In complying with the Equality Act 2010, and in seeking to be proactive, we show that we meet what's called the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The legislation states that a listed authority must comply with both a general equality duty and specific duties as set out in the act.
The general equality duty can be described as the duty on a public authority, when carrying out its functions, to have what's called 'due regard' to the three equality aims. These are:
- Eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- Advancing equality of opportunity
- Fostering good relations
To demonstrate full compliance with the specific duties, we publish annual information about workforce diversity and service user diversity, as well as working towards corporate equality objectives that will help to achieve any of the things mentioned in the general equality duty.
The Shropshire Council Equality Objectives Action Plan is a key strand of the corporate and partnership approach we take towards continuing compliance with the PSED. Action plans are required to be published by local authorities at a minimum of four yearly intervals. Our cabinet endorsed our 2016/2020 action plan at its meeting on 13 July 2016.
The progress we're making here in Shropshire builds on our first action plan covering 2012-2016, endorsed by cabinet back in 2012. This was updated in 2014, following a mid-cycle stocktake of compliance with the PSED, and published online as a year-end report on 31 March 2015. It included actions in the following areas:
- Publish equality and diversity information more visibly
- Collect and analyse equality and diversity data more proactively
- Work more jointly with partner organisations on equality-related issues
Placing continued emphasis on such actions is helping us to meet our general equality duty under the PSED.
The Equality Objectives Action Plan 2016/2020 enables up-to-date positioning of the council to assist in these efforts to meet our general duty, to seek to demonstrate good practice in so doing, and to facilitate timely links with other corporate policy and strategy development, using the 'core value' of equality and inclusion set out in our 2016/17 corporate plan.
This value is defined as: “Treating everyone as equal regardless of their circumstances and backgrounds, and identifying and helping people who may need support”. The action plan accordingly sets out ways in which we demonstrate the application of this and other corporate values, and ongoing progress towards achieving the national equality aims.