Interim Strategic Equality Plan 2021 to 2022

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Introduction

We are committed to celebrating diversity and promoting equality in everything we do, to improve the quality of life for everyone living, working and visiting Denbighshire. 

Our vision of the future for the council was developed in partnership with local communities and partners. Our strategic aim is to be a high performing council, closer to the community.

Our Corporate Plan 2017 to 2022 incorporates our equality, diversity and human rights activities taking place throughout the council. Equality and diversity is embedded throughout all our services in the Council.

Legislation requires us to provide a new Strategic Equality Plan (SEP) every four years, even if it has been incorporated into another plan. Our equality objectives within the Corporate Plan will therefore be developed through engagement with our communities; reviewed in terms of what local data informs us about inequalities; and in response to recommendations made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a document called ‘Is Wales Fairer? 2018’. Once these new interim strategic equality objectives have been considered, consulted upon and agreed for 2021, they will run in tandem with the Corporate Plan (which focussed on community led dialogue and consultations with our ‘County Conversation’ engagement), in the form of an Interim Strategic Equality Plan and will also be incorporated into the next Corporate Plan 2022 to 2027.

Our priorities 2017 to 2022:

  • Housing: Everyone is supported to live in homes that meet their needs;
  • Connected Communities: Communities are connected and have access to goods and services locally, online and through good transport links;
  • Resilient Communities: The Council works with people and communities to build independence and resilience;
  • Environment: Attractive and protected, supporting well-being and economic prosperity; and
  • Young People: A place where younger people will want to live and work and have the skills to do so.

We have worked to create an interim strategic equality plan to review our corporate objectives and to ensure they remain meaningful, fit for purpose and current. These ‘light touch’ equality objectives in this document support long-term aims for our county which stretch far into the future to look at future generations, via our next Corporate Plan. In this way, we will demonstrate the eventual actions taken forward are focussed on the right outcomes and are driven by the needs and wishes of our communities, putting the person and place at the heart of the services we provide and fund.  We will concentrate on our organisation-focussed work to strengthen our equalities response, including reviewing our arrangements and responding to national initiatives.

The council believes that the way people behave within the organisation towards each other, and to those that we come into contact with, is crucial to ensuring effective performance in the delivery of services. The values that the council has adopted provide the basic principles that guide our interactions with everyone that we come into contact with, both inside and outside of the organisation. Our values are:

  • Pride: we aim to create a sense of pride in working for our organisation.
  • Unity: we all work for the same organisation.
  • Respect: we aim to treat all people equally and with fairness, understanding that there are views and beliefs that differ from our own.
  • Integrity: we aim to manage ourselves to maximise performance, act with high standard of conduct and present a positive image of Denbighshire.

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Legislation

The Equality Act (2010) (referred to as the Act in the rest of this document) makes it easier for us to understand and abide by equality and diversity legislation.Under the Act, local authorities in Wales must publish a Strategic Equality Plan that sets out the objectives the organisation wants to achieve over a four-year period. These priorities are called Strategic Equality Objectives.

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Public Sector Equality Duty – the General Duty

Within the Act, there is a General Duty. The aim of the General Duty is to ensure that public authorities and those carrying out a public function consider how they can positively contribute to a fairer society through advancing equality and good relations in their day-to-day activities. The duty ensures that equality considerations are built into the design of policies and the delivery of services and that they are kept under review. This will achieve better outcomes for everyone.

When making strategic decisions and providing services, under the General Duty, public bodies are required to have due regard for:

  • eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act;
  • advancing equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
  • fostering good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

This guidance refers to these three elements as the three ‘aims’ of the general duty and so when we discuss the general duty we mean all three aims.

The Act lists a number of characteristics which must not be used as a reason to treat some people worse than others. These are called the ‘protected characteristics’. There are nine protected characteristics and these are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race - including ethnic or national origin, colour or nationality
  • religion or belief – including lack of belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The phrase ‘protected group’ is sometimes used to refer to people who share a protected characteristic.

The Act covers employment and the provision of goods and services, and includes both staff and members of the public who use our services. When thinking about how to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t, we also need to:

  • remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and are connected to that characteristic.
  • meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it.
  • encourage persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low.

We also have to particularly think about how it will tackle prejudice and promote understanding.

