Equality policy

Our Equality objectives

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has set five Equality Objectives. These will be monitored by our Equality Steering Group. We will challenge ourselves and colleagues within the council to ensure that everyone is accountable for achieving them.

1 - We will lead by example within the community, promoting equality of opportunity and fairness

To achieve this we will:

  • Publish our approach to equalities widely.
  • Engage with groups representing people with protected characteristics.
  • Ensure that partners and contractors delivering services on our behalf adopt our principles and approach to equalities.

2 - We will value and understand the diversity of our communities, for the benefit of our customers and all residents of the borough

To achieve this we will:

  • Collect relevant information about our customers so that we can understand more about their needs and preferences for services delivery and to help us identify barriers or potential barriers to accessing our services.
  • Act on customer feedback when shaping our services, including information received through our complaints process and regular customer surveys.
  • Deliver and support local events aimed at raising awareness of diversity and encourage community participation.
  • We will work with employees, local communities and Members to ensure that our valuing of diversity is reflected in our local democracy.

3 - We will deliver fully accessible, fair and inclusive services

To achieve this we will:

  • Publish and implement a new Customer Services Strategy which sets out our commitment to delivering customer-focussed services.
  • Offer a range of ways for customers to contact us and make sure that council offices and other public areas are accessible to people with limited mobility and different sensory abilities.
  • Make the most of technology to provide 24/7 access to services and to help enable easy access to online services for people with different needs.
  • Monitor complaints and investigate where there are concerns that people with one or more protected characteristic are impacted negatively by our services or lack of service provision.
  • Assess the impact of our services and policies on our customers, taking into account the diversity of everyone we work with and for. Take a consistent approach to carrying out Equality Impact Assessments and ensure the process is clear for employees and simple to implement. Provide training to employees and publish a guidebook which explains how and when they should be carried out. Ensure that elected Members understand how to interpret the findings from Equality Impact Assessments so that they can make informed decisions on matters relating to changes to policies and services and the introduction of new ones.

4 - We will provide equal opportunities to our employees and encourage a culture of equality within the work place

To achieve this we will:

  • Have in place a Workforce strategy, setting out how we will attract, recruit and foster an effective and diverse workforce, maximising the potential of employees and encouraging people to be best they can be.
  • Provide appropriate training to employees and elected Members so that they understand the council’s approach to equality and how this translates into service delivery for all customers.
  • Ensure that as far as is possible all corporate policies are aligned so that the council’s commitment to equal opportunities is reflected in all areas of work.

5 - We will consult with residents and the community on matters which affect them, taking into account the diversity of our borough.

To achieve this we will:

  • Make reasonable adjustments to ensure that there are no barriers to prevent people participating in a way in which they feel comfortable.
  • Encourage people to have their say through a framework of resident and stakeholder consultation methods including:
    • Borough Panel
    • Tenants Panel
    • Focus Groups
    • Specialist Groups facilitated by the council, including the Disability Access Group
  • Engage with other organisations through a range of forums including Welwyn Hatfield Alliance and other strategic partnerships.
  • Participate in relevant groups which operate in the borough, specifically those which meet the needs of people with different protected characteristics.