We are committed to creating a fairer and more equal Waltham Forest, tackling inequalities head on.

The Council’s equality objectives for 2022 to 2026 have been developed in response to several key pieces of work undertaken across the organisation in the last four years to increase our insight and understanding of the scale of structural inequalities. These objectives will guide the Council’s approach to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion for its workforce, in its approach to service delivery and customer service, and to working with communities. 

In recent years the Council has placed particular focus on our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion both within the organisation as an employer and for our workforce, as well as advancing equalities for our communities, with a commitment to tackle inequalities head-on in the People Strategy and the Public Service Strategy. The State of the Borough  report detailing the scale of structural inequalities in the borough, the Marmot led health inequalities work and the 15 Minute Neighbourhoods Programme have all been central to the development of the new equality objectives.

Our equality and diversity policy statement

To help us deliver our policy and meet our duties, we are:

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

Our policy statement applies to all nine protected equality characteristics under the Equality Act 2010:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Public sector equality duty

General equality duty

Public sector organisations must have due regard to the following principles of the general equality duty:

  • 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 each year to demonstrate its compliance with the general equality duty across its functions
  • prepare and publish specific, measurable objectives to demonstrate progress and performance against delivering the equality duty.

Our equality objectives (2022 to 2026)

The Council’s equality objectives are fundamentally rooted in learning and insights from these programmes over the last few years and are designed to respond to the challenges identified within this work. The objectives will be monitored annually, with a series of actions underneath each of the areas to support delivery. The new equality objectives are therefore focused on 4 key themes: Inclusive customer delivery; Employment and workforce; Communities; and Responding to place-based inequality.

Our equality objectives are to:

1. Deliver inclusive services which actively address inequality and exclusion and enable all residents of Waltham Forest to realise their potential.

2. Build an inclusive workplace where our workforce, from the frontline to senior management, reflects the communities we serve, and all colleagues feel confident to be their authentic selves at work.

3. Champion equality, diversity and inclusion in Waltham Forest and tackle discrimination in all its forms, our communities are safe, cohesive, and people of all ages are able to participate in the borough’s success.

4. Embedding equality at the heart of our approach to development and growth so that every resident, regardless of where they live in the borough, can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Actions taken to support inclusive and equal customer delivery will include:

  • Delivering our Digital Inclusion Strategy and enhancing our offer of digital champions in libraries and updating staff training to provide frontline staff with tool and resources to support digitally excluded residents
  • Reviewing residents’ experiences of customer service through the Inclusive Customer Experience Strategy and encouraging services to deliver in ways which support inclusivity and accessibility
  • Supporting access to employment for marginalised groups through a dedicated Jobs Portal, Fair Deal programme and Steps into work scheme and a continued focus on supporting young people into employment through the Future’s Programme.
  • Enhancing cultural competence amongst services supporting families and young people in settings such as Family Hubs and Children and Family Centres.

Actions taken to support equality, diversity and inclusion across the Council’s workforce and employment policies will include:

  • Building a long-term talent development pathway through the Future Leaders programme, training over 150 staff from diverse backgrounds in leadership and management, alongside promoting staff networks and Speak up Champions
  • Developing more inclusive recruitment processes, including mandatory objective recruitment, making job adverts more accessible, and increasing targeted promotion of Council jobs to local residents.
  • Implementing actions from the EDI Making a Living Delivery Plan including supporting flexible working, consulting staff on inclusive workplaces and implementing Reasonable Adjustment Passports
  • Strengthening pay gap reporting to narrow and close pay gaps around protected characteristics, including Ethnicity, Gender, Disability and Sexual Orientation 
  • Signing up to national accreditation schemes to support equality, such as being a disability confident employer, the care leavers covenant, inclusive employer and change the race ratio.

Action taken to enable the Council will continue to champion equality, diversity, and inclusion across Waltham Forest’s communities will include:

  • Empowering communities to have a voice and take action through the 15 Minute Neighbourhoods programme, developing neighbourhood forums with attendees representative of the community and community toolkits enabling residents to put on community events to support community cohesion
  • Working with police and community groups to develop a locality centred response to community safety, crime and the fear of crime, and furthering the existing cultural programme and events to better reflect the diversity of Waltham Forest
  • Further developing the Connecting Communities programme, innovating further with voluntary and community group and resident engagement
  • Enhancing procurement policies to have higher standards of diversity and inclusivity for suppliers
  • Continuing the Life Chances Commission supporting young people and care leavers to improve residents' life chances to thrive in Waltham Forest.

Actions taken so the Council can respond to place-based inequality include:

  • Developing a new corporate strategy centred around the 15 minute neighbourhoods programme, rooted in providing equitable services for all residents
  • Understanding the impacts of our housing approach to date and developing recommendations to inform future approach through the new housing commission
  • Greater democratisation of decision making at the local level by re designing the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy and Community Ward Funding, with a strengthened role for residents in discussing interventions
  • Develop a new neighbourhood forum approach to increase democratic participation in decision making and ensuring attendees are representative of the community
  • Continue place based safeguarding services with partnership MASH service supporting safeguarding young people in partnership with professionals from education, police, housing, health and children’s services.

Our equality information

Information to identify equality issues

The information at the links 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, self reported health and disability, housing, education, and identifying as part of the LGBT+ community.

Equality Analysis

Equality Analysis (EAs) is a way of considering the effect of these decisions on different groups protected from discrimination by the Equality Act.

Reports that require cabinet decision are 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.

Workforce Information

We have an equal opportunities employment statement which sets out our commitment to equality and inclusion. We are a proud family and carer friendly employer and a disability confident employer, and have inclusion as a strategic priority. Details of our employment statement can be found through this link