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Specific Duties

As well as the General Duty, public authorities in Wales have some additional specific duties, which are set out in the Act.  The Welsh Government published regulations that introduced the Specific Duties for Wales in March 2011, these set out the actions the Council must take in order to comply and demonstrate that they are meeting the General Duty and include the following areas:

  • Accessibility: make council information fully accessible, including equality information.
  • Annual reporting: Denbighshire County Council will do this using the Annual Performance Review which is a statutory requirement, and which will cover equality and diversity.
  • Assessing impact: carrying out Equality Impact Assessments (Denbighshire County Council call ours Well-being Impact Assessments – WIAs) and publishing the results if there is a substantial impact on the Council.
  • Employment information: publish employment monitoring data annually. This is in the form of our PSED annual report which is published on our website.
  • Engagement: ensuring we engage with people who have an interest in how the Council’s decisions affect them.
  • Pay differences: set a gender pay equality objective where a gender pay difference is identified. This is reported in our annual Gender Pay Gap report.
  • Procurement: think about including conditions relevant to the General Duty in its procurement processes, which DCC does undertake.
  • Publishing: collecting and publishing information relevant to compliance with the General Duty. This is included in our Annual Performance Review.
  • Staff training: promote knowledge and understanding of the General Duty amongst its employees and use its performance assessment procedures to identify and address the training needs of its employees in relation to the General Duties.
  • Strategic equality plans: setting equality objectives and publishing a Strategic Equality Plan, with annual review (for us this is in our Annual Performance Review)
  • Welsh ministers' reporting and responding to consultation on equality and diversity matters from Welsh Government.

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Socio-economic duty

In addition to the protected characteristics above, there is a Duty under the Act, effective from March 2021, to consider those people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage / poverty. This is referred to as the Socio-economic Duty; it encourages better decision making, ensuring more equal outcomes for people, reducing inequalities associated with socio-economic disadvantage.

We also have responsibility, when making strategic decisions and policies, for taking into account the Socio-economic Duty which encourages better decision making, ensuring more equal outcomes for people, reducing inequalities associated with socio-economic deprivation.

Please read the general information from Welsh Government to raise awareness of the Duty, contributing to a more equal Wales. Gov.Wales: A More Equal Wales: The Socio-economic Duty (external website).

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Intersectionality

Within our commitment to equality, the Council seeks to recognise the impact of intersectionality where people who share more than one protected characteristic are at risk of multiple disadvantage, inequity, discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The impact of intersectionality may vary and it is difficult to quantify, however it is important to recognise the concept in terms of developing policy and practice, promoting equality and addressing discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

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Description of Denbighshire County Council

Demographics of Denbighshire as a county

Denbighshire has a land area of 837 km2. On 30 June 2020, the population density in Denbighshire was 116 people per km2, compared to 153 people per km2 for Wales.

The population for the county is 96,664 (Data Cymru Mid-Year estimates of population for Office of National Statistics 2020), 20,535 of which is 0 to 18 years old, and 18 to 64 years totalling 53,848. The remaining 24.3% population is 65 years plus (in comparison to 21.1% for Wales).

In the last five years, the population of Denbighshire has seen an increase of 1.8% (1,680 people).

Other information regarding the County can be observed in the 2011 Census key statistics below. 

  • 49% population is male; 51% population is female.
  • The percentage of people who could speak Welsh in Denbighshirewas 6% compared to 19.0% in Wales.
  • 1% of households with people aged 16 or over in household have English or Welsh as a main language (compared to 96.7% in Wales).
  • 8% households where no people in household have English or Welsh as a main language (compared to 1.7% in Wales).
  • 3% population is White; 0.8% population are of mixed / multiple ethnic group, 1.5% population is of Asian / Asian British group, 0.4% population is of Black / African / Caribbean/ Black British or other ethnic group.
  • 1% county population of people were born in Wales.
  • 60,129 people are Christian; 25,132 people do not have a religion.
  • On 30 June 2020, there were 55,748working age people resident in Denbighshire. This is 7% of the total population. This compares to 61.2% for Wales.
  • In 2020, 7.5% of working age people resident in Denbighshire had no qualifications. This compares to 7.6% for Wales.
  • Between November 2015 (Qtr.) and November 2016 (Qtr.) the percentage of working age people who are benefit claimants in Denbighshire decreased by 1.2 percentage points from 16.6% to 15.4%. Once up to date information is available this document will be revised.
  • Between 2016 and 2017 in Denbighshire the percentage of year 11 school leavers that are NEET decreased from 1.9% to 1.1%. Once up to date information is available this document will be revised.
  • In 2017 there were 12 school leavers from year 11 classed as NEET in Denbighshire. Once up to date information is available this document will be revised.
  • Between 2016and 2017 in Denbighshire the percentage of year 13 school leavers that were NEET increased from 1.5% to 2.2%.  Once up to date information is available this document will be revised.
  • Multiple Deprivation in West and South West Rhyl in particular is among the highest in Wales and encompasses worklessness, low incomes, and poor educational outcomes amongst other things. Rhyl West 1, Rhyl West 2 and Rhyl South West 2 are identified by the Wales Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) as areas of ‘deep-rooted’ deprivation. Areas with ‘deep rooted deprivation’ are those that have remained within the top 50 most deprived – roughly equal to the top 2. % – small areas in Wales for the last five publications of WIMD ranks.
  • In Denbighshire, 8% of all local business units on 13 March 2020 were in the 'Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing' industry. This was the largest business industry classification, followed by 'Construction' (11.9%) and 'Accommodation & Food Service' (10.2%) #
  • In Denbighshire, 8% of the working population in 2020had an occupation classed as 'SOC2 - Professional occupations', which was the largest occupation classification, followed by 'SOC5 - Skilled trades occupations' (13.3%) and 'SOC3 - Associate prof & tech occupations' (12.7%) #
    Between Jul 2021 and Aug 2021 the percentage of working age people who are claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Denbighshire has not changed at 0.3% #
  • Between Dec 2020 (Qtr.)and Mar 2021 (Qtr.) the percentage of economically active people who are unemployed in Denbighshire has decreased from 4.3% to 2.8% #
  • People defined as economically activeare people who are either in employment or actively seeking employment #
  • In 2020, the average weekly gross pay for full time workers in Denbighshire was £525.20. This figure has increased by 11.3% since 2016 #

