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Agenda Item No. 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 23 April 2013

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Annual Equality Monitoring Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise members of progress on the Annual Equality Monitoring Report (Appendix A). 

Recommendations

That the Annual Equality Monitoring Report for 2011 / 2012 is noted.

Reasons for the Recommendations

The Annual Equality Monitoring Report contains information or comment on each of the subjects that the Council is required to report on. 

Background

2.             The Equality Act 2010 includes a new public sector equality duty (the 'general duty') as well as specific duties for Wales.  The specific duties include the requirement to publish an annual report by 31 March each year.  The annual report must set out:

·         the steps the council has taken to identify and collect relevant information;

·         how the council has used this information in meeting the three aims of the general duty;

·         any reasons for not collecting relevant information;

·         a statement on the effectiveness of the council's arrangements for identifying and collecting relevant information;

·         progress towards fulfilling each of the council's equality objectives;

·         a statement on the effectiveness of the steps that the council has taken to fulfil each of its equality objectives;

·         specified employment information, including information on training and pay (unless it has already published this information elsewhere).

The council may include in its annual reports any other matter it feels is relevant to meeting the general duty and specific duties.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             The council is required to report on the above issues for the year annually by 31 March. 

4.             The council does not have comprehensive information on all the areas that it must report on but the report explains what we are doing to address this.

5.             The report explains the steps that have been taken to better meet the requirements for the next reporting year. 

6.             Schools are listed public authorities under the Public Sector Equality Duty specific duties in Wales.  As such, they are responsible for producing their own annual equality monitoring reports.  They have received guidance from the School Improvement Service and the Welsh Local Government Association.

7.             Systems and processes are being developed so that the council is in a better position to collect and analyse employment and equality information in the future.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.             Officer time is needed to collect, analyse and report on equality and employment information on an ongoing basis.  The benefit is a better understanding of how to target resources to deliver services which best meet the needs of users.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.             The equality duty contributes to the sustainable development principle of ensuring a strong, healthy and just society.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.        The Equality Act 2010 created a new public sector duty, replacing the race, disability and gender equality duties. The duty came into force in April 2011. The duty covers age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. Under the general duty, public sector organisations must have due regard to the need to:

·         eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;

·         advance equality of opportunity between different groups;

·         foster good relations between different groups.

11.        The duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination also covers marriage and civil partnership.

12.        The Equality Act gives Welsh Ministers the power to impose specific duties through regulations. The specific duties are legal requirements designed to help public bodies meet the general duty. These were published in April 2011. 

13.        The Equality and Human Rights Commission published guidance on the public sector equality duty for Wales on 8 June 2011.  It will perform its regulatory role in ensuring that listed bodies comply with the duty. 

14.        If the Equality and Human Rights Commission thinks that the Council has not complied with a public sector equality duty, it has the power to seek compliance.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.        The work reported upon in the Annual Equality Monitoring Report will assist in promoting community cohesion by meeting the diverse needs of local people and creating equal opportunity.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.        The Annual Equality Monitoring Report sets out how the council has been working to meet the general duty and public sector equality duty for Wales. 

17.        The council is required to collect, use and publish this equality employment information to help understand how its policies, practices and decisions affect individuals who share one or more of the protected characteristics.  This process is essential if the council is to comply with the requirements of the public sector specific equality duties in Wales. The information is required to accurately inform the equality impact assessment process, the Strategic Equality Plan and equality objectives.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.        It is a corporate priority, included in the draft Corporate Plan 2013 - 2017, to work with partners to promote good governance and ensure a coordinated approach to delivering the shared vision for the future of the Vale.  This plan and its objectives support each of the three associated improvement objectives:

·         to tackle those issues that matter most to local people, with customer focus at the heart of the council’s service delivery;

·         to provide leadership in representing and promoting the interests of the local community and engage effectively with citizens and stakeholders;

·         to promote through partnership working greater cooperation with other organisations that deliver services in the Vale, thereby improving the quality of life of its citizens.

19.        It is also a corporate priority to manage the council’s workforce, money, information and assets efficiently, effectively and securely.  This proposal supports each of the associated improvement objectives:

·         to provide effective corporate management and to improve the use of resources in meeting our strategic objectives;

·         to manage, support and develop our employees to enable them to deliver and maintain the council’s services to the highest possible standard;

·         to make best use of our assets and to procure good, sustainable services and facilities.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        Engagement has been conducted at various stages whilst gathering equality and employment information.  Consultees have included the Head of Human Resources, the Head of Financial Services.  Also, guidance has been sought from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Welsh Local Government Association.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Equality and Human Rights Commission Guidance: Annual reporting, publishing and Ministerial duties: A guide for listed public authorities in Wales

 

Stonewall's 'What's it got to do with you?' leaflet.

 

Welsh Government '2012 - Collecting Equality Data and Harmonised Standards Best Practice' guidance.

 

Equality and Human Rights Commission's Technical Guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty Wales

 

Contact Officer

Nicola Hinton, Corporate Equalities Officer

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager - Corporate Policy and Communications

Head of Performance and Development

Head of Human Resources

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

 

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