Agenda item

Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report


The Presiding Member invited the Leader to present the next item, which was the Council’s Annual Report on the progress against its Strategic Equality Plan 2020-24.


The Leader presented the report.  Under the Equality Act (2010) the Council was required to report annually on the progress it made against the strategic equality objectives contained within its Strategic Equality Plan.


Newport Council’s Equality Objectives were developed in partnership with key internal and external stakeholders and was subject to extensive community engagement.


This Strategic Equalities Annual Report was reviewed by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and Cabinet, comments were included in the final report.


The impact of the pandemic continued to present challenges in delivering against some areas of work in 2021/22, however Newport’s equalities work continued to be flexible, responding to emerging challenges, particularly around access to information, education and addressing hate crime.


Highlights from the past year were outlined by the Leader to Council colleagues including inclusive Leadership training completed by nearly 300 Senior Leaders and Managers and the recent appointment of the Leader as WLGA Spokesperson for Equalities, Migration and Anti-Poverty.


Significant dates, including LGBT+ History Month, Ramadan, Holocaust Memorial Day, Pride Month, Refugee Week, Windrush Day, Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, Black History Month and Hate Crime Awareness Week, were recognised and promoted across the city.

Fairness and Equality Impact Assessments including the Socio-economic Duty against policy/decision making were ongoing and been considered against a range of decisions.  Our good practice here was recently cited in a national Audit Wales report.


£415,000 of funding was distributed to 79 community projects, overseen by and a representative community steering group, working closely with Newport’s Fairness Commission.


Staff networks for disabled, LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority staff continued to provide a platform for staff from under-represented groups to influence the workplace policy, service delivery and strategic decision making.


Significant support provided to EU citizens in Newport ensured eligible residents could submit late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme post deadline.


Equality, Hate Crime and EUSS awareness sessions delivered to senior customer service staff.


Preparing schools for the requirements of the Relationships and Sexuality Statutory Education Code (RSE).


During the year over 2,665 people were supported by all floating support schemes to access and maintain their accommodation, including adults with learning disabilities and refugees.


The council’s ethnic minority representation remained similar this year despite a slight increase in staff numbers, and our gender pay gap had reduced for this period.


The council still had work to do to improve the representation of minority ethnic staff at all levels of the organisation, and this would be a focus for our work during 2022/23.


The Leader moved acceptance of the Strategic Equality Plan Annual report asked the Presiding Member if the Cabinet Member for Organisational Transformation could second the motion and say a few words.


Councillor Batrouni seconded the motion and added that the report was a summary of the work undertaken during the second year of the Strategic Equality Plan. It set out the Council’s commitment to a workplace culture and approach to service delivery that valued inclusion and diversity.


The Council would continue to progress this work over the next 12 months. The Annual Report set clear priorities for the next period based on a review of our workforce data and progress against our Equality Objectives.


The Council’s Strategic Equalities member and officer Group would continue to support the delivery of our Strategic Equality Plan and ensure that the Council was innovative in its approach and effectively involve key stakeholders.


Comments from Councillors:


§  Councillor Batrouni focused on the participatory budget process; 79 community groups benefited from over £400,000 of funding last year and it was open this year, with £300,000 funding. Councillors were to encouraged to advise people to contact the council for funding. Councillor Batrouni also thanked predecessor Councillor Mayer on his work highlighted in the annual report.


§  Councillor Davies commented that a key aspect of the plan was the implementation of the socio-economic duty, which came into force in March 2021 by the WG and it was good to see that it was embedded within the authority.  Its purpose was to reduce inequality of outcome for residents.


§  Councillor Cocks was delighted to see the plan and was duly proud of work in relation to equalities and it showed the commitment that the Council had for these groups.  It also celebrated the good work that was done and there was an emphasis on data and engagement.


§  Councillor Al-Nuaimi supported the report and issues that came under strategic quality. Councillor Al-Nuaimi also referred to equality, which had come a long way in the council. There was however concern with Islamophobia within Newport, Councillor Al-Nuaimi was approached by the Muslim Council and felt that engagement through strategic equality group by inviting people from the Muslim communities would benefit the Council and hoped that they would look at further engagement.


§  Councillor Hussain supported the plan and wanted to second what Councillor Batrouni had said regarding the participatory budget and had seen first-hand projects undertaken in Maindee and Victoria. It was encouraging to see funding and budget going to well-deserved projects.


§  The Leader thanked colleagues for their engagement regarding the report.  The Leader also acknowledged the work driven forward by previous cabinet members Whitcutt and Councillor Mayer, however there was still more work to do.  The Leader was aware that the Cabinet Member had engaged with Cllr Al Nuaimi and there would be further development on this going forward.


The motion was put to the vote and was carried unanimously



Council approved the  Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report and agreed to publish it on the council’s website, in accordance with Statutory guidelines.


Supporting documents: