We recognise that involvement and effective participation of members, staff, our service users and partners is fundamental to the way the Council operates. We strongly believe that involving, engaging and consulting with people should be meaningful and sustainable. We want to continually improve our ways of engaging and involving people. The following equality governance structures are in place to ensure that we actively engage with members, staff, service users and partners.
Reducing inequality and delivering the Council’s equality objectives can only be delivered effectively if it is embedded across the organisation and within partnership working. The equality governance structure outlines how key internal and external groups/partnerships work in collaboration to deliver the Council’s commitment to equality. A brief description of each element of the structure is outlined below.
The Executive is responsible for the development of the policies, strategies and plans for the Council and their approval. The Executive comprises the Leader of the Council and a small number of members of Council appointed by the Leader following the Council’s Annual meeting. There will always be an Executive Member responsible for equalities.
The primary role of the Overview and Scrutiny function is to hold local decision makers to account in order to help improve local services. Overview and Scrutiny Committees have wide ranging powers and can review decisions taken by the Council and its partners; highlight areas of improvement; advise on policy development and formulation; enable the voice and concerns of the public to be heard and make recommendations to support the improvement of services. The role of Overview and Scrutiny committees is not restricted to Council run services. Any area of work that is of interest to the local community may be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny committees. Equalities is one of the many areas that they give consideration to.
The main responsibility for making sure the Council fulfils its duties and delivers improvement actions to achieve our equality and diversity objectives rests with CMT. It comprises the Chief Executive and their team of most senior directors.
The Council’s equality activities are managed and overseen by the Corporate Equality Group. The group, made up of senior officers from across all Council departments, provides strategic direction on the Council’s equality work to meet our legislative duties and good practice. The intent is to ensure positive outcomes for the people of the district including the district’s different equality groups, and that the organisation creates and implements an effective approach to equalities. This is undertaken through overseeing connections and communications between and within Council departments, delivery of the equality objectives, addressing associated risks and maintaining a dialogue with our communities and employees.
Equalities is a concern for all the partnerships and groups within the BDP family. Strategic oversight is given by the Equalities and Community Relations Strategic Group which reports directly to the Safer and Stronger Communities Partnership. As part of BDP governance arrangements, the BDP Board has ultimate responsibility for all matters relating to the work of the broader partnership including equalities.
The Council has a framework for the different ways we engage with communities which is called the Community Engagement Framework. This is made up of the three aspects theme, place and people. All three are relevant to equalities and reducing inequalities experienced by the district’s neighbourhoods and communities.