Equality and diversity
Somerset West and Taunton Council values diversity and is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for everyone, regardless of their background or personal circumstances.
The Equalities Act 2010
The Equality Act seeks to ensure that people are not discriminated against because of certain characteristics. These are known as 'protected characteristics' and there are nine of these in total:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
Locally we have also recognised the following characteristics:
- military status
- low income
This does not change the status for any of the protected characteristics.
Further information about the Equality Act 2010 can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
What the Equalities Act means for the Council
The Equality Act introduced a new Public Sector Equality Duty. This new Duty places two specific requirements on the Council:
- To publish information annually to show that it complies with the new Equality Duty
- To prepare and publish equality objectives every four years
Publishing Equalities information
- we publish our Equality Impact Assessments through the Somerset Equality Officers Group. These demonstrate that we consider the impact that changes to our services may have on our customers or employees, including those with protected characteristics
- our Workforce Equalities Report will be published in August 2019 once reviewed for the new council. We also have internal procedures for addressing equalities issues, such as our Employment Equality Policy. This shows that we consider how our activities affect employees with different protected characteristics
- Somerset Intelligence Partnership website provides further information for Somerset West and Taunton residents and informs us of the impact that our services have on different sections of the community
Corporate Equality Objectives 2019-2023
As part of the creation of the new Somerset West and Taunton Council, the Shadow Scrutiny Committee agreed at its meeting on 14 March 2019 to refresh the existing Corporate Equality Objectives to reflect changes to that have taken place in the local community and to represent the new Corporate Objectives of the new Council.
The refreshed Equality Objectives 1 to 4 are shown with amendments to the original objective, together with the additional 5th Objective encompassing the Somerset Equality Officers Group (SEOG) recommended Objectives.
Objective 1: Councillors and officers will fully consider the equality implications of all decisions they make.
Objective 2: Those with protected characteristics feel empowered to contribute to the democratic process and any Council activity that affects them; their input is used to inform the planning and delivery of services.
Objective 3: Communities with protected characteristics are able to access services in a reasonable and appropriate way.
Objective 4: Actions are taken to identify and reduce any inequalities faced by our staff or our potential employees.
Objective 5: To work in partnership to empower and enable communities to tackle identified inequalities including:
- improve the opportunities for integration and cohesion
- improve understanding of mental health and access to support
- work with the Gypsy and Traveller community to improve the provision of pitches
- work with communities and voluntary sector groups to address inequalities experienced by low incomes families and individuals