Agenda item

Strategic Equality Annual Report 2020/21


The Mayor invited the Leader to present the above report to Council


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. The Equality Act also required Local Authorities to publish staff equalities data, which this report also contained. This Annual Report related to the first year of delivery against the Council’s new Strategic Equality Objectives, published on 31 March 2020.


The new Objectives were developed in partnership with key internal and external stakeholders and were subject to extensive community engagement. The involvement of grassroots communities ensured that whilst our Plan delivered a strategic vision for equality in Newport, it also ensured tangible outcomes for communities on the ground.


The pandemic presented significant challenges in delivering against some areas of work, for example, in relation to customer services. However, other areas gained traction as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19. The Council’s equality work this year had to be flexible, responding to emerging challenges, particularly around access to information, education and addressing race-based hate crime.


The impacts of the UK leaving the EU was deeply felt by our EU migrant communities this year, and focus on supporting people to remain in Newport and protect their rights and entitlements continued. The Council had taken stock of the effectiveness of our monitoring arrangements throughout the year and took steps to improve them.


This year the Council continued to demonstrate its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in various ways including signing up to Race Council Cymru’s Zero Tolerance to Racism Policy for Wales and Victim Support’s Hate Crime Charter. We marked significant dates, including Pride Month, Black History 365, Refugee Week, Holocaust Memorial Day and Hate Crime Awareness Week.  Earlier this year, £100,000 of funding was distributed to grassroots community projects as part of a Participatory Budgeting programme, and an Accessibility Stakeholder Group was established to advise on council projects with a focus on access for disabled people.


The Council have established a number of staff networks to better support our colleagues from minority backgrounds. The council now had a Diversity (ethnic minority), LGBTQ+ and Disability staff network. Analysis of the data for our workforce highlighted key areas for improvement, including improving the levels of recorded equality data, better aligning recording categories with census data, and understanding why levels of leavers were higher for particular groups (e.g. people from an ethnic minority background and disabled people).


The council still had work to do to improve representation of minority ethnic staff at all levels of the organisation, and this would be a focus for our work during 2021/22.  The Council established specific Recruitment and Representative Workforce working groups to progress this. 


This Annual Report went to Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and to Cabinet.  This version included a sample of the graphics that would be used in the final published report and communications.


The Leader moved acceptance of the Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report and invited the Cabinet Member for Assets and Resources to second the motion.


The Cabinet Member for Assets and Resources added that this report was a summary of the work undertaken during first year of our new 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, and the Annual Report set out clear priorities for the next period based on a review of our workforce data and progress against our Equality Objectives to date.


Work this year was delivered against a challenging backdrop which resulted in an acute focus on inequalities and scrutiny of public services’ response to the pandemic, particularly in supporting minority communities. A key strength this period was the increased engagement of key stakeholders, including both our grassroots communities and minority staff. This had not only informed the Council’s response to COVID-19, but also its priorities during recovery and wider equalities work.


The Cabinet Member also noted that the report was also very well written by officers and was very comprehensive.


The council’s Strategic Equalities Group had refreshed and now received quarterly highlight reports, was attended by Elected Member Champions and Network Chairs and was notably more outcome focussed in its approach to supporting this work.



Council approved the Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report 20/21 for publication in accordance with statutory deadlines.


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