a) Presentation by the Senior Policy Manager (Equalities), Corporate Policy and Partnership Team
b) The Equality Standard for Local Government – Report on Sutton’s Level 3 Self Assessment
Dennis Bartholomew, Senior Policy Manager (Equalities) gave an interesting presentation on the End of Year Report from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 called Much Achieved, New Challenges Ahead. Dennis explained that the document contained the major equality and diversity action, including the Council’s key disability action. Dennis advised that the document allows the Forum to hold the Council to account and enabled progress to be monitored.
Dennis advised that the Equality Scheme was created after looking at what the Forum have asked the Council to do. Managers were asked for their approval of the scheme, following which it was implemented and reported to the Forum.
Dennis explained what had been achieved at the various Levels of the Equality Standard.
Launch of the Sutton Equality Scheme – bringing together Sutton’s key equality and diversity actions
Launching a corporate equalities and diversity impact assessment that identifies the effect of Sutton’s action on individuals and/or communities facing discrimination
Successful re-launch of Sutton Council’s Minority Ethnic Employees Association
Membership of Stonewall’s, Diversity Champion’s Programme.
Launch of the Older People’s Strategy
Launch, together with Age Concern of The Sutton Handbook – a free directory of older people’s services
Sutton has asked customers for equality and diversity information at the point of service
The percentage of disabled employees has increased from 1.3% in 2003/4 to 5% in 2007/8.
Sutton remains a Mencap Champion for its recruitment of people with physical and learning disabilities
In July 2007 Sutton signed the Skills Pledge – committing it to actively encourage and support employees to acquire literacy and numeric skills.
Continuation of pay equality issues.
All of which contributed to higher customer care results than any other London Borough – measured by the 2007 MORI survey, and
enabled Level 3 of the Equality Standard to be achieved.
Dennis said that the challenges to the Forum would be:
Dennis advised that Report on Sutton’s Level 3 Assessment was a precis of a 20 page document which stated that Sutton Council continued to mainstream equality and diversity into all aspects of its work as part of a continuous process of service improvement. This process is underpinned by the Equality and Diversity Policy, in which its commitment is spelt out:
“Sutton will treat all people with dignity and respect, valuing the diversity of all. Sutton will promote equality of opportunity and diversity. Sutton will eliminate all forms of discrimination in service delivery, employment, and in working with Sutton partners, including on grounds of race, gender, caring responsibilities, disability, gender re-assignment, age, social class, sexual orientation and religion or belief. Sutton will tackle social exclusion, inequality, discrimination and disadvantage.
For Sutton’s policy to be successful, it is essential that everyone is committed to, and involved in its delivery. Sutton’s goal is to work towards a just society, free from discrimination, harassment and prejudice. Its aim is to embed this in all Sutton policies, procedures, day-to-day practices and external relationship.
A copy of the 2007/8 Scheme, which currently covers race, disability, age and sex equality, can be found on the Sutton’s website under the Community and Living Section. The 2008/9 Scheme will be amended to include the additional equality strands of sexual orientation and faith and belief.
Using the guidance provided by the Standard and the results of the Tracker Sutton has self-assessed progress on equality and diversity as being at Level 3 of the Standard. Dennis explained that in some areas Levels 4/5 have been achieved.
Ben Unsworth advised that the Council were trying to break down barriers for job interviews with “job carving” where a small piece of a job, maybe 1 or 2 hours per week, is used to change someone’s life.