Equality and diversity

Equality and diversity

Our approach to Equality and Diversity

Equality is at the heart of our vision and values and is a part of everything that we do.  Newcastle has an increasingly diverse population, but inequality continues to affect different people and communities in different ways. We are committed to tackling discrimination and the inequalities which prevent people from fulfilling their true potential.

We focus on improving our services for all users and tackling unequal outcomes and potentially unfair impacts of decisions and policies. We believe that if Newcastle is a fairer place everyone will benefit.

We have used a framework called the Equality Framework for Local Government to help us make equality part of all our work and meet the needs of all people and communities by tackling discrimination and disadvantage and by fostering good relations between communities.

The importance of equality

We know some people face prejudice and discrimination. This can be due to fear, a lack of understanding or because of hatred and intolerance. This may include harassment, hatred or violence and may be linked to homophobia, racism, sexism or transphobia. We recognise that some people express fear, lack of respect and contempt towards people from other groups and communities.

We know disabled people also face environmental barriers. This means disabled people may not have the same opportunities or choices as non-disabled people.

Providing Services

We know some people find it difficult to access services or take part in public life. By promoting fairness and inclusion we will remove barriers to services and opportunities. We will take practical steps to improve the way we provide our services and act to tackle discrimination that affects specific groups.

We will work with communities to identify their needs and make sure they are met.  We will make sure that everyone has the information they need about our services. We will provide all information in plain English and alternative formats on request. More information can be found in our Information for All Policy.

Working with other organisations

We will make sure that organisations providing services on our behalf follow our approach to equality. We will:

  • Include a commitment to equality in our tender specification
  • include specific equality clauses in contracts; and
  • monitor contractors' performance where relevant.

Our Diverse City

  • We are a growing city - There are approximately 293,700 people living in Newcastle, up from 289,800 in 2014. This is forecast to grow to be as much as 327,000 by 2039. There are 10,750 businesses based in Newcastle, up from 6,680 in 2014.
  • We are a young city - 59,700 people (20.3% of the population) are aged 15-24 years old – this unusually high proportion reflects the number of students living in the city. 42,300 (14.4% of the population) are aged 65 and over. Nearly 50,000 students are enrolled at our two universities.
  • We are a diverse city - 13.4% were born outside of the UK and 5.9% of households have no people who have English as their main language. We are a City of Sanctuary, welcoming people who have sought sanctuary for many years.
  • We are a city with mixed wellbeing - 79.6% of people report their health to the very good or good. 18.7% have a long-term health problem or disability that limits their day-to-day life to some degree.
  • We are a city with areas of significant deprivation - Newcastle’s people currently live in the 53rd (out of 326) most deprived local authority area in the country, an improvement from 40th in 2010.
  • While 23% of people in Newcastle live in the 10% most deprived areas nationally, around 12% live in the 10% least deprived areas nationally. 57% of 0-4-year olds and 55% of 5-14-year olds live in the 30% most deprived areas in England. There are 56,619 children and young people, over 2,500 children are supported by Children’s Social Care and 9,283 (23.2%) are eligible for Free School Meals.
  • We are a city with mixed qualification levels - 35.4% of young people achieved ‘good’ GCSE’s (grades 5-9) in 2017, below the England average of 42.6%. 9% of people aged 16-64 in Newcastle have no qualifications, this compares with 9.6% in the North East and 7.7% for Great Britain.
  • We are a city where unemployment has reduced significantly but it remains too high: The unemployment rate has fallen to 6.9%, down from double-digit levels three years ago. However, this still means 10,100 residents are unemployed, and the rate in Newcastle remains significantly above the national average of 4.8%.
  • Employment levels differ between age groups - 36.4% of people aged 16-24 are employed, 75.7% of people aged 25-49 are employed, 43.3% of people aged 50 and over are employed. 6.8% of young people are not in education, employment or training, lower than the England average of 7.1%. 18.4% jobs are not paid the National Living Wage, down from 21.1% in 2016. The average weekly wage of people who live in Newcastle has increased from £484.00 in 2014 to £535.50 in 2017 but remains lower than the UK average of £552.70.
  • We are a city with a variety of housing options - There are over 131,000 occupied households in Newcastle. There are a higher proportion of flats and a lower proportion of detached properties compared to England and Wales. Approximately nearly 50,000 of these households own their own property, over 6,000 rent from a housing association and over 19,000 rent from a private landlord. Our arm’s length management organisation, Your Homes Newcastle (YHN).