# all of the above sourced from Data Cymru (external website) September 2021.

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Employees

Denbighshire County Council is a complex organisation employing approximately 4767 posts. The Council has a wide range of functions which provide and/or commission a wide range of essential services. The approach to remuneration levels may therefore differ from one group of employees to another to reflect specific circumstances at a local, Welsh, UK national or professional level. It will also need to be flexible when required to address a variety of changing circumstances whether foreseeable or not.

Denbighshire County Council operates a total reward approach to attract, retain and motivate suitably skilled employees so the council can best perform. In this context it does need to be recognised that at the more senior grades, in particular, remuneration levels need to enable the attraction of a suitably wide pool of talent (which will ideally include people from the private as well as public sector and from outside as well as within Wales), and the retention of suitably skilled and qualified individuals once in post. It must be recognised that the Council will often be seeking to recruit in competition with other good public and private sector employers.

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Council structure

Corporate Executive Team

The Corporate Executive Team (CET) meets weekly and comprises Chief Executive, Corporate Directors, Head of Legal, HR and Democratic Services and Head of Finance and Property (also Section 151 Officer).

Corporate Plan Programme Board will have programme level authority to implement the priorities for the Corporate Plan, and to take decisions derived from CET, handed down by Cabinet.  The Programme Chair Person (Deputy Leader and Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets) is empowered to make judgements as to which decisions can be made at the Programme Board and relayed directly to relevant Service Areas and/or public sector partners, and which decisions need to be referred back to CET and/or Cabinet.

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Senior Leadership Team

The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) comprises Chief Executive, Corporate Directors and all Heads of Service.  SLT is responsible for quarterly monitoring and intervention of Corporate Plan targets, forward planning for the Council, Cabinet and Scrutiny committees, agreeing policies, strategies and changes to business plans and sharing good practice, problem solving and working with Elected members.

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Cabinet

The Cabinet is made up of eight councillors, including the council Leader and their Deputy. Each of the eight members has responsibility for a specific policy area, known as a portfolio. Cabinet meets every six weeks to determine policy and make decisions on how services are provided in Denbighshire.

The Leader of the Council is elected by full Council and provides effective political leadership and strategic direction for the council, and acts as the political spokesperson for the council.

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Corporate Plan

Our Corporate Plan (2017 to 2022) also serves as our Wellbeing Plan and our Equality Plan. We believe we are able to take this integrated approach because the Plan equips the Council to deliver significant progress for all, by addressing current inequalities. The principles of equality are embedded throughout the council's functions and services.

The integrated plan is intended to ensure fair treatment for all, and to eradicate the risk of unfair or unequal treatment, such as harassment, victimisation or unlawful discrimination, in our work and service delivery. This includes our internal processes and treatment of employees, as well as services delivered to the public, and treatment of the public. We aim to foster good relations and equality of opportunity, and contribute to positive outcomes for all the people of Denbighshire.

