Inclusion and Diversity - What It Means In Practice
At Basildon Council this means; friendly, responsive and accessible services for all, developed with public consultation, accurately targeted, based on need and delivered by employees who are treated fairly.
Jobs for all and fair treatment of all employees
Our equal opportunities policies in employment would be designed to lead to fair treatment of all employees and job applicants.
This means providing reasonable adjustments for job applicants to attend interviews and ensuring that all staff have the opportunity to explore their full potential without prejudice.
This also means using monitoring to understand the profile of all job applicants as well as the Workforce Profile of all employees to ensure fair treatment.
Friendly, responsive and accessible services
Basildon Council services should be accessible to all and capable of understanding and responding to a variety of needs and requirements.
This means being prepared to adapt and change what we provide. For example by:
- providing accessible services and facilities for disabled people
- providing leisure facilities which are accessible and affordable to all
- providing information in a variety of languages.
Services based on need
To make sure we have got our services right, we need to know what are the needs and requirements of our diverse community. This means continually monitoring changes which occur over time within our community.
It also means knowing the composition of the community by age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership pregnancy and maternity and understanding and appreciating the diverse needs within our communities.
It is vital to know the make-up of the population within the borough so we can assess whether services are reaching all sections. This includes knowing about income levels in the Borough so that those most in need are receiving vital services and benefits. The annual Basildon Trends and Census data would be used regularly to respond to needs.
Services for all
Our Inclusion and Diversity policy is committed to providing better services which are sensitive to the variety of needs and requirements within our local communities.
We aim to give fair access to our services to everyone by making reasonable adjustments to our services and facilities.
Basildon Council aims to make its facilities and services welcoming to the whole community.
Consultation and engagement
The Council is committed to developing a meaningful and effective consultation and engagement process with the community, voluntary groups, stakeholders, local businesses and partners in order that views can be considered and used to inform decision making, policy development and service design.
Knowing who is using our services
Our policy framework must also include monitoring take up of service so we can check that target groups have access and that use of Council services is in line with what we know about needs among different groups.
Monitoring should not be seen as an end in itself but a means of checking how effective we are being and of then changing, adapting or targeting services. Collecting and analysing will help us to improve Council services.
In a climate of declining resources, there will be difficult decisions to be made about resource allocation. Equal opportunities require us to make choices which reflect current needs rather than traditional ways of apportioning services. This means reviewing use to see that it is in line with needs and not simply continuing to deliver a service to the same group of people in the same way.
Information for everyone
Information about services is a crucial element of equal opportunities framework. If it is not made available in an understandable form to all sections, then access to service is in practice restricted to those people "in the know".
Information should be widely circulated, be available in different forms and languages and encourage all groups to use the service. It also needs to make clear to everyone what determines access to services. Clear information about entitlement and about service standards is also important.
The Council has identified the following spoken languages in the Borough and provides translation upon request for them. Information is published on our documents in the identified languages.
Basildon Borough Council is not just a provider of services, it is also designed to give people a say in how their local area is run.
All sections of our local community need to be able to identify with the Council and feel that they will be listened to. They also need to feel that they are represented in the decision making process and have some influence on the policy makers.
Our approach to community engagement and involvement is to give disadvantaged groups representation at various Council panel meetings such as the Licensing Committee as well as to have ongoing dialogue with them when developing our policies and strategies.