CAMBRIDGE City Council’s Single Equality Scheme 2021 to 2024 was approved at the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 7 October. This scheme identifies priorities for the next three years around promoting equality and tackling discrimination in the city for people with characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010.
The council publishes a Single Equality Scheme every three years to identify how it will meet its legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010. The council’s objectives for 2021 to 2024 are:
- To further increase its understanding of the needs of Cambridge’s growing and increasingly diverse communities so that it can target our services effectively.
- To continue to work to improve access to and take-up of council services by all residents and communities.
- To work towards a situation where all residents have equal access to public activities and spaces in Cambridge and are able to participate fully in the community.
- To tackle discrimination, harassment and victimisation and ensure that people from different backgrounds living in the city continue to get on well together.
- To ensure that the council’s own employment and procurement policies and practices are non-discriminatory and to work towards a more representative workforce.
In meeting its objectives, the council aims to:
- Improve collaboration with customers and communities to ensure needs of customers from different equality groups are met, and to develop strong and resilient communities.
- Collaborate with voluntary and community sector, public sector, and private sector partners to identify improvements to the council’s service provision, and to identify where it can influence and facilitate positive change outside of the services it directly delivers.
- Empower its staff to respond to changing needs of different customers and communities related to tackling inequality and discrimination.
- Consider intersectionality in responding to residents’ and customers’ needs (which is where groups have more than one protected characteristic that taken together create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage).
- Explore how to improve equalities monitoring by council services to gain a better understanding of which groups are using its services and their experiences, and which groups are not accessing services and why.
- Ensure that vulnerable people are provided with opportunities to have face-to-face support from the council, as it implements a new ‘digital first’ customer services model. This will include older people and disabled people who cannot access the internet.
- Address long-lasting issues either caused by or exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic that are experienced differently and to different extents by people with different protected characteristics: such as poverty, isolation and loneliness, and hate crime/ hate incidents.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “Cambridge City Council’s Single Equality Scheme recommits us to ensuring services are welcoming, inclusive, and accessible to different communities. It also commits us to using our role as a public leader to help celebrate the city’s diversity and actively tackle discrimination – working with customers, communities, and other organisations.
“The scheme is especially important in the context of how coronavirus has drawn attention to, and exacerbated, many pre-existing inequalities and forms of discrimination experienced by people with different protected characteristics. These include discrimination and inequalities around health outcomes, access to technology, loneliness and isolation, educational attainment, employment opportunities, poverty and low-income, domestic abuse, safety on city streets, and hate crime.”
For more information on the council’s approach to equality and diversity, and to find links to groups who support our diverse communities, visit https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/equality-and-diversity