During the lifetime of the Corporate Plan and beyond, we will ensure that all new projects and areas of work will:

  • engage, where appropriate, with groups that represent people with protected characteristics.
  • consider limitations to physical access, in particular with new builds, but also with regard to access to information and services.
  • consider the appropriateness of the facilities that we have available within the council’s estate for use by those people with protected characteristics.
  • engage, challenge and, where possible, remove barriers to opportunities (including work) for those with protected characteristics.
  • condemn hate related bullying and harassment

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Corporate Plan Programme Board

This Board comprises all Cabinet members and all Senior Leadership Team members. The board meets on a quarterly basis and has programme level authority to implement the priorities for the Corporate Plan. The Programme Board Chair Person is empowered to make judgements as to which decisions can be made at the Programme Board and relayed directly to relevant portfolio holders or service areas and/or public sector partners, and which decisions need to be referred back to CET as above, Senior Leadership team and/or Cabinet. The latter are most likely to be decisions that will impact upon the wider organisation, those which may attract significant negative publicity or where the Programme Board view differs significantly from that of a Service Area and/or public sector partner.

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Corporate Plan Reporting Process and Outcome Monitoring

All projects within the Programme will follow the Corporate Project Management methodology which requires clear identification of project outcomes, expected benefits, measurement indicators and timescales for reporting on these. Projects will be linked to Programme outcomes via shared indicators so that progress towards achieving an outcome - through monitoring progress on a number of projects - can be tracked.

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Equality objectives and Action Plan (aligned with Corporate Plan Priorities)

The purpose of a Strategic Equality Plan is to document the steps a listed body is taking to fulfil its specific duties. The Strategic Equality Plan can usefully reflect a number of elements of the specific duties beyond those that are legally required. For example, a listed body is required to publish reasons for not having an equality objective in relation to a protected characteristic.

Our Interim Strategic equality objectives and action plan are offered as a separate document to this. It offers an overview of all objectives, why these objectives are important, how we plan to focus on these and in what timescale, which protected characteristics are affected, and those which are not. 

Also through this document (not the action plan) we will highlight how we monitor and review objectives, how we will measure success and how we will measure overall success of interim equality objectives.

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How the objectives were developed

Our interim Strategic Equality Plan has been developed so that we can set out how we aim to meet our commitment to equality and how we will meet legal obligations contained within the Equality Act 2010. We worked with communities to create our Corporate Plan, developed with community led dialogue and consultation with ‘County Conversations’ – our engagement platform. Our Interim strategic equality objectives will concentrate on our organisation-focussed work to strengthen our equality response, including reviewing our arrangements and responding to national initiatives.

As well as involving Denbighshire residents in the development of objectives, consultation and engagement with those with protected characteristics was commissioned on a North Wales basis, and led by Wrexham County Borough Council. Engagement was framed around The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, therefore also covering equality and each of the protected characteristics. We haven’t published the notes from all engagements events, instead analysing the results to produce a single report on the consultation that’s on our website (The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 has transformed the way social services are being delivered, in supporting people to achieve well-being and independence by promoting greater choice and control.).

Objectives are based on a mixture of evidence that was collected for the statutory Local Assessment of Well-being, and also the in-depth conversations for the associated engagement exercise. We should note that the priorities of people with protected characteristics including race, sexual orientation and disability included housing, access to services, etc. We are now planning for production of a review of the Local Assessment of Well-being that, again, will involve in-depth conversations with our residents, including those with protected characteristics.

With respect to protected characteristics, the above research raised some issues particularly around age and disability, race, religion or belief.

Explicit data didn’t tell us that we needed to focus on marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, sex or sexual orientation.

In the main the consultation brought about the need for us to concentrate on:

  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health (including access to services)
  • Employment
  • Digital Infrastructure
  • Language / translation
  • Childcare
  • Recycling
  • Parking
  • Communication
  • Safety
  • Arts / Culture / Tourism

All of the above areas are covered within the Corporate Plan 2017 to 2022 where Council services apply. In addition to our general public consultation, we worked upon findings of a regional engagement event held 24 May 2018 which was hosted by the North Wales Public Sector Equality Network (NWSPEN). NWPSEN is a group of equality officers from all six North Wales Local Authorities, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, National Parks Authority, North Wales Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. The group has been working together since 2010 when the Equality Act came into force.

We also used Public Sector Board Research 2017 (undertaken by Wrexham County Borough Council) including group contributions from:

  • BAWSO (an all Wales voluntary organisation, providing specialist services to victims and people affected or at risk of by Domestic Abuse and all forms of violence; including Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence and Human Trafficking.)
  • Portuguese Community (Wrexham)
  • NW Deaf Association Denbighshire
  • AVOW (disabled people and carers)
  • VIVA North Wales (LGBTQ+ young people 13 to 28)
  • Coleg Cambria Needs Assessment with students (primarily belief/ religion)

We enhanced involvement through linking with service users in decisions about the services they individually receive (using service user surveys) and asking those service users how they thought we could improve service design, widening their involvement in decision making, and decision making bodies to reflect the diversity of our area.

