Introduction

Newcastle has an increasingly diverse population, but inequality continues to affect different people and communities in different ways. The gap between the most and least deprived areas in Newcastle continues to have a major impact on thousands of residents, with some areas of the city suffering significantly in terms of health, education, employment and housing so that people's life chances are reduced.

We will tackle inequality by tackling discrimination and the inequalities which prevent people from fulfilling their true potential. The Council Plan sets out a high-level overview of how we will approach this priority.

Our aims

Because our values are at the centre of everything we do, we focus 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. We are continuing to build on this work to help us meet the needs of all people and communities, and take steps to tackle discrimination and disadvantage and foster 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.
We recognise the links between religious intolerance and racism. Sometimes there can be conflict between some groups. For example there can be tensions between people from certain religious groups and people from LGB community.

We will make sure through Integrated Impact Assessments (IIAs) that our decisions and policies tackle all forms of discrimination and include ways to address the needs of members of all groups and communities.

Our commitments

We want to make sure that all people have equal access to education, employment, services and opportunities. We will:

  • meet all our legal equality duties
  • follow codes of practice published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • ensure that equality analysis informs relevant sections of the Newcastle Future Needs Assessment (NFNA)
  • publish equality objectives based on NFNA evidence at least every 3 years and report our progress every year
  • carry out Integrated Impact Assessments (IIAs) on our significant decisions, policies, plans, practices and procedures
  • take action to remove discrimination and inequality when we deliver services
  • make our services easy for everyone to use
  • engage people from all communities to help shape our services
  • make sure others providing services on our behalf comply with our commitments
  • take action to address social, economic and geographical disadvantage
  • aim to have a workforce which reflects the diverse communities we serve
  • treat all employees fairly
  • tackle bullying and harassment
  • provide employees with training on how equality affects their work and how they can help deliver services that take everyone's needs into account.

Accountability

Equality is the responsibility of every councillor, employee and everyone who represents the council or delivers services on our behalf. We have a three-part structure to monitor our progress:

  • Equality representatives from each directorate, who have everyday responsibility for equalities work as part of their wider roles, meet regularly with the equality and Access Advisor and other corporate officers to discuss issues and monitor progress.
  • Equality and Inclusion Board - senior managers who have been chosen by their directorates to provide strategic leadership and challenge on equality work. It is chaired by the Equality Champion, who ensures that Directors Team is aware of and takes action on key issues.
  • Council Joint Committee a forum for trade union representatives to engage with senior councillors and Directors; an equality update is a standing item on the agenda.

Employing people

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.

We continue to support our employee staff groups. We consult them and include Trade Unions in our approach to equality.

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.  We will take action 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.

Further Information

For more information email equality@newcastle.gov.uk

Employees can also speak to their line manager, Human Resources, Directorate Equality Representative or our Equality and Access Advisor, Rachel Archbold

Page last updated: 
13 May 2014
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