We asked, you said, we did
We asked for your views on our draft Equalities, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Policy 2021-2025. The draft policy and action plan have been updated to reflect the progress that has been made since the policy was last published in 2013, and provides an overall vision and action plan for the next four years which aims to ensure the borough is a place which is fair, inclusive and safe for all its communities. The policy highlights how diverse our borough is and the importance that we reflect this diversity. It also outlines our commitment to go above and beyond our legal duties which local authorities must fulfil. We specifically asked for your views on the vision, the Strategic Equalities Objectives, the principles and approach, and our corresponding action plan which sets out how we will shape services for residents which actively address inequality and exclusion as well as the high standards the council will continue to expect of itself.
We received 124 responses to the consultation. 90 respondents completed our questionnaire (82 online and eight easy-read paper questionnaires were completed), the questionnaire responses were mainly from Barnet residents. 28 residents also attended a virtual residents’ workshop, four members of the Barnet Multi Faith Forum were consulted through another virtual meeting, and two written responses were received by e-mail.
Overall, the feedback from the consultation was very positive with high levels of agreement for the vision, the new Strategic Equalities Objective, the principles, approach, and how we plan to measure the success of the new policy. There were some suggestions on how the policy could be updated and these suggestions have been used to help inform the final policy.
You can read the full consultation findings here.
As a result of the consultation feedback we have updated our Equalities, Diversity, and Inclusion ((EDI) Policy as follows:
EDI Vision: Some of the consultation responses asked for clearer clarification on the role of the council and its partners to be added into the policy’s vision and throughout the policy.
- the vision has been updated to further clarify the council’s role and to make it clearer that the policy will be achieved in partnership with community groups and residents. The whole policy has also been reviewed to ensure there is enough emphasis on the council’s role and how the council will deliver the policy
- the council’s strategic partners have also been referenced more and the policy has been updated to make it clearer that this is a policy that will be delivered in partnership with other agencies who we expect to share our values
- another section has been added on partnership working in particular with further reference on the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sectors (VCFS)
- to help address some concerns around a lack of clarity on how we will achieve these aims, and how success of the approach will be measured, more detail has been included on the EDI Policy’s approach and what we are doing to achieve the aims set out within the policy
- there were also a few comments within the different consultation strands that the vision should state how the council will deal with structural inequalities; however, after careful consideration it was felt there is sufficient emphasis on this.
Strategic Equalities Objective (SEO): There were some comments that the SEO was too vague with a call to reinstate the wording ‘Access to quality services’ which was included in the previous SEO. This wording has now been included.
Faith: Some respondents asked for more emphasis on faith to be added throughout the policy. The Barnet Multi-Faith Forum (BMFF) suggestion of including ‘play and pray’ into the council’s EDI vision has been incorporated and further references to this have been added to the rest of the policy.
Disability: There were some comments to include more references to disability in the policy, and further references to the needs and rights of disabled people. After careful consideration of these comments it was felt that references are balanced and equally addressed across each protected characteristic. Also, Section 3: Our Legal Duties outlines all the protected characteristics that are encompassed within the policy. However, the EDI Action Plan will be regularly reviewed and further actions for each protected characteristic will be addressed through this monitoring process.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities: Two responses were received by e-mail highlighting a lack of any mention of GRT communities. As with disability, it was felt that as these communities fall within the protected characteristic of Race, it would be unbalanced to make specific points about them. However, the needs of these communities and how the council can meet them will be considered through the EDI Action Plan.
EDI Action plan: Some respondents wanted to see more actions around: anti-racism campaigns; reaching out to all communities; supporting partners, and actions around making information more accessible. The action plan has been reviewed to address these comments and will be updated over the life of the policy to ensure it includes more actions covering these areas.
The amended policy was approved and adopted by the Policy and Resources Committee on 16 June 2021. You can view the final Equalities, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Policy 2021-2025 here.
Consultation has concluded