We enhanced our use of evidence through ensuring those involved in service design, commissioning and delivery had the latest intelligence on equality issues nationally and locally.

We ensured our Well-being Impact Assessments (our integrated impact screening tool, which includes equality) are used for service change.

The resounding message from engagement work carried out at local, regional and national levels is that we need to improve in terms of involving people in the decisions that affect their lives and communities.

We were already making progress in this area, particularly in relation to social care and community support services.  Initiatives have focused on developing service user independence, introducing direct payments and personalised budgets, and to provide community members with information on the full range of support services available from community, voluntary and statutory agencies in their area.

These are the key areas of focus for The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and will continue as vital elements of delivery of social care services into the future. Many of the perspectives that inform the Act and our ongoing work were developed within the campaigns, research and publications of disabled campaigners and organisations. The approach, based on individual choice and tailored services, is designed to facilitate the development of social care solutions that can take into account the full range of protected characteristics that make up an individual’s identity. This approach aims to improve the chances that specific requirements that may arise can be met.

By evaluating these initiatives, we hope to garner ‘lessons learned’ which can be used in the application of this approach in other service situations. Our project management methodology is designed to ensure that such lessons are captured and disseminated.

We recognise that this journey is not over and that we need to continue to improve the way we involve community members in the proposals that affect them.

While we have begun to enhance involvement in general terms it is clear that some protected groups remain under represented. This includes participation in decision making organisations and bodies (including the County Council and City, Town and Community Councils) and in the wider processes that support decision making (including participation in Well-being Impact Assessment and consultation and engagement exercises).

We believe our decisions should be evidence based and that decision makers should be informed by relevant research material on the relevance of and potential implications for protected groups of the themes within the subject they are examining.

Much insight will be gained directly from local people active in the new engagement processes we have proposed above. However, there is also a place for referring to expert publications and examining best practice from other areas. 

Many organisations representing protected groups have substantial expertise, access to a wide range of knowledge and experience and produce regular publications.

Organisations such as the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Chwarae Teg, Disability Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Interfaith Network, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Race Council Cymru and many others produce research, bulletins and publications. These often directly tackle service delivery issues and frequently include advice and guidance that would benefit decision makers and those delivering service change projects.

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Protected Characteristics not directly within the Plan (and why)

We have identified equality objectives that specifically cover four of the nine protected characteristics; these are age, disability, race, religion or belief and though we do not have specific objectives covering marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, sex or sexual orientation, this is because there have been no recommendations, explicit data or areas of concern raised either from local data or engagement with people from different protected groups. However existing actions in our plan will not exclude these group when we are seeking to improve equality for all sections of our community, and they will continue to be considered as part of our Well-being Impact Assessment process.

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How we publish our information and where

The Corporate Plan is published on our accessible website. Our Interim strategic equality objectives are published and promoted on the website. All documents are bilingual. Currently all our equality and diversity information is stored on a separate web page.

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Measuring our performance

Listed bodies are required to publish the progress made towards fulfilling the objectives in their annual report. It may be helpful for a listed body to embed the equality objectives into its main organisational documents; for example, corporate or strategic plan. Our Annual Performance Review, which meets all our statutory obligations in terms of corporate plan and equality and diversity objectives is published annually.

Annual Performance Review 2020-21 (PDF, 1.12MB)

Our Quarterly reports on the Corporate Plan to SLT and the Corporate Plan Programme Board offer information on the progress we are making in meeting our priorities and objectives, and shows indicators, measures, activities and projects under the Corporate Plan. Keeping progress under review helps us in identifying where there may be a need to examine insufficient progress, and where we may need to revise our approach in supporting priorities.

Qualitative as well as quantitative evidence may be used to gauge progress and measure outcomes. We are likely to hold some of this information e.g. staff surveys, residents’ surveys, service user surveys, analysis of complaint letters and feedback forms.

This interim Strategic Equality Plan will align with the Corporate Plan to the end of its time, and equality objectives will then be used within the new Corporate Plan 2022 to 2027.

We will continue to revise and renew our strategic equality objectives every four years, and we will report on the Corporate Plan through our statutory Annual Performance Review, as explained above. If these objectives need to be revised, where monitoring indicates there are emerging areas of inequality which need addressing, we will republish the interim plan.

We have a performance management system called Verto which we use to report upon our corporate plan.  Reports are taken to our Corporate Executive Team (CET), Senior Leadership Team (SLT) quarterly, and reported to our Corporate Plan Programme Board.

We also publish an annual report, meeting all our statutory duties including equality and diversity.  This annual report, the Annual Performance Review (APR), is published on our website with relevant equality information included.  The APR is examined and endorsed by CET, SLT, Cabinet, Scrutiny Committees and Full Council before it can be published.

