Our Equality Duties

Background

The Equality Act (EA) 2010 consolidated a body of equalities legislation and was designed to improve understanding of what applying equalities to the workplace and service delivery actually means in practice.

The Equality Act 2010 added to the duties that public sector must comply with and created the public sector equality duty.

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The 2010 Act replaces race, disability and gender equality duties with a much broader spectrum. The new duty covers the following:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage & Civil partnership
  • Pregnancy & maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

The General Duty

Under the General Duty we must take steps to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation (this also covers marriage and civil partnerships)
  • Advance equality of opportunity between different groups
  • Foster good relations between different groups

The Specific Duty

The specific duty requires us by law to demonstrate equality performance by:

  • Publishing equality information: Since 2012, we have met the duty to publish information demonstrating our compliance with the General Duty. Under the Act we are required to include information relating to persons who share a relevant protected characteristic (e.g. age, race, disability). This must also include equality information about our employees and other persons affected by our policies and practices. This is published annually on the council’s website.
  • Preparing and publishing equality objectives: The 2010 Act also requires us to prepare and publish one or more specific and measurable equality objectives. These objectives can relate to any of our relevant functions, including those as an employer.

Our Equality Objectives

Rother and Wealden have similar corporate objectives and share a set of common equality objectives. These are set out below and represent our priorities in achieving more equal outcomes within our communities.

Our Corporate Equality Objectives are:

We will:

  • Embed the equality objectives through the procurement and contract life cycle processes.
  • Complete equality impact assessments on new projects and keep assessments under review through consultation and engagement with identified groups.
  • Support others in reducing rural isolation by developing local transport solutions with partners and by improving access to the internet across the districts.
  • Ensure all residents, particularly those who are vulnerable, are able to access state benefits and financial support provided by the Councils.
  • Ensure residents affected by Welfare Reforms have access to support and sources of advice.
  • Continue to monitor reports of hate crime and deliver the councils’ responsibilities as required in law and contained within the councils’ approved policies.
  • Facilitate the delivery of economic and housing growth to assist in reducing economic disparities to meet the needs of all who live or wish to live in the Districts. We will seek to consult and engage with local communities to provide greater opportunities for residents to access suitable housing, local jobs, services, facilities and leisure and recreational facilities.
  • Comply with gender pay reporting legislation which requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees.

We will:

  • Ensure that all council services, information, communications consultation activities and events are as accessible as is reasonably practicable to provide.
  • Ensure that where refurbishments works are carried out to the councils’ own buildings, consideration is given to improving. accessibility inside and out and for new development, equality is built into the design.
  • Promote healthy lifestyles and encourage more people to take up sport or active recreation regardless of their protected characteristics.
  • Protect and improve the Districts’ urban and rural landscapes and protect, enhance and improve accessibility to green infrastructure (including the landscape, countryside, leisure and recreation provision) to benefit all members of the local community and visitors to the Districts.

We will:

  • Ensure that a programme is in place for customers’ access needs to be recorded at first point of contact by Customer Services.
  • Ensure that equality principles are reflected in all service level agreements and community grant applications.
  • Explicitly incorporate these equality objectives into our service plans and track, measure and report upon delivery.
  • Provide regular equality and diversity training to our staff and Councillors to ensure that knowledge remains current, legal obligations are complied with, that equality and diversity are embedded in service delivery and our staff and Councillors are confident in engaging with all those in our communities.
  • Capture up to date, relevant equality data from our customers proportionate to delivering services to those with protected characteristics in our communities.