Shropshire Council pledges to lead by example in promoting equality

Shropshire Council has pledged to “lead by example” in tackling racism and discrimination.

Shirehall, the base of Shropshire Council in Shrewsbury
Shirehall, the base of Shropshire Council in Shrewsbury

The council’s new equality objectives action plan, which it is legally required to produce every four years, was signed off by cabinet on Monday.

Introducing the report, council leader Peter Nutting said it was a timely opportunity to reflect on the council’s work towards equality and eliminating discrimination, and new areas of focus in light of current events.

“As a council we have always been committed to equality and valuing diversity within our workforce and our local communities,” said Councillor Nutting.

“Our goal is to ensure that this commitment is embedded in our day to day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners.

“However the events we have witnessed around the world highlighted by the senseless death of George Floyd and others serve as an unwelcome reminder of the racial injustice and inequality in our society today.

“It is therefore timely that I am able to present this paper to you. This is an important document which reflects the fact current affairs have highlighted the need for us to become more aware in our daily operations and in particular around discrimination.

“As a result I have been able to personally reflect on our need to drive out discrimination and ensure equality.

“In this reflection I have reviewed the content of our equality training and have fully endorsed the work of officers in our community and a commitment to develop our understanding of these issues.

“Shropshire Council’s equalities objectives action plan 2020-24 sets out a range of actions to ensure we are not complicit or compliant in any form of discrimination.”

The updated action plan also outlines steps the council will take in light of new findings on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Councillor Nutting said: “The plan also sets out our actions to address the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exposed health inequalities in the population.

“BAME groups and those experiencing poverty and social exclusion are more at risk.

“This makes our work around equality diversity and inclusion of even greater importance.”

Members voted unanimously to sign off the plan and receive an update, “at a timely future date,” on the council’s progress towards achieving its aims.

Councillor Nutting added: “We recognise we all have a role to play to bring about positive change by promoting equality here in Shropshire.

“We will therefore lead by example and not tolerate discrimination, harassment and victimisation of any kind.

“The action plan is commended to members as being integral to the ways in which we can make real progress in these endeavours alongside open dialogue and ongoing engagement with all communities in Shropshire.”

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