Our diverse workforce

Every person who works for the council makes an important contribution to delivering our vision. Our staff continue to provide high quality services, and make a real difference to Newcastle, and they continue to show remarkable resilience, playing an important role in helping the council to innovate and change in the face of financial challenges. They are great staff, doing great things for a great city.

We are committed to having an engaged workforce; ensuring that all employees have a voice and can get involved and shape the future of our services and how we deliver them. Our most recent pulse staff survey staff showed high levels of agreement with employees feeling valued, listened to and respected.

We are keen to ensure that we have a focus on values and behaviours as part of our transformation journey to 2020. This will ensure that equal weight is given to how we do things as well as being clear about what we do. We are currently working with employees to develop organisational values to ensure everyone is clear about what is expected of them as the organisation continues to change.

We will treat our employees and people who apply for our jobs fairly. We want our workforce to reflect the diversity of our city. This will help us to understand and respond to the needs of our customers. We want to be a place where people from different backgrounds enjoy working. We will make full use of people's talents and skills.

We will take action to encourage people from communities that are under-represented in our workforce to apply for jobs. Examples include a commitment to the 'Positive about Disabled People' Two Ticks Scheme, our participation in Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index and our status as Stonewall Diversity Champions.

We will take equality into account in all aspects of employment including recruitment, terms and conditions, learning and development, promotion and when ending employment.

Annual Equality Report 2019/20

Equality is at the heart of our vision and values, and we continue to identify and tackle inequalities within our city. Since 2010, Newcastle has faced cuts that are unfair and disproportionate, at more than twice the national average. It is therefore essential that decisions we make are based on the fullest possible understanding of people and places in the city, particularly our most vulnerable residents and communities, ensuring that these groups are protected. Our approach to tackling inequality goes beyond our statutory duty. In addition to assessing the impact of any proposals or policies on groups with protected characteristics, our planning process also assesses impact on community cohesion and on those experiencing, or at risk of socio-economic disadvantage.

Recently, the Coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for local government and those providing public services.  We know that the virus has had a disproportionate impact on some communities and that has exacerbated existing structural disadvantages in our country.  We know that our response to the pandemic must recognise these unequal impacts and ensure that measures put in place do not lead to an increase in discrimination and disadvantage in the coming years.

During the pandemic, we created multiple language videos targeting vital COVID-19 public health messages towards BAME communities, specifically in Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Romanian, Czech and Romani. 

We have developed BAME and Disabled Community Health Champions to ensure a dialogue with our communities, providing accurate public health messages and building insight into COVID-19 related concerns, beliefs, or behaviours directly from our communities. We have also provided extra support, advice, and guidance in relation to COVID-19 to our own BAME employees.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reviewed their approach to enforcing compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty which meant that we did not have specific reporting obligations in 2020. This requirement has now been reinstated and we have reported the information in the Annual Equality report 2019/2020.  This also includes our plans for the coming year with a particular emphasis on equality and diversity leadership across all areas of the council.

View the report.

Annual Equality Report 2020/21

View the report.


Newcastle Street Charter

Disabled people face barriers getting around the city. Even in familiar places, getting from one place to another can be a bit like navigating an obstacle course if you are a disabled person. While some things can be difficult to change, other obstacles can be removed by all of us thinking about what we do, where we park our cars, how we ride our bicycles and if we really need to leave our bin in the street.

Newcastle City Council wants to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe, secure and able to participate fully in life in the city. The council is committed to working with disabled people and others to make our city more accessible to all.

Download Newcastle Street Charter (pdf, 2mb)

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