Hounslow Council


Agenda item

CEX 139 - Revised Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Policy

Report by Councillor Kamaljit Kaur, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services and Councillor Melvin Collins, Vice Chair of the Disability Community Forum.

 

Please note that the full Policy document and Appendices 1 and 2 – have been published electronically only because of their size.

 

Hard copies are available on request and a reference copy for members will be on deposit in the Members’ Area.

 

Decision:

Resolved:

 

That Cabinet approved the revised ‘Equal Opportunities and Human Rights’ Policy’ and noted the attached Delivery Plan 2017-2021 in Appendix 1 of the report.

Minutes:

See the report by Councillor Kamaljit Kaur, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services – Agenda Item 5.

 

Councillor Kamaljit Kaur, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services, introduced the report which sought approval for a revised Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Policy and asked Cabinet to note the delivery plan. The document had been revised to take into account both the new Equalities Act 2010, a range of local changes and recent Government announcements. Local changes included an emphasis on prevention and early intervention, on digitalisation, acknowledgement of disadvantaged ethnic minority communities, the importance of increasing community resilience and a revised and updated residents’ engagement charter. Nationally the policy now reflected updated proposals on equal pay, new research findings on inequality and minority communities, an emphasis on Mental Health Challenge, under which Councillor Kaur was the Champion for the authority, increased numbers accessing adult and children’s social care and a new Government scheme, Disability Confident, concerning disability compliance. There had been consultation with departments, members and the voluntary sector on the policy.

 

Councillor Kaur reminded Cabinet that the Equalities Team consisted of one full time and one part time members of staff. This was a tiny resource for a large amount of work. She thanked Celia Golden and Sarfraz Kherdin for their work and moved the recommendations of the report asking Cabinet to adopt the revised policy.

 

The Chair seconded the recommendations and also noted that the policy would be reported to Borough Council.

 

Councillor John Chatt, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee, noted that the report was also in Councillor Mel Collins’ name as Vice Chair of the Disability Community Forum. Councillor Kaur confirmed that Councillor Collins’ views had been taken on board in the compilation of the policy.

 

Councillor Dennison advised that Councillor Collins had been unable to attend that evening. Councillor Dennison congratulated the team for achieving work of this quality with the limited resource. He welcomed the report and was pleased that it was being taken to Borough Council. He did wish to draw attention to one point. It was noted in the documents that each service could adapt the corporate monitoring report to reflect their own user profile. He felt that this could be problematic, that it was preferable to use the corporate report as this was consistent and protected all service areas. He suggested that it would be reassuring if the Lead Member signed off any variation.

 

Councillor Kaur acknowledged this point but explained that the law allowed for variation which was why the policy had been written in this way. However, for any future revision they might debate whether the corporate report was overriding. Councillor Dennison expressed support for the policy and the legal position but his concern was that as a protection for all there should be intervention at a senior level for any alternative report. Councillor Kaur confirmed that a process of independent scrutiny was in place via the Consultation Advisory Panel and it would be possible to put in place a process whereby the Head of Equalities and Human Rights and the Lead Member had to endorse any variations as a protection.

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Kaur and Celia Golden, Head of Equalities and Human Rights, for the report, which would now be taken to Borough Council.

 

The recommendations of the report had been moved and seconded. Members considered the report and all the issues and options contained therein and in conclusion the recommendations were agreed unanimously.

 

Resolved:

 

That Cabinet approved the revised ‘Equal Opportunities and Human Rights’ Policy’ and noted the attached Delivery Plan 2017-2021 in Appendix 1 of the report.

Supporting documents: