Fairness and opportunity

Equality and diversity is about fairness and opportunity for all.

Equality is about giving everyone an equal chance to fulfil their potential.  It means providing equality of opportunity, equal access to services and fair and proportional treatment.

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Diversity recognises, respects, values and celebrates everyone's differences.  Treating everyone as an individual means appreciating each person's skills, ideas, perspectives and experiences and meeting their needs.

Everyone is protected by law from discrimination and are covered by equality and diversity guidelines regarding nine protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability (physical, learning and mental)
  • Sex (male/female) 
  • Sexual orientation (lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual)
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief (including those who have no faith)
  • Pregnancy and Maternity 
  • Marriage and civil partnership

You are also protected if you are discriminated against because you are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic, For example protecting carers from discrimination. The Equality Act will protect people who are, for example, caring for a disabled child or relative. They will be protected by virtue of their association to that person.

How do we make sure we get it right?

It's not about political correctness or box-ticking, but about making sure the council provide the kind of services that are needed, in a way that does not exclude anyone.

The council does this through assessing the impact of its services on their staff and customers, by involving them in its decision-making and making sure its policies aren't discriminating against any groups in its communities or its workforce.  This is really important in creating an organisation which is truly inclusive and reflects the communities it serves.

The services we provide

The council need to make sure its services are accessible and that customers are treated fairly and equitably.

This includes:

  • Ensuring the information it produces is easy to read and in plain English
  • Buildings are physically accessible
  • Involving customers wherever possible in service design
  • Using customer feedback to improve the services it delivers
  • Using customer data it collects to check that everyone can access its services and is fairly treated
  • Checking if there is anyone not using services who should be
  • Ensuring it has considered the impacts of policy changes on different groups of customers.