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Equalities and diversity

Last updated 21 July 2014

The Council is committed to pursuing its equalities agenda to create a fair and equal society in Waltham Forest and ensure its tradition of tolerance and understanding between communities.

Our Equality and Diversity Policy Statement

To help the Council deliver its policy and meet the legal equality duties the Council has committed itself to:

  • Promoting equal opportunity for all
  • Opposing all forms of discrimination, intolerance and disadvantage by reducing inequalities that limit people’s life chances
  • Ensuring our workforce reflects the diverse communities of Waltham Forest at all levels
  • Providing inclusive, accessible and excellent services to all

The Council's policy statement applies to all nine protected equality characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Public Sector Equality Duty

This section is intended to show how Waltham Forest Council is complying with its Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. The PSED consists of a general equality duty and specific duties which are imposed by secondary legislation.

General Equality Duty

In summary, those subject to the equality duty must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

Specific Duty

A public authority is required to:

  • Publish sufficient information by 31st January each year to demonstrate its compliance with the general equality duty across its functions
  • By 6 April 2012, prepare and publish objectives that it reasonably thinks it should achieve to meet one or more aims of the general equality duty with a review at least once every four years

Our Equality Objectives

The Council's Equality Plan is an important document for residents and those working for and with the Council. It sets out the Council's equality policy and equality objectives the Council will focus on over the next few years and how they will be delivered.

See the Waltham Forest Council Equality Plan 2012-2015. (PDF file)

Publishing information

The purpose of publishing equality information is for the Council to demonstrate its compliance with the general equality duty across all its functions. Publishing equality information should enable service users, staff, the Commission, regulators and other interested parties to assess the equality performance of the Council. It explains how and why we have reached certain conclusions and made certain decisions. It provides a clear picture of how the Council has complied with the general equality duty and it will make the Council's decision-making more transparent. The Council has attempted to provide a comprehensive picture as possible, at the same time recognising that there may be areas for development which the Council will seek to address. The information below was refreshed in January 2014 and will be reviewed regularly.

If you would like any of the published information below in an alternative format please contact the Residents First directorate on 020 8496 4839.

Our Equality information

Information to identify equality issues

This section includes a range of information which the Council has used to help understand and identify key equality issues as they relate to our services and functions. It includes information about Council employees, residents and service users. The information also helps demonstrate the effect of Council activities on people with different protected characteristics as well as details and results of various engagement activity the Council has carried out. In addition, there is information on how the Council complied with its previous statutory equality duties (including outcomes).

The link below provides comprehensive information about the size and composition of the population of Waltham Forest. Also included is information on the following: age, gender, population turnover, ethnicity, religion, recent arrivals, languages spoken, family types, disabled people and LGBT. In addition, it sets out information across key themes such as deprivation, health, employment and housing as they relate to the protected equality characteristics. Detailed demographic information on a ward basis is also provided along with the most significant issues affecting the population.

Equality analysis

Information about steps taken to have due regard to the aims of the general equality duty

Public authorities are responsible for making a wide range of decisions. Equality Analysis (EAs) is a way of considering the effect of these decisions on different groups protected from discrimination by the Equality Act. There are two reasons for this. First, to consider if there are any unintended consequences for some groups, and second, to consider if the policy will be fully effective for all target groups. Often EAs will need to draw on service needs, statistics and engagement.

At Waltham Forest Council all reports that require cabinet decision is supported by Equality Analysis. Cabinet normally meets once a month, and the following link allows you to see Cabinet Agenda, Reports and respective Equality Analysis by date.

See Reports and EAs

There are also EAs undertaken for non-Cabinet decisions where relevant, and work is in progress to ensure that these are also published.

Workforce information

Waltham Forest Council produces a quarterly Human Resources Scorecard which provides details of the Council’s workforce. For the purposes of publishing information to demonstrate compliance with the general equality duty, this information has been further expanded and disaggregated to show the breakdown of the Council's workforce across the protected equality groups as far as possible. It also includes:

  • The number of women in top 5% of earners
  • The number of minority ethnic staff in top 5% of earners
  • The number of disabled staff in top 5% of earners
  • Equality groups by pay band
  • Equality groups by training
  • Equality groups by grievances and disciplinary
  • Gender and Disability by Occupation Groups

Workforce Equality scorecard March 2012 to March 2013

Workforce Equality scorecard March 2011 to March 2012

Workforce Equality scorecard March 2010 to March 2011

There is additional information on employment and our staff networks in the Council's Equalities Review 

Dignity Code 

The Dignity Code is a national initiative launched by the National Pensioners Convention. Brought to the Council by the Waltham Forest Pensioners Convention, the code calls for a number of measures such as the provision of advocacy services and care to be adapted to the needs of the individual.

Information on services and other functions

Access to services or participation rates for people with the different protected characteristics

Data on access to services as well as take up by different protected equality groups is contained within individual service Equality Analysis (see above)

Performance management

The Council has implemented a revised Performance Management Framework. The overriding purpose of this framework is to ensure that there are effective arrangements in place for managing the delivery of the Council’s priorities and commitments, including its equality objectives. This mainstream approach to the performance management of the Council’s equality objectives helps support the embedding of equalities within the performance management framework with clear arrangements by which progress will be monitored and reported. Details of the approach can be accessed below:

Performance Management Framework

Customer satisfaction

The Council undertakes regular, demographically representative, resident insight surveys 3 times a year. The findings will be reported and made available on our website in a user friendly way and a link will be provided here shortly, the key findings are also available in the performance reports that are published as part of the Council's Cabinet process.

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