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Engagement and consultation

Listed bodies, like the Council, must prepare and publish equality objectives every four years. In developing their equality objectives, authorities must involve people who represent the interests of people who share one or more of the protected characteristics and have an interest in the way that the authority carries out its functions.

Denbighshire County Council uses an engagement portal (external website) and engagement events under the ‘County Conversation’. See the County Conversation web page.

Engagement under County Conversations includes workshops and focus groups for the general public, council personnel and members, open to everyone, asking people to consider what is working well for them at present, what could be done better, and what may stand in the way of better progress.  Findings from the current consultation will inform our new Corporate Plan for 2022 to 2027, and our next strategic equality plan. This offers a proportionate approach to assessing needs and to ensuring we comply with the Equality Act by reviewing the way in which our strategic objectives meet the regulations of the Wales Specific Duty. We clearly demonstrated integration with our corporate priorities and equality and human rights in the process of creating the Plan. 

We, as a Council, ensure we are as up to date as possible in terms of new legislation and new action plans which arise, contributing towards, for example, consultation response for the All Wales Race Equality Action Plan.  Once this plan is finalised we will be contributing to the appropriate actions related to our county council.

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Personnel Pay

The Council uses the nationally negotiated pay spine as the basis for its grading structure. This determines the salaries of the majority of the non-teaching workforce (NJC Terms and Conditions), together with the use of other nationally defined pay rates where relevant. A 2 year pay deal was agreed for the cost of living increase in 2018 that increased spinal column point 20 upwards by 2% in 2018, with all points below receiving between 9.2% and 3.73%, this higher increase on the bottom points was to close the gap between the pay structure and National Living Wage increases. The Pay Structure has been amended for 2019 to assist in coping with the compacting of differentials at the lower end of the pay spine, and this impact will be considered in next years’ report. All other pay related allowances are the subject of either nationally or locally negotiated rates, having been determined in accordance with collective bargaining machinery and/or as determined by Council Policy.

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Gender Pay Gap Report

At Denbighshire County Council we support the principle of diversity and equality as we need people from diverse backgrounds to help ensure that we are representative of the County we serve. We are committed to providing equal pay for work of equal value and aim to provide an equitable pay structure. Public Services are required to regularly audit their pay systems and assess the equality of pay.

We are aware of our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, which gives women and men a right for equal pay for equal work, and the requirement to carry out a Gender Pay report annually. Within our annual (statutory) published gender pay report we demonstrate our continuing commitment to be a fair and equitable employer; an employer that ensures its employees are not subjected to unfair discrimination.

A gender pay report is a review of the average earnings between men and women within an organisation. The gender pay gap calculation may show that there is a difference in the pay of men and women, but it does not necessarily mean that this difference is unfair or that they are being paid unfairly. It could be that there are a higher number of men in higher paid roles and more women in lower paid roles across the organisation.

Our culture of flexibility, openness and trust has ensured that staff are able to achieve a better balance of home and work life and for us, as an employer, means that we are able to recruit and retain from diverse backgrounds.

We are achieving a better gender balance in our overall pay gap, including an increase in the number of women at senior level. This demonstrates that the practices, processes and culture that we have in place are all contributing towards a more inclusive and fairer workplace.

Since 2017 gender pay reporting legislation now requires employers, with 250 or more employees, to publish statutory calculations every year showing their gender pay gap. The gender pay gap differs from equal pay. Equal Pay deals with the pay differences between men and women who carry out the same jobs, similar jobs or work of equal value. Whereas gender pay gap shows the differences in the average pay between men and women.

We are aware of our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, which gives women and men a right for equal pay for equal work, and the requirement to carry out a Gender Pay report annually. The additional purpose of this report is to consider and compare the findings of this report to the previous year’s report to establish if there have been any changes and to analyse any areas of concern if necessary. See the Equality and Diversity page where the most current Gender Pay Report is available.

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Public Sector Equality Duty report

In Wales, the Equality Act 2010 (Wales) Regulations 2011 place upon public authorities in Wales a specific legal duty that requires the Council to have effective arrangements in place to monitor equality and have effective arrangements in place to gather, analyse and publish employment monitoring data.

The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) requires that all public authorities covered under the specific duties in Wales should produce an annual equality report each year.

The report explains how the Council is compliant with the Equality Act 2010 general duty across our employment functions. It summarises the equality employment monitoring data for employees at the Council from 1 April to 31 March each year. Our report also includes commentary to explain the information, including discernible trends against national published external data where identified.

See the Equality and Diversity page where the most current Public Sector Equality Duty Report is available.

