We consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day work, in developing policies, in delivering services and in relation to our own employees.
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Equality Act 2010 extends fully to the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex (gender), sexual orientation and pregnancy and maternity. It extends to marriage and civil partnership only in relation to the need to eliminate discrimination in employment.
As part of the Act, additional statutory duties are placed on public sector organisations. The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) statute requires public bodies to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. However, it also requires public bodies to publish equality information on our workforce and customers by 31 January 2012 and every year thereafter.
Our equality information on these pages is a result of learning from external good practice and an extensive internal formal consultation across our organisation during December 2011. Our colleagues told us they did not want just workforce statistics but asked that we be ambitious and transparent in sharing our governance and details of some of our diversity initiatives.
We started the consultation with our business leads in May 2011. We developed them in our regular executive Diversity Strategy Group meetings and then in December launched the formal consultation. We issued the consultation across our business via our Directors, our Executive Managers, those responsible in our regions for the implementation of local diversity initiatives, our employee diversity networks, our employee diversity forums, our HR business partners, Employee Relations and the trade unions. During this cascade of information more employees became engaged to offer their views, and submitted individual responses.
Now that we have published in time for the statutory date of 31 January, we will continue this important work, to develop new equality information and also continue to monitor responses to the publication of this information. We will update these pages in April following the end of our current financial year. Until then we are launching a public consultation on our equality objectives, and will publish our objectives by the statutory date of 6 April 2012.
Our response to the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Government’s transparency agenda does not finish on April 6th. We will continue to address gaps in our information, and will publish equality information on our employees and on our customers on an annual basis together with progress reports on our equality objectives.
Our Diversity and Equality Policy Principles
1. We recognise the benefits of having a diverse workforce and we will strive for fairness and equality of opportunity in all areas of employment, identifying and removing barriers that prevent all employees from progressing and developing their potential. We will support and encourage employee networks to provide peer group support for employees.
2. We will ensure that the service we provide to our customers, communities and partners is free from discrimination. We will ensure our services are accessible to all and that the diverse needs of our customers are understood and met wherever reasonably possible. We will work to reach out to vulnerable groups to ensure that there is a mutual understanding of our respective needs and requirements.
3. Diversity and equality will be taken into account and reflected in our procurement of goods, facilities and services. Contractors, partners and suppliers who deliver services on our behalf will share our aspirations for diversity and will be expected to comply with our Diversity and Equality Policy.
4. We will encourage all employees to self disclose their diversity details on our confidential database. We will use this aggregated information to understand the adjustments we need to make in the workplace and to our policies.
5. In line with our corporate plan, “we develop our people and benefit from diversity." This is what we are doing:
- all managers and team leaders have responsibility for considering diversity and equality within their teams (and the work of their teams);
- employee networks are our partners and critical friends, inspiring, engaging and supporting our diversity aspirations and challenging us where we need to take action;
- trade unions are our partners ensuring the policies we apply to our employees are legal, supporting our diversity aspirations and challenging us when necessary.