The Council considers equality throughout all its functions to ensure that all members of the public have equal opportunities to access our services. The equality duty encourages public bodies to make good decisions by considering and asking how different people may be affected by our services and any changes we make to them.
At the Council we have adopted a number of methods in order to embed equality throughout our services and bring it to the forefront of our decision making. Staff and Councillors have been provided with the opportunity to attend training including a training session with role play scenarios. There are various internal avenues where equality issues can be identified and addressed, these are outlined below.
Equalities Member Panel
An officer and councillor diversity group meets quarterly to ensure diversity is a central part of our work. Three councillors in the group have a specialist interest in equality issues. The Head of Paid Service chairs the meeting and leads on equalities work in the Council with the support of the Corporate Support Manager . Both these officers also attend the Corporate Equalities Officer Group ensuring that links between the two groups are maintained. The member panel monitors our progress on equality action plans and discusses any issues raised by the community.
Equality Member Champion
Full Council has appointed Councillor Ian Whitburn as member champion for equalities. He attends both the Equalities Member Panel and Corporate Equality Officer Group to contribute to the meeting and provide feedback to other interested councillors where necessary.
Corporate Equality Officer Group
An Equality Officer Group has been set up to oversee the implementation and mainstreaming of equality and diversity in all aspects of service provision and employment matters. The group is responsible for the delivery of the Council’s Single Equality Scheme and supporting the Council in working towards the "achieving" level of the equality framework for local government.
Single Equalities Scheme
The Council have developed a scheme which sets out how we will eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity between different groups; and foster good relations between different groups. In 2010, the councils first scheme was developed through a comprehensive and positive engagement process, with local residents, staff and councillors. This consultation exercise led to the development of 7 key objectives for the Council to progress through the equalities agenda. In 2014 the scheme was reviewed and consultation carried out on the objectives, here you can view the Single Equality Scheme 2014. This scheme is then supported by an annual action plan to work towards achieving these objectives, and monitored by the Equality Officer Group.
Here you can view the latest version of the Council's Equality Champion's Annual report and progress against the Single Equality Scheme Action Plan for 2013 - 2014.
Equality Impact Assessments
The council undertakes equality impact assessments (EIA) to identify potential impacts of our policies, services and functions on residents and staff. Although they are no longer required by law we still carry out EIAs to ensure that the services we provide, and changes we make to them, do not negatively impact upon specific protected characteristics. EIA’s are published and available to view below:
Equality Impact Assessments
Completed EIAs are published under each of the service areas. Please use the links on the left hand side or below to navigate to the impact assessment you require. When assessments are updated previous documents will be replaced, so only the most up to date are displayed. (On a separate page with link to each services EIA’s)
Equality Framework for Local Government
The Equality Framework for Local Government provides a performance and improvement framework to enable local authorities to mainstream equality and work towards a recognised achievement. The framework consists of three levels:
Level 1 – Developing
Level 2 – Achieving
Level 3 – Excellent
We are currently at the developing level, the second and third levels are assessed through a peer challenge. The peer challenge consists of two parts; a review of the authorities self-assessment and an onsite inspection visit.
In February 2011 the Council took part in a mock peer assessment where a trained equality peer assessor visited the council and met with staff, councillors and members of our equality advisory panel to establish the Council’s working practices. The peer assessor concluded that there is a wealth of good work being done by the council and following some areas being developed then it would be successful in gaining the status of ‘achieving’. Progression through the levels of the framework is resource intensive and for this reason the Council will not be seeking a Peer Challenge but will continue to work towards the requirements of the framework. Please use the links below to view our self-assessment, case studies used for the mock assessment and the report of the assessor’s findings:
FoDDC self assessment
Mock assessment report
While there is no explicit legal requirement under the general equality duty to engage with people of different protected characteristics, the general equality duty requires public authorities to have an adequate evidence base for decision making, and engagement can assist with developing that evidence base. Engaging with stakeholders and employees will help public authorities to base their policies on evidence, rather than on assumptions.
The Council has recently restructured some departments and as part of this restructure a new Community Support Team has been created. The team sits within the Environmental services group and is led by the Community Support Manager. The Community Engagement team has 3 Community Engagement Officers, the Street Warden service and the externally funded Health initiatives.
The 3 Community Engagement Officers are each allocated a geographic location in the District to focus on although each also has a thematic lead for the whole District. Their role as a Community Engagement Officer is to work with partnership groups, organisations, Parish Councils and other groups to improve the quality of life for local communities. More information on the teams work can be found on their pages.
The Street wardens again are each allocated a geographic location in the District to focus and deal with issues such as abandoned vehicles, community safety, dog warden services, clean neighbourhoods and other environment duties as well as compliment the work of the Community Engagement Officers.
The Community Support team works closely with the districts village agents. The Village Agents work across Gloucestershire, and are there to help residents to make contact with agencies who are able to provide services that they may need. They offer a signposting service primarily to the over 50s and are able to visit people in their own homes.
In addition to this there are many other ways that they Council engage with residents of the district including the following:
Customer Feedback Policy
The Council have developed and adopted a Feedback Policy that enables members of the public to contact us to provide feedback on our services. Here you can go to the customer feedback pages.
Equality Advisory Panel
We have an Equalities Advisory Panel which consists of members of the community representing groups of people sharing protected characteristics. They give us feedback on our services and help us to carry out equality impact assessments. Their feedback helps us to identify opportunities for improvement. The group was established in April 2008 and we are currently reviewing how this group will work in the future.
On our web pages we have a section that relates to consultation, our policies on consultation and how we consult with our residents. This section also identifies any consultation activities we are currently undertaking and any recent activity we have completed. Here you can view the consultation pages.