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Knowledge / training

The Council wishes to ensure all its personnel are aware of equality and diversity issues to ensure they have the knowledge and skills and understanding to meet the general and specific duty.

We ensure that all personnel undertake mandatory training which includes equality and diversity in the form of e-learning. These training modules have to be completed by all new starters, and include:

  • Safeguarding awareness
  • Violence against women
  • Data protection
  • Welsh language awareness
  • Equalities
  • Whistleblowing
  • Code of conduct
  • Carer awareness
  • Mental health awareness

We offer some bespoke workshops, for example the Socio-economic Duty when introduced earlier this year, we offered sessions for Members and personnel, to ensure that the most up to date information was made available to everyone who may be involved in decision making processes which may affect socio-economic disadvantage.

Our county council website has designated pages for equality and diversity, which offers guidance for working with people with protected characteristics.

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Procurement

Within our procurement policy we give due regard to eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations when spending public money. This is embedded within our procurement processes, regardless of the value of any contract and our policy sets out the standards of compliance required for contracts. There is a significant section in our procurement tender documentation which asks specific questions about equality; without completion of these questions, or if scores in the evaluation methodology are low, contracts are not accepted. 

Key to accepting tenders, the Council must have evidence that contractor organisations, in the last three years, have not had any finding of unlawful discrimination by an Employment Tribunal, an Employment Appeal Tribunal or any other court or tribunal; have not had any formal investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, or complaint of unlawful discrimination upheld.  We also need assurances that there have been no findings of unlawful discrimination against anyone with protected characteristics made against organisations by any civil or criminal court.

Tender documentation requires that in relation to the Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011, the Council (the buyer):

  • will not select contractors to tender if they have been found to have unlawfully discriminated in the last three years, unless they have provided adequate evidence that they have taken appropriate action to stop it happening again.
  • will only select organisation to tender if they are able to demonstrate successful corrective action has been taken to resolve any judgement.
  • may not select organisations to tender if they do not have in place adequate vetting processes to check their subcontractors’ and consortium members’ record on compliance with equalities legislation.
  • may only select organisations to tender if they train relevant staff appropriately.
  • Suppliers who provide goods and services to or on behalf of the Council are expected to provide training in Equal Opportunities for staff.
  • may only select organisations to tender if they train relevant staff appropriately.
  • may only select organisations to tender if they can demonstrate their ability to deliver services in the Welsh language. Where particular experience is required, the buyer will specify this. This should include the provision of bilingual signage (both for publicity purposes and on construction sites), publicity material and in dealings with the general public.
  • Equal Opportunities Policy: If organisations are selected as preferred bidder they will be expected to produce the relevant policy document. Failure to provide the document may mean that they will not be awarded any contract following this exercise

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Promoting equality

The council works to support equality and diversity in a plethora of ways. With regard to promoting our work, and that of our partners, we often use our intranet and internet, our Denbighshire Today internal communication system and our residents’ County Voice to good use to promote initiatives. For example, White Ribbon Day.

We have signed up to the Zero Racism Wales initiative confirming the Council is not willing to tolerate racism in any form and supports Zero Racism Wales’ calls for all organisations and individuals to promote racial harmony and implement commitments within the workplace and in their day to day lives.

We promote, along with all our NWPSEN colleagues, national awareness initiatives such Hate Crime.

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Impact assessment

Public authorities are required to set out clear methods of assessing impacts on policies and practices to ensure fairness, and due consideration to the decisions made on services and provisions and how they may affect the needs of all, including protected groups.

A Well-being Impact Assessment (WIA) screening tool is used by Denbighshire County Council.  We want to be sure that we consider the impact of proposals on a range of issues. Our approach, the ‘Well-being Impact Assessment’, has been designed to assess the likely impact of proposals on the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Denbighshire, Wales and the world. It integrates requirements to assess impact on equality, the Socio-economic Duty, the Welsh language, environment, economy, health, and so on.

The Well-being Impact Assessment highlights any areas of risk and maximises the benefits of proposals across all of these issues, including equality. It helps us to ensure we have considered everyone who might be affected by the proposal. It also helps us to meet our legal responsibilities under the general equality duties (Equality Act 2010), the Welsh Language Standards, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and access to information legislation. There is also a requirement under Human Rights legislation for Local Authorities to consider Human Rights in developing proposals.

Our approach to impact assessment will help us to strengthen our work to promote equality. It will also help to identify and address any potential negative or disproportionate impacts before introducing something new or changing the way we work. The WIA is embedded within all our project management documentation and committee papers; this is our performance tool to gauge how we are addressing the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 goals, which includes equality. This tool ensures we are able to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and to inform other objectives, activities and projects which improve outcomes for all community members.

