Our equality objectives
Last Updated: 7 November 2023
We aim to treat our citizens, customers and employees fairly and with respect. To achieve this, we consider people’s different needs when making decisions and providing services.
We define ‘Equality’ as treating all people fairly. We aim to create an environment where everyone can participate and has an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.
We define ‘Diversity’ as recognising that everyone is different, whether these differences are visible or non visible. We will respect, value and celebrate these differences.
We define ‘Inclusion’ as developing approaches to make all people feel welcomed and valued in South Lakeland. We will proactively challenge discrimination and exclusion and eliminate barriers.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), in line with the Equality Act (2010), will:
- 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
This EDI Strategy will be reviewed annually by the SLDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee to measure our performance against the EDI objectives.
The nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act (2010) are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion and belief
- sexual orientation
We also include 'rurality' and 'socio-economic disadvantage' as additional categories. Although these are not recognised protected characteristics under the Equality Act, people on low incomes or in rural isolation are highly likely to be affected by services that are intended to support vulnerable people.
More information about the Protected Characteristics is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Equality Impact Analysis (EIA)
We use Equality Impact Analysis (EIA) when working on new projects to assess any potential impacts on people in the protected groups listed above.
If through the EIA a project is shown to need further analysis of the equality and diversity implications, our Policy and Partnerships team can suggest improvements and provide contacts for local equality groups.
We have also set our own specific equality objectives.
Objective 1, make our services accessible to all
We will improve our digital accessibility while maintaining alternative channels to accommodate customer needs by:
- creating a Digital Accessibility Policy this will include rollout of staff training, integrating digital accessibility into procurement exercises, conforming to web accessibility framework standards, and providing assistive technology to internal and external customers as required
- including accessibility in our Digital Strategy consultation with customers including groups representing Protected Characteristics - throughout Customer Connect service re-design, and maintaining customer feedback group following the programme finish in 2020
Objective 2, make our buildings accessible to all
We will improve the physical accessibility of our buildings by:
- completing and publish an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Places project in the Customer Connect programme
- consulting with customers and staff - including groups representing Protected Characteristics on potential works on our buildings and make necessary changes to improve accessibility through the Customer Connect Programme
- providing assistive technology to internal and external customers as required
- promoting the installation of Changing Places facilities in the community and incorporate where we can within our own public building
Objective 3, become more inclusive
We will support a diverse workforce and continuously aim to improve our inclusive environment for customers, staff and members by:
- completing and publish EIA for the People project in the Customer Connect programme
- providing assistive technology as reasonable adjustments to internal and external customers as required
- maintaining Disability Confident Employer status
Objective 4, improve our understanding of EDI
We will improve the gathering and use of EDI data on customers, staff and members, to better integrate EDI into our decision making and we will promote awareness of EDI issues by:
- maintaining consultation list of EDI contacts with annual review to update
- including EDI monitoring in Quality of Life and Staff Satisfaction Questionnaires
- publishing workplace profile and gender pay gap reports annually on our website
- implementing EDI communications plan to promote key dates and events from national and local calendar
- looking to participate in and support projects and partnerships focusing on advancing EDI
- promoting EDI in our partnership working, and include EDI requirements in our procurement processes