of new safer sutton partnership lead

Chief Inspector Alan Chambers to introduce Inspector Andy Stalley

 

Indicative time 10 minutes.

Minutes:

Inspector Andy Stally attended this item and outlined the approach he would be taking to his new role in the borough which encompasses equality and diversity and community engagement.  Inspector Stally said that he would be focussing on improving the already effective community engagement.  He also outlined his wide range of personal and professional experience in these areas.

 

Sylvia Lambe asked if the police equality and diversity group would be restarted and Inspector Stally said that it would.

 

7.

Fairtrade Community

Fairtrade Community – Judy Walsh

 

Indicative time 20 minutes. 

Minutes:

Judy Walsh attended this item and gave an account of how Fairtrade works.  The agreement with producers guarantees a certain price for products regardless of market fluctuations.  It also provides a premium which must be invested in the local community.

 

Judy said that everything sold in the Olympic village will be Fairtrade and Fairtrade fortnight will be from the 27 February to the 11 March 2012.

 

The website for Fairtrade in Sutton is: http://www.fairtrade.insutton.org/

 

Judy gave an overview of the work undertaken to improve awareness of BME communities locally and asked the forum for suggestions of other ways to advance the work.

 

Sylvia Lambe suggested linking Fairtrade in with existing themes and staging launch and close events for Fairtrade fortnight.

 

Janet Sherborne asked if the Council buys Fairtrade tea and the Chair said that it did.

 

Councillor Holloway said that while it was good to focus on the positives, that it might also be helpful to demonstrate the costs of not buying Fairtrade.  If people knew this then they might make different choices.

 

 

 

8.

Quarterly Hate Incidents Report pdf icon PDF 69 KB

This report describes the oversight that is in place for tracking, and responding to hate incidents in Sutton - Ian Kershaw

 

Indicative time 10 minutes.

Minutes:

Ian Kershaw attended this item and outlined the work undertaken for interfaith week, with the London College of Business Management and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) promotion of Hate Crime Awareness Day.  He also outlined the success of using the Stop Hate UK telephone line, but said that overall the issue remains underreported. 

 

Debbie O’Neil said that based on a ‘snapshot’ survey by CAB that 1/3 of people said that they had been a victim or a witness of a hate crime incident.  She said that while 80% were unaware of the Stop Hate UK line it was good that 20% were.

 

Ian Kershaw gave an update on actions arising from the last forum:

 

·         Age UK had been given the information on hate crime that they had requested;

·         Local committees would be updated on hate crime incidents via the safer neighbourhoods briefings in the new year;

·         Conversations continue to find the right case studies to use;

 

The Chair suggested that hate crime incidents in licensed premises were considered and incorporated into future alcohol license applications.

 

Councillor Holloway suggested putting posters to raise awareness about hate crime and hate crime reporting in pub toilets.

 

Kate Evans said that there was often a need to look at schools where such incidents are either under-reported or not reported at all.  This can lead to intervention, training and assemblies for pupils.  She said that one of her main role is to act as an equality and diversity advisor to schools.  However, it is difficult to get data to make comparisons with other boroughs as posts similar to hers have been cut.

 

The Chair asked if there was any reporting of homophobic abuse.  Kate Evans said that her service were champions for Stonewall with schools and that Sutton schools were often used as examples of good practice.

 

Councillor Holloway asked how parents of hate children who has committed hate crimes were involved.  Kate Evans said that when the incident involved race that it was reported to parents, but that often the hate incidents reported by schools were perpetrated by parents.  She said that a lot of work was done to engage parents in supportive relationships.

 

The Chair invited Kate Evans to return for a formal item on this issue.

 

9.

Events

Events:

·         Interfaith Week

·         Holocaust Memorial Day

·         Jamaican Independence Anniversary (to consider the development of a plan for local celebration).

 

Indicative time 20 minutes.

Minutes:

Interfaith Week

 

Julie Duffy attended to this item.  Julie gave an overview of the work undertaken as part of interfaith week and tabled a detailed report outlining this.  The programme of events was put together over a relatively short period of time but despite this thirteen events took place and the week was publicised widely.

 

Ian Kershaw thanked Julie for all of her hard work on the week.  Seren Razak highlighted the work of SREC and suggested that they and Sutton Centre for Voluntary Services (SCVS) help with Interfaith Week next year.

 

 

Holocaust Memorial Day

 

Victoria Lawson gave an update on the event which will be held on the 27th of January in the Europa Gallery of Sutton library.  Speakers were being sought and plans were progressing.

 

 

Jamaican Independence

 

Sutton has been asked by the Jamaican High Commissioner to support and celebrate the anniversary of Jamaican independence. 

 

Sylvia Lambe suggested that this could form part of Black History Month.

 

Julie Duffy said that it would also fit in with Sutton’s summer festival.

 

 

10.

ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

Brought forward at the direction of the Chair, who has approved the reason for urgency:

 

·         Schools' public sector equality duty;

·         Ideas for forward plan;

·         Suggestions for additional forum members;