The impact on the Welsh Language is examined in our Well-being Impact Assessments (WIA) used during the process of Council decision making.

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Collaboration

The council works in collaboration with many organisations including NWPSEN, EHRC, PSB, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.  We have multi-agency groups in existence to further engage on equality and diversity, for example an Aging Well in Denbighshire group whose work aligns to a Strategy for an Ageing Society and Welsh Government strategies to support multi-generational activities.

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Equality and Human Rights Commission

In October 2018, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published ‘Is Wales Fairer?’a comprehensive review of how Wales is performing on equality and human rights. The report provides valuable data and evidence that will support us to, as a public body, reduce inequality in Denbighshire, and in Wales.

The EHRC looked across six themes of life (“domains”) and our interim strategic equality objectives link to these six domains.

The Action Plan was a result of consultation and engagement within Denbighshire. We also undertook a mapping exercise to ensure our Equality Objectives are reflective of the above mentioned themes, ensuring that our Equality Objectives are relevant and reflect current priorities.

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Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 sets out a duty to carry out sustainable development with a view to improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. It contains seven well-being goals to make Wales a prosperous, resilient, healthier, more equal and globally responsible country with cohesive communities, a vibrant culture and a thriving Welsh language. These well-being goals are indivisible from each other and explain what is meant by the well-being of Wales. The seven well-being goals are:

  • a globally responsible Wales
  • a prosperous Wales
  • a resilient Wales
  • a healthier Wales
  • a more equal Wales
  • a Wales of cohesive communities
  • a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.

This Act also requires public bodies to reflect the diversity of the population in applying the Sustainable Development principle. The principle is made up of five key ways of working. We must:

  • look to the long term so that we do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs;
  • take an integrated approach so that public bodies look at all the well-being goals in deciding on their priorities;
  • involve a diversity of the population in the decisions that affect them;
  • work with others in a collaborative way to find shared sustainable solutions; and
  • understand the root causes of issues to prevent them from occurring and examining whether how we currently deploy our resources should change.

The well-being goals, and the five ways of working will guide our work in developing our Equality Objectives and the actions that will help ensure we fulfil them.

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Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act came into force in April 2016. This law gives people a say in the care and support they receive.

The Act has transformed the way social services are being delivered, in supporting people to achieve well-being and independence by promoting greater choice and control.

Integration and simplification of the law also provides greater consistency and clarity to:

  • people who use social services
  • their carers
  • local authority staff and their partner organisations
  • the courts and the judiciary

The Act promotes equality, improves the quality of services and enhances access to the provision of information people receive. It also encourages a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention.

Find out more about the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 on the UK Legislation website (external website).

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Human Rights

We have a duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 (external website) to act compatibly with the rights under the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. In the courts the Equality Act 2010 (and all other primary UK legislation) is interpreted in ways that are compatible with the Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Act is derived from the European Convention on Human Rights and became law in November 1998. It enabled any person who considers they have been a victim of a human rights violation to challenge a public authority in the courts or tribunals.

The purpose of the Human Rights Act is to support a culture of respect for everyone’s human rights and a feature of everyday life.

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Welsh Language Standards

The Welsh language, in terms of promotion and use, is not included in the Equality Act as a protected characteristic because it is covered by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 which requires public sector organisations to conform to a set of ‘Standards’ and to treat Welsh and English equally. Find out what we're doing to protect and promote the Welsh language. It is recognised that the equality and Welsh language policy agendas complement and inform each other and is further supported through the goal within the Well-being of Future Generations Act – A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. Our intention is to sustain and reinforce that principle through our new Strategic Equality Objectives and ensure they serve to promote and protect the Welsh language and are included in our Corporate Plan.

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Annual reports

We have mentioned all of our annual reports which are used to report upon performance and our commitment to well-being, equality and diversity throughout the document.  As a reminder, the following are key documents used, and published:

  • Annual Performance Review
  • Cabinet / Council / Scrutiny Committee reports, which require accompanying Well-being Impact Assessments for new projects or amendments to policy.
  • Corporate Executive Team / Senior Leadership Team reports.
  • Public Sector Equality Duty Report
  • Pay Gap Report

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Contact information

For more information, or to let us know what you think about anything in this report, contact us:

By email: strategicplanningteam@denbighshire.gov.uk

By phone: 01824 706291

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau ffôn yn Gymraeg / We welcome telephone calls in Welsh.

By post:

Strategic Planning and Performance Team
Denbighshire County Council
PO Box 62
Ruthin
LL15 9AZ

We welcome correspondence in Welsh. There will be no delay in responding to correspondence received in Welsh.

To keep up-to-date:

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